6/16/11 ** Day 19, Book 29 ** Fifteen-year-old Princess Benevolent is young for her age and has been largely protected from the intrigues of the Court. When her father disappears and her mother & uncle, the king, are found dead, apparently by assassination, Ben's life changes forever. She is wrested from her comfortable home outside the main palace and placed under the strict tutelage of her aunt, the queen regent. Shortly though, Ben finds a secret room of magic and begins instruction of an entirely different sort.
This is a solid book of YA fantasy with a strong heroine. Ben is likable and honest about her own faults. She changes tremendously in one short year, developing into a strong queen able to unify her own country with their long-time enemy and neighbor.
The odd thing is that I thought I hadn't read this book. I remember when my husband had a library copy and thought that I'd passed on reading it then. About 1/3 of the way through this reading, I started to have flashes of events that I thought might happen. I still wasn't sure if I was picturing future scenes in this book or something from some other story. As I moved farther into the book, I became certain that I'd read it before. The end is definitely more memorable than the beginning. Another slight quibble with the plot is that there are two spots near the end where there is a slight 'jump' between events; in these spots, one more paragraph of explanation might have been useful.