Princess Nevermore: A Nostalgic (and Vaguely Hostile) Look Back
Nicole-Lyn is back with another hilarious book review!—Sparkitors
I’ve written and read a few book reviews in my time, and now I want to do something that will get readers to say that I'm “startlingly original...breathtakingly funny...the thesaurus is your friend.” So I’m going to write a kind of book review I’ve yet to see; I'm going to talk about a book that has nostalgic value—a book that my vague memories tell me I actually enjoyed. I don’t own it, and the library’s closed at the moment, so let’s just hope the plot summary I found on the interwebs will help jog my memory some.
The book I’m talking about is Princess Nevermore by Dian Curtis Regan [insert obvious Edgar Alan Poe joke here], and I distinctly remember it as the very first young adult fantasy novel I ever read. I really enjoyed it, but totally positive reviews are boring. That being said, I still think Power Rangers is awesome—nostalgia is a force to be reckoned with. I do have my fair share of complaints, both new and old ones, to go along with the slightly biased praise it gets from me.
Princess Nevermore is about a princess (duh) named Quinn who lives in a magical kingdom called Mandria, which is hidden under ground because humans are really bad and greedy and you’ve heard all the reasons before. She’s about to turn 16 and that means it’s time to stop learning stuff and take care of her royal family duties and act like a real princess. She visits a wizard named Melikar and his apprentice Cam in the wizard’s lair underneath a pond. They can see up into the human world through the pond, and Melikar can hear the human's' wishes when they stop on the bridge above to toss in a coin. You can probably tell what happens next: Quinn has Disney princess syndrome, she uses magic to fix her problems, she ends up in the human world, and the plot begins.
She meets Sarah and Adam and their grandpa Mondo, and she ends up going home with them and freaking out over everything she sees because Mandria eschews technological advancement in favor of magic and whimsy. She also goes to high school with her “cousins” and learns to love the surface world. And drama ensues.
I am going to divide my complaints about this book into two categories: “Complaints I remember having” and “Complaints I get thinking about it now.” I realize that some of these are nitpicky and can be explained away with fantasy, but most of them are legitimate concerns that deserve to be addressed. To the first category!
Complaints I Remember Having:
Melikar is Merlin; he’s a wizard who is famous and helps the king. He. Is. Merlin. Changing the name just makes it that more obvious. Mondo is just another member of the assorted rip-offs of Obi Wan: an old dude who comes along and helps the protagonist discover their true destiny. The villain is the stereotypical “I’m just doing this ‘cause I’m a bad, greedy human” kind of guy and is shoehorned in, like Regan just forgot that it’s a good idea to have an antagonist sometimes. And Sarah is just . . . annoying. There’s a magical princess from underground living in your house, Sarah. Your high school problems aren’t that important in retrospect. Get over it.
So most of my initial problems were character-related. I only have one that isn’t: the book just ends. And don’t say, “Well yeah, Nicole. It’s a book, that’s what books do.” I know that’s what books do, but most books also do things like tie up loose ends and solve problems before the last chapter. This one doesn’t. There’s a beginning and middle, but then it’s like I just got a defective copy with the last part of it missing. I’ve heard that she wrote a sequel, but it still bothers me. A lot.
Complaints I Get Thinking About It Now:
Mondo is . . . kind of creepy. You figure out his motives and back story eventually, but until then: old guy + obsession with watching a teenage girl= creepy. Adam, the love interest, has no real personality. I thought he was sweet, but thinking back on it, it’s more like he was constructed to act how the plot required him to act at any given time. He was just there to look pretty and keep the romance and the plot moving forward. Speaking of the plot: it is very predictable. From the beginning up until the very, very, very, very, very end where a surprise actually does occur, you will know everything that’s going to happen without even trying. And I mean everything.
Quinn having to give up her educational exploits at 16 just so she can perform the "duties" of a princess has is also very bothersome. Is that what actual real-world princesses had to do? Couldn’t she get trapped up in some random dragon-guarded tower and learn new things? It’s not that big of a compromise. Plus, she’s only 16. I’m 16, and I hang out with people who are 16. Trust me when I say that we shouldn’t be put in charge of anything, especially not something important.
The logistics of Mandria just confuse me. How has no one found it before? It’s a kingdom underneath a city for crying out loud! They even mention that a bulldozer could be used to find the place at one point, so it’s not even that deep underground. How does that work? Does the kingdom just get smaller every time some yuppie feels like expanding his business to include a place with a basement? Do they have one of those flashy things from Men in Black? I don’t know. The book sure doesn’t tell me.
So those are the majority my complaints. I can’t really comment on the quality of the writing itself since I don’t have the book, so I’m just going to assume my taste in literature is halfway decent and say that it gets a passing grade.
From my complaints, it may seem like I don’t like Princess Nevermore as much as I used to–or at all–but I really do. It was a fun read despite its recycled and predictable plot, and I liked Quinn a lot. And I at least find the characters who I had complaints about entertaining. When you factor in the nostalgia value, it’s safe to say that I really enjoyed reading it. And since entertaining the reader is a pretty important thing for a book to do, I’d say you should definitely check it out. And I should probably reread it too–just in case. Also, my memory is a little less than reliable most of the time, so the fact that I remember this one book at all after years’ worth of more reading should count for something.
Did Nicole's hazy recollections inspire you to check out this book?
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