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A princess of Roumania by Paul Park

A princess of Roumania (original 2005; edition 2006)

by Paul Park

Series: Roumania (1)

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6212115,671 (3.05)25
Title:A princess of Roumania
Authors:Paul Park
Info:New York : Tor 2006, c 2005.
Collections:Your library

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A Princess of Roumania by Paul Park (2005)


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Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
I kept trying to like this book, but it just didn't draw me in. Three teenagers from today's world get pulled into an alternate universe, where Miranda is a princess of Roumania. In her old life, she had been adopted from an orphanage in Romania. Her two friends, Peter and Andromeda, it turns out were kind of versions of her guardians from childhood. The world they know, they discover, was just a magical creation designed by Miranda's aunt in order to hide Miranda until she grew up. She is being pursued by power-hungry different factions, even including her aunt who, from beyond the grave, wants Miranda to claim her rightful throne.
Interesting enough to finish eventually, but not to read more in the series. ( )
  dolphari | Dec 29, 2013 |
I stopped reading this after the titular princess made one of the stupidest decisions ever. I won't spoil it, but let's say hypothetically, if there's a shady new boy at school who wants to meet you at an isolated location alone in the late hours of the evening, would you...would you go hang out and of all things start drinking around the campfire?

Maybe if I read another 20 pages I'd have discovered she was ensorcelled to make singularly terrible decisions, I don't know, I couldn't handle it.

Extra star for appropriate grammar, spelling and typesetting. Good job on all that. ( )
  phappyman | Jun 28, 2013 |
Tiptree shortlist 2008. A bit uneven but enjoyed it more than I expected. A nicely eerie/dream-logic quality to some of it. ( )
  SChant | Apr 27, 2013 |
Technically, I didn't actually finish this book. I managed to make it to about page 320/370 before realizing that while my eyes had moved over the last few pages, I had no idea what was really in them, nor did I have much of a desire to find out. So, I admitted defeat and just skimmed the rest of the book, reading just those bits that looked interesting. And there was just a couple of those.

There are some interesting components to the book. For instance, what we think of as the "real" world is just an artificial construct, designed for the sole purpose of keeping the main character safe. And when the heroine (if you can call her that) mentions wanting to return to this world late in the book, she's told that this world is her childhood, and everyone has to leave their childhoods behind sometime. I thought that was very interesting and thought provoking.

But... all the characters (Miranda especially) seem flat and nearly emotionless. While Miranda is thinking of her previous home (this world) I didn't really perceive any shock, despair or grief when she realizes this world is gone forever. I do see a little sorrow and maybe some bemusement. But there's nothing of the depth of emotion I would expect from anyone in this situation, let alone a teenager. Here's an example of how her emotions were displayed: "In her warm tent, Miranda lay still until she started to cry. Then she got up, unbuttoned her tent, and went down to the stream to wash." I don't think I have to say more. The villains were more realistic but even they weren't enough to keep me engaged.

So, all in all, there were some good ideas here, but poor execution of them. ( )
1 vote Melanti | Mar 30, 2013 |
Paul Park has written an intriguing and very singular YA novel with A Princess of Roumania. In a lot of respects, it's quite difficult to say what even makes it Young Adult; Park has a gift of approaching genre tropes from an oblique angle that makes them feel, if not fresh, entirely unfamiliar.

Fifteen year old Miranda was adopted from Romania as a child, little does she know, however, of a secret connection to a different world - Roumania - with a radically different history, and one in which she may play a pivotal role.

This all sounds like very standard stuff, but in Park's hands, it's most definitely not. Roumania itself is a alluring parallel world with hints of steampunk, but it's so much more mature and ambiguous than these usual neo-Victorian secret histories.

His prose is clean, almost curt at times, but with an immediacy and facility that I felt belied the ostensible simplicity. Park doesn't bathe the reader in streams of description, but incorporating the former deftly into the regular narrative works just as effectively. I found it interesting how much flavour he was able to inject without resorting to a caravanserai of unusual adjectives.

But the over-riding pleasure of A Princess of Roumania is its characterisation. Park resists the omnipresent temptation of YA literature to over-emote and lay bare his character's thoughts. He recognises that teens - and adults - don't always know why the feel the way they do, let alone possess the ability to explain it. Miranda herself accurately captures the mixture of poise and anxiety that can characterise late-teenage girls, and one of the ostensible "villains" of the novel - the Baroness Ceaucescu - is actually one of the most sympathetic and intriguing. But all of the characters are three-dimensional, believable and very, very interesting. Their continued development is something to look forward to with the rest of the series.

And don't be mistaken: A Princess of Roumania is very much part of a series. The novel's conclusion is unlikely to satisfy anyone looking to stop there, and this could lead to frustration for some; it is, after all, about 450 pages long as it stands.

But I'm unsure what kind of curmudgeon wouldn't welcome more of Park's fascinating world - which I feel we're only getting the first glimpse of in A Princess of Roumania. Such mature, unique, and interesting writing is more than worthy of sustained attention - both in and out of the YA field. ( )
1 vote patrickgarson | Nov 5, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Paul Parkprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Palencar, John JudeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Oh life is a glorious cycle of song,

A medley of extemporanea;

And love is a thing that can never go wrong,

And I am Marie of Roumania.

     Dorothy Parker
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In early August, after her best friend, Andromeda, had gone to Europe, Miranda met a boy in the woods.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765349507, Mass Market Paperback)

This is a truly magical tale, full of strangeness, terrors and wonders. Many girls daydream that they are really a princess adopted by commoners. In the case of teenager Miranda Popescu, this is literally true. Because she is at the fulcrum of a deadly political battle between conjurers in an alternate world where "Roumania" is a leading European power, Miranda was hidden by her aunt in our world, where she was adopted and raised in a quiet Massachusetts college town.
The narrative is split between our world and the people in Roumania working to protect or to capture Miranda: her Aunt Aegypta Schenck versus the mad Baroness Ceaucescu in Bucharest, and the sinister alchemist, the Elector of Ratisbon, who holds her true mother prisoner in Germany. This is the story of how Miranda -- with her two best friends, Peter and Andromeda -- is brought back to her home reality. Each of them is changed in the process and all will have much to learn about their true identities and the strange world they find themselves in.
This story is a triumph of contemporary fantasy.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:05:36 -0400)

"Many girls daydream that they are princesses adopted by commoners. In Miranda Popescu's case, her dream is literally true. Adopted from an agency in Bucharest by an American couple and raised from infancy in a Massachusetts college town, at the same time she stands at the fulcrum of a deadly political and diplomatic battle between conjurers in an alternate world, a place of magic and intrigue where "Roumania" is a great European power." "Unaware of her past, hidden by her aunt in our comfortable world, she nevertheless has inklings of her own foreignness. This is the story of how she returns to her true home, accompanied by her best friends, Peter and Andromeda. The three of them find themselves changed during the journey, and in their own ways they begin to decipher a new truth about themselves." "This is a magical tale, full of strangeness, terror, and wonder. The narrative is split between our world and Roumania, where powerful forces are working to protect Miranda or to capture her: her aunt, Aegypta Schenck; the Baroness Nicola Ceausesu in Bucharest; and the sinister alchemist who hold Miranda's true mother a prisoner in Germany."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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