Most fairy tale stories take away the weirdness, but oh no this one keeps it intact, which most of the time does not work but I think it does in this case. Now we have the other characters:Princess Beatrice and the hound that will never leave her side. George will have to use the animal magic he has suppressed all this time to help her, and even help and be true to who he really is. Be forewarned this story will not be an instant favorite for everyone but if you are willing to give it time and allow the tale seep into you it might find yourself, like me, enthralled into the magic.
Trouble is, animal magic is feared and loathed far and wide in George's world and he quickly determines he must keep his talent a secret if he wishes to live long enough to inherit the throne. The Princess Beatrice proves to be a particularly fierce young woman whose life has been as bleak as George's own and who has a few painful secrets of her own to guard, as well as a hound she refuses to be separated from. Characters such as Beatrice's father and the mysterious doctor brought to mind the evil Cabbarus of Westmark fame (never a bad thing), and I liked George's journey from frightened boy to capable ruler. I felt like they needed more time to cement things between them. On the whole, The Princess and the Hound was a complicated and intriguing tale which I felt need a little more refining to smooth out the bumps and cracks along the way.
This book gets one lousy star for being good enough to want to finish the story, but bad enough that one star is almost too much. His name is George and he has this thing called "Animal Magic" which means he can talk to animals and even feel/hear their thoughts. The author didn't have me convinced for one minute why this "animal magic" is hated and feared by the kingdom's people. I mean, people in this story get burned at the stake for having the dreaded animal magic and even though I've finished the book I'm still asking why. This story is a fairytale, and she says in the bio at the end of the book that she "...always wanted to write a romance, but it wasn't until I came up upon the idea of two characters who needed each other as desperately as these two that I felt I could do justice to the tradition..." I'm sorry, but I wasn't convinced at all that these two characters needed each other. Prince George has had animal magic all his life. So when he meets this princess and becomes intrigued with her you start thinking, as the reader, that maybe things are going to get interesting. So you're thinking, "oooh, potential for people who really do need each other/romance/he's gonna save her from her crappy life/etc." Nope. Sure, he does some cool stuff and you love that he's unconditionally kind to the princess, but when the main character keeps whining about his inadequacies you start believing him! So here's the big spoiler: Beatrice's soul - her mind and thoughts have magically been transferred into her hound's body. So she is actually the dog and the DOG's mind is in the princess's body. Which explains why the princess is so rude all the time to everybody. THEN, the princess with the hound's mind - SHE "falls in love" with a bear that was once a man. Oh, and then Prince George decides to be "really cool and brave" and declare to his people that he has animal magic. Then the prince arranged for a "school" to start taking place in his castle that teaches people about animal magic. George has used his animal magic to change Beatrice and her dog back into their bodies and he and the princess, (Whom he STILL calls Marit, btw - yeah, ew) are "getting to know each other" and it's supposed to be really... And do you know what the first thing is that Beatrice says after she's back in her body and holding hands with George? "Marit") was ok, but there just isn't any convincing "love" between her and George.
This story is about 200 pages longer than it needed to be, since all the conflicts were resolved way too easily in the end.
Prince George is an only child and heir to the throne of Kendel; as a little boy he spends time with his mother with the horses in the stable, the hounds in the kennels, or the wild animals in the forest. Yet even with his great gift of animal magic, he doesn't see the princess and her hound clearly, and the secret, when it is revealed, stuns him. Written in the style of an old-fashioned fairy-tale but with contemporary leanings, The Princess and the Hound is supposedly loosely based on "Beauty and the Beast" - but I confess I never noticed. Despite his magical gift, he's quite ordinary, more human, than you might expect of a hero.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Princess and the Hound. It is one of those original fairy tales that sweeps you up into a fantasy land of animal magic and princesses. George doesn't hope for a loving marriage. George is sure that Beatrice does not have the animal magic, but he senses in her, an unusually deep love for her hound.
Should read George and the Occasional Appearance of the Mixed-Up Merrit, as the story really focuses on Prince George and his angst about his animal magic and his feelings for the princess of the neighboring kingdom to whom he is betrothed.
As such don't expect today's usual tropes: there's no waste of pages telling how pretty and special our characters are. I liked that George wasn't the usual "perfect" fairy tale prince.
Heartbroken or not, people can't just murder in revenge and then fall right into favor again.
Usually, there are good elements and crappy elements in just about every book I read, but this one was just "off". A lot of my other goodreads friends have rated this book highly, but if I get weirded out enough by a story, and when my reading emotions border on "uncomfortable," I'm going to take off some stars... She starts out this way, sure, but my problem lies with the fact that she never undergoes any character change. Apparently, as long as a female character is strong and seemingly independent, that's all that matters. It annoys me to think that this is what YA-aimed female characters have become. I'm not entirely sure what Harrison was thinking when she wrote those scenes, but they just didnt work for me.
My name is pronounced "Metty" like my mother's "Betty." It is Danish, and we were all named after ancestors. My first book, THE MONSTER IN ME was accepted for publication in 1999 and was published in 2002. The latest book, THE PRINCESS AND THE HOUND , was published in 2007.