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Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
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8065211,322 (3.63)64
  1. 30
    Princess Academy by Shannon Hale (Caramellunacy, infiniteletters)
    Caramellunacy: Both Princess Ben and Princess Academy are about unconventional (even unlikely) heroines who use their wits and hidden strengths to save those they love.
  2. 30
    Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (infiniteletters)
  3. 20
    Fairest by Gail Carson Levine (megan003)
  4. 10
    The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye (infiniteletters)
  5. 00
    The Swan Kingdom by Zoe Marriott (Kerian)
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» See also 64 mentions

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Princess Benevolence's story is one of coming-of-age type that pulls at your heart strings. Mother and Father, dead, but still alive in her heart. A queen who doesn't know how to treat children but does her best in her own way, even if it is frightening. And princess Benevolence herself, with her love of food and penchant for trouble. What more could you ask for in a story other than to watch the main character grow into a strong young woman? ( )
  mariahsidhe | May 12, 2016 |
Benevolence is the beloved only child of the royal family. When the king (her uncle) and the princess (her mother) are killed, Ben's life takes a terrible turn. No longer is she allowed the cozy, unpretentious, rough-and-tumble childhood she so enjoyed. Instead she must live in the palace with her aunt, the queen regent, who is so controlled and controlling that it nearly drives Ben mad. Her only solace is learning magic on the sly. After a disastrous ball, Ben embarks on an adventure by turns horrifying and exhausting, and at last becomes someone worthy of her crown.

The twists on common fairy tales are fun to note--at one point Ben conjures an inanimate double to sleep in her place, thus giving rise to the Sleeping Beauty story; at another she exchanges some conjured beans for a cow. Ben's narration is wonderful, with a great dry sense of humor and a lot of personality. And the story adroitly and gradually shows the importance of living up to one's responsibilities and being a good, useful person. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
This was a fun little read. I loved to watch how Princess Ben matured through the story. I liked this quote from the end of the book, "however we might criticize those who rear us, the fact that we survive at all into adulthood, however late that passage comes, is testament enough to their ability and perseverance."
  caprice6 | Feb 26, 2016 |
Narrated by the author. I couldn't absorb myself in this fairy tale of orphaned Princess Ben who discovers how to use magical powers which ultimately unites two unfriendly kingdoms. Ben's eventual acceptance of the icy Queen Sophia and Ben's own marriage and love for the antagonistic Prince Florian didn't ring true for me. I listened to this in the car and so my mind may have wandered and missed the nuances. Still, not enough to keep my mind on track.

Also, about 10% of the time, the author's voice would dip at the end of sentences, swallowing the words entirely. Rewinding and cranking the volume did not help. Leave recordings to the professionals, please! ( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
Hmm. In many ways, I like it a lot - I generally like fairy-tale retellings with more rounded characters, which this is. Ben is interesting in a lot of ways. There's quite a few loose ends - where did the hamper come from? what directs the room? - but not serious ones. And her struggles with learning magic (and other things) are very realistic. However, I didn't really get into it - and I think I figured out why. Ben learns quite a lot, about herself and her world, throughout the book. But no one else learns anything at all. There's no indication that the queen has any idea that she mishandled Ben - her methods apparently worked, eventually. Same with Florian - he was right, he woke her up, and at the end she describes how he basically tells her "I told you so" on a regular basis and her response is to dissolve into giggles. Hmmph. I did enjoy the story, and I'll likely reread it at some point. But it does have this serious lack - Ben has to correct everything (her behavior, her attitude, her understanding) and everyone else had it right all along...yeah, no. ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Jul 30, 2014 |
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To James, my prince and super genius
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Having for many decades been forced to endure ever more ridiculous tales of the circumstances surrounding my coming of age, holding my tongue through each long-winded narrative for fear that my cautious interjections would only prolong the blather, I now in the solitude of my dotage at last permit myself the indulgence of correcting the erroneous legends and embroidered falsehoods that to this day expand, heady as yeast, across the land.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0618959718, Hardcover)

Benevolence is not your typical princess and Princess Ben is certainly not your typical fairy tale. With her parents lost to unknown assassins, Princess Ben ends up under the thumb of the conniving Queen Sophia, who is intent on marrying her off to the first available “specimen of imbecilic manhood.” 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?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:15 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A girl is transformed, through instruction in life at court, determination, and magic, from sullen, pudgy, graceless Ben into Crown Princess Benevolence, a fit ruler of the kindgom of Montagne as it faces war with neighboring Drachensbett.

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