The Marked Princess, Book One of the Shendri Series, is a fascinating “fractured” fairy tale, featuring 18 year old Josselyn, princess of Eldour, who finds herself in a frantic quest to save both herself and her kingdom. Ms. Stavs has developed a fairly traditional fantasy setting, but really ups her game with some lovely mythology to underpin the basis for the celestial magic imbued in Joss.
The Marked Princess is a YA fantasy with a modern flair in terms of its use of language (something I can definitely relate to). This is definitely not a classic “princess” tale, but rather a rollicking thrill-ride with a warrior-princess heroine who channels both magic and a fierce fighting spirit. Ms. Stavs has developed her characters soundly, and has created a fascinating mythology to boot. The tale comes with a hefty dose of romance, nicely incorporated as part and parcel of the story line rather than, as many YA fantasy novels tend towards, more of an obligatory afterthought.
I liked Joss (and her companions), loathed the villain (as of course one should), and hope to see more of her in the next installment, The Searching Songbird. I’m eager to dive into that one as well, to continue to learn about this world and see how things work out. And that’s the hallmark of a good storyteller, that they keep me wanting to know “what happens next.”Well done, Ms. Stavs.