Review: The Last Princess

The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze
Release Date ~ May 1, 2012
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers ~ Hachette
ISBN13: 9780316185486
ARC received from HBG Canada

Goodreads Synopsis:
Happily ever after is a thing of the past.

A series of natural disasters has decimated the earth. Cut off from the rest of the world, England is a dark place. The sun rarely shines, food is scarce, and groups of criminals roam the woods, searching for prey. The people are growing restless.

When a ruthless revolutionary sets out to overthrow the crown, he makes the royal family his first target. Blood is shed in Buckingham Palace, and only sixteen-year-old Princess Eliza manages to escape.

Determined to kill the man who destroyed her family, Eliza joins the enemy forces in disguise. She has nothing left to live for but revenge, until she meets someone who helps her remember how to hope—and to love—once more. Now she must risk everything to ensure that she not become... The Last Princess.

The Last Princess attempts to deliver a highly sophisticated blend of numerous elements; it's set in a futuristic world, but one that isn't so far off. Many of its features are remarkably familiar and it even has a somewhat Victorian feel. I've read one book that tried a similar strategy (Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel) in terms of setting, and while I enjoyed reading The Last Princess there were still a few shortfalls to the story.
I'd also say that there seems to be an Anastasia (Romanov) inspiration for it; there are quite a few parallels to some theories regarding her possible survival during the Russian Revolution of 1917. Definitely a neat idea!
  1. Political revolution:
    Okay, confession: I'm a political science major and I specialized in political theory/philosophy. So it makes sense why, unlike most people, I seem to have more of a (nerdy) appreciation for the political movements and ideologies woven in to the story. I'm not sure if Galazy Craze intended The Last Princess to be a remark on politics in any way, but the story itself raises some excellent questions; Eliza's royal family and the monarchy have failed to protect their citizens. So revolutionary stirrings begin to take place. But they soon realize that civil war is ugly- and it isn't entirely clear whaat the best answer is to save England- and this has a realistic aspect to it that is readily familiar to political discussions. I don't want to get TOO nerdy on you, but it definitely riases the question of good governance and the role of war in states (which gets me all excited and passionate, I could honestly go on for 20 pages about this. But i won't, for your sake).
  2. Eliza's bravery and dedication:
    Eliza is an extraordinary character, and she is the perfect fit for a story revolving around the idea of a last surviving princess. She has such strong motivations to save both her family and her country, but at the same time she can acknowledge the mistakes of the past and see where things went wrong. She's willing to see the changes that need to take place, and she'll do as much as she can to see them through. Plus, she allows very little (such as romance) to deter her from her tasks at hand (remarkable in a YA heroine).
  3. A VERY fast-paced, standalone* novel:
    One thing to love right off the bat about this book is that it isn't the first part of a series like many other books. Because of this, The Last Princess moves along quite quickly and has a fast pace. It doesn't slow down, but at the same time...
This fast pace is problematic for the story. At times, it really moves along TOO quickly. This is clearly one case where one book simply isn't enough to give the story justice; there isn't enough background or explanation, providing little motivation for current events, and a complex series of events is left overly simplified because of it. Furthermore, this was the main reason why there were so many plot holes and questions throughout the novel.
I would have rated the book 3 stars because there were too many plot holes and little explanation crammed into one book; but I rate my books based on how I enjoy them, rather than a full critical analysis. And I truly did enjoy this one, its characters and I found Galaxy's writing to be quite enjoyable and experienced. And I thought the premise of the story was brilliant, and an idea I'd love to read more of in YA books.

*UPDATE: I stand corrected! This one is NOT a standalone novel, and a sequel is planned. However, I still think this one moved along a little TOO quickly and could've been spread over two books itself.

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kara-karina@Nocturnal Book Reviews said...

I really want to read this book. I don't think fast pace will bother me, but the lack of background will. it always does. Great review, Brenna! ;)

sarabara081 said...

This book sounds so interesting. And I have to say I am happy to hear it is standalone since it is a rarity in this genre. Eliza sounds like a character I will love. It is always great to have a strong and motivated female protagonist. Can't wait to read this! Great review! :)

Andrea @ Cozy Up said...

I'm happy to hear you actually enjoyed this one. It didn't end up being for me because of the fast pace, I feel that I missed a lot because everything just kept moving. The premise was really interesting though and kept me going, as well as Eliza's character. Great review!

Leeanna said...

Oooh. I think I'll like this one, from your review. I too like political nerd-ery.

Amanda @ Letters Inside Out said...

I actually started reading this one last night and haven't gotten very far. So happy to hear it's great! I can't wait to get into it. :)

Amanda @ Letters Inside Out

Angkarina said...

I bought this for my kindle and I have to admit I just forgot about this one; it kinda got lost between all the gazillion other books. I'm going to read it as soon as I can though and maybe there will be a sequel to fill in those holes?
Thanks for the review!

angkarina_angkasuwan at hotmail dot com

The Story Queen said...

I just finished reading this one earlier today! I definitely agree on most of your points :) Don't worry, your enthusiasm about the political aspect TOTALLY DIDN'T BORE ME. I thought all the tidbits about it in the book were fascinating and who am I to judge since I really just wanted to hear more about the plant and soil regrowth (environmental nerd!).

It's actually not a standalone though :( IT SUCKS. I thought it would make such an awesome one and while the ending leaves a possible plot line to grab on to, it just seemed complete. You can see in the author bio on the ARC though that the next book in the series will be published next year.

Thanks for the awesome review! :)


Christina Kit. said...

I'm with you when it comes to appreciating the political commentary in books.

This one sounds awesome!! I love how there's a strong heroine who's involved in the politics, an agent in it, as opposed to being a bystander and just watching it.

ccfioriole at gmail dot com

franchie15 said...

Woah. Political issues. I've never read one before. This sounds good, Brenna! And I'm very sure you enjoyed it because of the politics. Eliza sounds so brave. I mean, not every character will look into the past to know what went wrong. She's such a strong heroine, I think. Hmm. I think because this is a standalone novel, it compressed every action into the book. Despite that, this sounds good for you enjoyed it!

Christa @ Hooked on Books said...

I like the sound of this book - especially if it's got similarities to the Romanovs. That is easily my favourite historical period/family. Will definitely keep my expectations in check if I ever pick it up.

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