Starved and miserable, locked in the castle's highest tower, Ben stumbles upon a mysterious enchanted room. So begins her secret education in the magical arts: mastering an obstinate flying broomstick, furtively emptying the castle pantries, setting her hair on fire.
But Ben's private adventures are soon overwhelmed by a mortal threat facing the castle and indeed the entire country. Can Princess Ben save her kingdom from annihilation and herself from permanent enslavement?
Princess Ben is adventurous, romantic, entertaining and most of all, a humorous story about growing up that anyone of any age will not help but love.
(P)2008 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
While I sort of knew this was a "young adult" book, I hadn't realised just how "young" the "adults" need to be to enjoy this. I would say this was more aimed at the10/11 year old girl, whereas "Young adult" says 16+ to me. So that out of the way, I have to say that I really, really didn't warm to Ben. She spends most of the book a self-centred, spoilt, gluttonous, greedy, self-centred (did I say that already - cos she really, really is!) prima donna. That she is a little fatty goes almost without saying, and nothing wrong with not being a classic sylph-like princess, but she is totally obsessed with food; she stuffs it down, spilling it over her clothes, over her face, in her hair, and yes, she turns to food when her world is turned upside down, but even when she's totally removed from her comfort zone, and filled with resolve to escape and save her country, she STILL obsesses about it, and when she returns home, after some serious adventuring, what's the first thing she does? Asks for food and shovels it down until she feels sick... I thought the overeating / food obsessing overdone, and consequently found Ben seriously unsympathetic.
Which is a shame, because in all other ways this is a classic little fairy tale, engagingly read by its author, complete with hard-hearted aunt (standing in for the wicked step mother), dragon, magic, princes, princesses, skulduggery, adventure, redemption etc etc etc - so if you think you can take the gluttonous, self-absorbed heroine who does, right towards the end, come through as a good 'un, then this is otherwise not bad, but most definitely not one for not-so-young-adults who usually enjoy young-adult books.
"Great for all - from 8 to 80!"
Three generations of family listened to this on a long car ride! Everyone loved it!!! Ben is a plausibly spunky character that anyone can relate to. Even the boys in the family enjoyed it. Murdock's writing is a pleasure to hear read outloud - even better that it's read by the author! The story unfolds and twists with the right blend of predictability and surprise to keep young and old interested. My 12 year old daughter had already read the book before we listened to the audio and enjoyed it just as much the second time around. This should be a classic. Strong female characters without disdain for men! FANTASTIC!
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