Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Princess of Cortova by Diane Stanley

The Princess of Cortova by Diane Stanley is the conclusion to the trilogy which began with The Silver Bowl. This review will contain some unavoidable spoilers for the first two books in the series.

Young King Alaric is in need of a favorable alliance with a neighboring kingdom. Fortunately for him, he is also in possession of a Loving Cup, which can bind two people together for life. Alaric takes the cup, along with Molly and Tobias, who have become two of his closest advisers, to Cortova. He hopes to win the hand of the princess, but when he arrives there, he discovers that he is not the only suitor -- and Cortova's wily king is not opposed to playing his daughter's suitors against each other. Court intrigue abounds. Even the Loving Cup may not be enough to secure the hand of the princess -- and Alaric and his friends may be in greater danger than they could have guessed.

I want to like this series more than I do. I think it's a serviceable, middle-of-the-road juvenile fantasy. There's nothing in the plotting, setting, or characters to elevate it above the herd. This book does a nice job of wrapping up the series, but it didn't leave me feeling particularly pleased or satisfied. Readers who have enjoyed the first two books in the series will want to read this one to see how the story ends, but it's not a book (or a series) that I really see myself recommending often.

(Reviewed from an advance copy, courtesy of the publisher.)

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