The Princess in The Opal Mask by Jenny Lundquist
Summary: Elara lives in a poor village with a horrible family that adopted her only for money. She has no memory of her parents and doubts that she’ll ever learn anything about them until her school teacher gives her a book he claims belonged to Elara’s mother…
Princess Wihla has been told to wear a mask all her life, but never why. She’s known to the villagers as the “Masked Princess”, someone to worship or fear, but never just as Wihla. And then with rumors of war, she’s forced to leave the home she has always known and travel to a land she was told was awful.
When these two girls’ paths cross, they’ll find themselves in the midst of an adventure full of secrets, opals, lies, danger, runaways, royals, and secret passages that will change them forever!
My Thoughts: I didn’t really know what to expect with this book, but the summary on-line sounded promising so I tried it out, and it was AMAZING! Once I had read the first page I was immediately sucked into Wilha and Elara’s worlds, and at some points I barely even noticed I was reading! (It felt more like everything was playing out in my head) The writing was very well done; full of detail, suspense, and interesting characters. I also thought that the author did a really good job switching between each girl’s point of view and making you feel what they were feeling.
WARNING! From this point on, this review contains SPOILERS! Read at your own risk!
One of the few flaws of the book was sequencing. Because the book alternates from Wilha and Elara’s points of view, some events are skipped over or end abruptly. (For example, you don’t get to read about when Elara poses as Wilha at the noble dinner, yet the characters refer to it.) Other than that though, I didn’t really have any problems with this book, and I enjoyed every suspenseful chapter! (And when I say suspenseful, I mean suspenseful! Every chapter leaves you wanting to know what happens next, which makes it impossible to put the book down! You can probably imagine my surprise when I was just starting Part 2 and then found myself at Part 3!)
Anyways, onto the characters…I’ll start with Elara since she was introduced first…Elara was probably one of my favorite main character in the whole book because she is so awesome, funny, brave, bold, and daring. She does have a few unlikeable qualities of course, but that is what makes a character interesting. Elara was also a bit unpredictable and independent, so you were always guessing what she would do next, (I had no idea if she would stay and pretend to be Wilha or run away and start a new life with the opals.) She even shows her softer side in some parts of the story, like when she was with the squire (who actually turned out to be Stefen…which was kind of confusing), Ruby and Leandra, Cordon, and even with Wilha!
Speaking of Wilha, she was not the stronger main character at first, and in the beginning I didn’t really like her. As the story went on though, I started to warm up to her, and she really did have lots of character development later on. I was super intrigued by the whole Opal Mask mystery thing, and why she was forced to wear the mask all the time (the explanation is really unexpected because…wait for it…Elara and Wilha are twins!!!!!!!! Which kind of leads into the rest of the plot because Elara ends up posing as Wilha…) Continuing, it was really when Wilha fled the castle that I started liking her because she started to become more independent, and discover her own person. Oh, and when she fled the castle she went to work at this dress shop, and met this boy named James, and he has this really cute crush on her:)
Moving on, my least favorite people in the book were the royal advisors or “Guardians” as they’re also known as. They were so mean and I didn’t understand their ideas or plans at all about Wilha and Elara. My suspicions of their evilness were confirmed later when one of them attempted to murder Wilha and burn down an entire kingdom. Some other characters I didn’t really like were the Odgens, the family that adopted Elara only for money because they were so cruel and greedy. Mrs. Odgens treated Elara like dirt, and Mr. Odgens did nothing to stop her. The worst thing of all though was when their daughter Serena got engaged to Elara’s best friend Cordon, who expressed no positive feelings towards Serena before and had already promised to marry Elara.
On a happier note, Stephen was super nice to Elara at first which got me all excited because they would be so cute together…but then when he found out Elara was the “Masked Princess” (well, actually she isn’t, but she was posing as Wilha so she kind of was…) he got mean and annoying. Finally though he changed his tone and the book ended with a romance between the two of them that I hope will continue in future books!
Overall, The Princess in The Opal Mask was a thrilling book that I give four and a half stars out of five!