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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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6292015,431 (3.07)26
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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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 |
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 |
I found quite a bit to like about this book. Park handles the alternating universes very well. He doesn't tell us all about how each bit of magic works; rather, he lets us figure it out along with the characters. Miranda, the fifteen-year-old adoptee living in Massachusetts, discovers nthat she is really a princess of Roumania in an alternate universe. Her aunt, also a princess and also a sorceress, has stashed her in our world for safekeeping, but events drive her toward reclaiming her birthright.

Park does a nice job of blending traditional mythological elements with real-world teenage concerns. Miranda's views of friendship grow, and motivate a crucial choice she makes. She is a well drawn character, as are several others. We spend more time in the Baroness's point of view than I would prefer; Park seems to want to depict her as a sympathetic sociopath. It will be interesting to see how he develops her character, or if she is basically static. Secondary bad guys are appropriately creepy, while Miranda's friends, transformed by their move into an alternate world, are nicely conflicted and three-dimensional.

There are stretches in the midddle of the book, especially in the "real" (not our) world, that drag a bit. Other than that, Park's style is excellent and well suited to the characters and the story. ( )
1 vote Jim53 | Jan 30, 2011 |
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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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