Beneath the Crown: The Princess In the Tower

 I’ve had an affinity for Marie Antoinette since watching Rose of Versailles two years ago, and now I can’t stop myself from reading everything about her that I can lay hands on, including this very well-researched historical YA novel about daughter Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte. It was initially titled The Dark Tower and later added to the Beneath the Crown series with The Nine Days Queen and The Last Duchess.   

The Princess in the Tower, 2005 Hardcover EditionAuthor: Sharon Stewart

Summary: The story of Marie-Thérèse from her preteen years up to and including her imprisonment in the Temple Fortress. With as much historical accuracy as possible, the author explores Marie-Thérèse’s life at Versailles and her friendships and relationships as the French Revolution occurs and the monarchy is abolished.

Two Cents: Historical fiction seems to be pretty popular nowadays, between The Royal Diaries and Dear Canada and this. I’ve always liked it; especially when it’s accurate, so after finishing this book I did a little Internet research and was impressed to discover the amount of research the author had done to make it as realistic as possible. The voice of Marie-Thérèse is compelling and developed despite the quick passing of weeks and months between scenes.

Recommended For: Ages 11 and up. Even told from a child’s perspective, the Revolution up close isn’t a pretty thing – plenty of death and heartache and (nondescriptive) beheading. Still an excellent read, great for kids who are into history already and those who have trouble finding it interesting.

Personal Rating: 8/10

Links to Buy: Chapters / Amazon US / CA

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Filed under Ages 9-12, Title Reviews

Artemis Fowl

Fitting that this is my first review, seeing how it was an Artemis book that inspired me to create the blog. The Lost Colony (Book 5, US/Canada Hardcover Edition)

Author: Eoin Colfer

Summary: Young Artemis Fowl seeks to recover his family’s fortune, using his vast intelligence to take his missing father’s place as a crimelord. He finds himself in an incredible situation, though, when he kidnaps a fairy and holds her at ransom. His adventures with LEPrechaun officer Holly Short, dwarf Mulch Diggums, Foaly the Centaur and other mythical creatures from the world below continue for a total of five books, with a sixth planned for late 2007.

Two Cents: This series hooks you. I picked it up because it was a big seller and the fifth volume had just come out when my local store put hardcover versions of books 2-4 on sale for $7 each, as well as the first at a special $3.99 ($2.99 in the U.S.) price. It was a just in case I ever decide to read these kind of buy and I’m glad I did. The introductory book is a bit hard to get into at first, but as the series progresses the characters develop in wonderful ways and Colfer isn’t afraid to put them in danger. The adventures are exciting and full of interesting concepts and technology, and the emotions the characters (particularly Artemis, Holly and Butler in the later books) go through are incredibly convincing.

Recommended For: 9-15s and maybe even higher. I’ve noticed that this is shelved both in the preteen and teen sections – good decision there. Fans of spy novels, adventure novels and even fantasy readers can get into this. Easy to read and impossible to put down.

Personal Rating:  10/10

Links to Buy Book 1: Amazon US / CA / UK

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Filed under Ages 13 and Up Series, Ages 9-12 Series, Top Recommendations

Hello world!

This is Inkblog’s first post!

Please refer to the links above to get you started. On the menu you’ll find the categorized reviews, and pretty soon a listing of highly recommended titles. Please feel free to contact me  if you’d like to see a particular title or author reviewed, and I’ll try to oblige.

The aim of Inkblog is to provide forthright, honest opinions that will help parents and young readers select reading material, particularly those titles which deserve a little recognition but are eclipsed by the hundreds of other talented authors out there. Feel free to browse, contact me if you are so inclined, and take a chance on a new book!

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