From Goodreads: Amelia, the fourth sister in a line of princesses, is sure her red hair and non-princessy ways–not to mention being the last-born–will mean an easy life of never being queen. But when an ancient curse comes to life, an evil uncle tries to take over their peaceful kingdom, and her three sisters are turned into a tree and two swans, Amelia and her best friend Henry must gather the forces of her magically blessed family, and save Gosling from complete destruction.
From Heather: This book was a pick for our book club this month, and I was excited to read it. With three little princesses of my own, princess books are right up my alley! So I really, really wanted to fall in love with this book. I wanted it to be my favorite book ever. And I liked it, just maybe not as much as I'd hoped.
The book is about Amelia mostly, but it's told from multiple points of view at various times. At the beginning of the story Amelia's parents are killed by a plague, but not a normal sickness. Her evil uncle Raven is using his magic to kill the people of the kingdom of Gossling, trying to take over the kingdom for himself. Suddenly, Amelia and her sisters have to find a way to take control back. Only before they can, her oldest sister is turned into a tree and her older twin sisters are turned into swans. That just leaves Amelia and her friend Henry to save the kingdom.
Amelia and Henry travel from one place to another, trying to save the kingdom, and I think this is where I really struggled with the book. It seems to me like there is no purpose to the places that they go. They only have 40 days before the sisters are transformed into a tree and swans forever. And Amelia and Henry spend WEEKS traveling back and forth to enchanted places in the kingdom, but as soon as they get there, they go somewhere else. I don't know, it just seemed really chaotic to me and I never could quite tell why they had to go the places that they did. But they sure spent a lot of time going there. This would have been a good time for some character development, while they were traveling, but sadly there wasn't much. I would have loved to see anything of the relationship between Amelia and Henry...not even a romantic one, because they are young, but I kept waiting to see why they were such good friends, and I never got that. The characters seem really one-dimensional. I would have loved to get to know them better.
That is my only gripe about the book, though, and I really did enjoy reading it. I love the messages of the women of the book, the queen before she died and Tiege (who I don't really remember who she is?) It really is a book about ordinary girls finding they can do wonderful things and learning who you are. Those kinds of messages I love, especially for my girls! (And did I mention I love the cover!)