Aurelia by Anne Osterlund

by Tirzah Price

Something sinister is happening at the royal palace in the kingdom of Tyralt. Assassination attempts have been executed on the crown princess, seventeen year old Aurelia. Each one is narrowly avoided, and each is getting bolder and more daring. The king and his advisors are determined to keep this information from the princess, even as the killer seems to be getting closer and closer.

But Aurelia is smart, sensitive, and savvy. Everyone expects that she’ll be a better ruler than her father, but no one would dare say so, and keeping her assassination attempts secret from her is no small task. The king’s advisor is wise enough to recognize that the court needs help with this ever present threat, and writes to the retired spymaster, now living across the kingdom on the lonely frontier, with a plea for help. What he gets instead is the spymaster’s son Robert, Aurelia’s former classmate. Who better to protect her from a danger she must never know about?

The fabled tale of the headstrong, intelligent, and suppressed princess who falls for the wrong person with whom she must overcome great odds is reborn once again in Aurelia…but with a punch. Osterlund’s world is more sophisticated than your average fantastical kingdom, on the cusp of progress, but with the same charm and realities of the classic fairy tale kingdom. Aurelia is also more than just a headstrong princess yearning for her taste of power…the author cleverly reveals her more vulnerable side and brings to light her imperfections without overdoing it, giving Aurelia an admirable and believable quality.

Osterlund gives us also a royal family that is not completely perfect, leaders who don’t always do what is right, and princesses—no matter how likable, stubborn, or clever—who don’t always get their fairy tale endings. All of this entwined with a mystery that nags at the mind, tempting the reader to peak (but you better not!), and demanding to be solved. Part mystery, part fantasy, and part romance, Aurelia is full of intrigue, glamour, dark deeds, betrayals, and suspense—the perfect story for those who are looking for a more grown up fairy tale.

Tirzah Price is a sophomore at Ferris State University and blogs regularly at thecompulsivereader.com. If not reading or writing, she is most likely lurking around Twitter @compelledtoread.

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