Showing posts with label Kristin Kladstrup. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kristin Kladstrup. Show all posts

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Garden Princess by Kristin Kladstrup

Rating: a warty reading experience! See below:

I can't rate this entire thing because I couldn't really listen to it. I got it from the library on CDs, and when I tried to play it, the first five tracks didn't work, so that was chapter one unlistenable. Consequently I started at chapter two. The next two disks I barely heard because I was driving in pain-in-the-butt traffic and was more focused on that than on the disk. The fourth disk I had under perfect listening conditions, but it was also defective, so I decided to give up on this and maybe revisit it in print!

I couldn't see anything wrong with disk four except a minor scratch which didn't seem to account for the problems it had. I'd suspect that the lens on the player is dirty, but it played two and three without problems. It turned out that the first disk wouldn't play because there was what appeared to be a melted section of the disk - like it'd had a magnifying glass focusing sunlight on it in this one spot about a half inch in dimeter, which appeared very slightly bubbled. Just bad all around. Like I said, I may get back to this later in some other format!

The story, very briefly, is that Princess Adela who admirably wants to live a life before she settles down to marriage, and who is so interested in nature that she can't keep Botany at Bay! She notes that something seems amiss in Lady Hortensia's garden. Let's not get into how amusing the Lady's name is. It's actually not hard to see the issue: every flower is in bloom even though it's October. And no, the garden isn't in Texas! It's not that warm there in October. "Is it possible that Hortensia is a witch and the magpie an enchanted prince?" the blurb asks. Well I'm guessing the cover artist didn't read the blurb since he/she illustrated a Blackbird, not a Magpie. Ahem!

This is a peril of reading - so many formats, so little reliability! Ebooks can have formatting screwed-up (Amazon Kindle I'm looking at you), downloads can get garbled, print books can have torn and misprinted pages, disks can be damaged. Will there ever be a perfect reading medium that doesn't destroy trees, lard up the environment with plastics and other pollutants, or require boatloads of energy? I doubt it. Everything costs something. But you can mitigate effects by for example, using your phone to read ebooks instead of buying a dedicated reader such as a Nook or a Kindle, or by buying used print books - aka recycling! And recycle your own new print books to a library, a school, or to a place like Goodwill that can resell them.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Garden Princess by Kristin Kladstrup

Rating: WARTY!

This book seems like it's written for middle-graders (9-12 years) but the main character is seventeen. I'm not sure how well that will go down, but the protagonist, Adela, is one who made me feel, at least at first blush, was well-worth reading about - or in this case, listening to - but although there were amusing and interesting moments, overall, I can't rate this as a worthy read.

Her mom, Queen Cecile, was a commoner who caught the king's eye, but who has evidently learned her 'royal' to a T and has become rather condescending, elite, and arrogant - character flaws of which Adela is well aware. Adela doesn't take after her mom; she's a princess, but it appeared, originally that she was not your usual Disney version. Later this version was revised. Adela at first appeared to be somewhat overweight, but later this was clarified to mean she was tall. She was supposedly not considered to be that great looking, but in the end all of this was practically retracted, and she turned out to be very much a Disney princess.

She had little time for fluff and fancy, but that was all she really had to set her apart, but that's all been done before. She's self-possessed, self-motivated, a bit of a rebel, and her interest is not in attracting a handsome prince in the bloom of youth to her bed, but in the flowers in her own royal garden beds. Sadly though, she ends up being your standard maiden in distress who has to be rescued by a man, and I rather lost interest in it at that point.

Given her horticultural interests - which are actually not that special in the end, it's no surprise that when she learns of a garden party being thrown by the Lady Hortensia, who is rumored to have the most beautiful plants in the kingdom, Adela is determined to go even though she has had no invitation. Garth, the son of the palace gardener, did receive an invitation even though he's never met Hortensia. Curiouser and curiouser! Adela invites herself, and is accompanied by her aunt Marguerite and by Garth.

Lady Hortensia, it turns out, is a witch who is still practicing in a kingdom where magic was supposedly either stamped out or simply died out, if it ever existed. Maybe it was just myth and legend? Adela is about to find out the truth, and it's really rather disconcerting to say the least. All of Hortensia's flowers are bloom though fall is well advanced. More curiously, there is a talking magpie named Krazo, which has an irresistible bird's eye view of the guests' jewels.

If the secret of the magpie is disturbing, then the secret of the flowers is horrifying, but in this world of secrets, maybe Krazo knows one of which Adela an avail herself, because there is no other help for her. If she's to resolve what's gone wrong here, she must do it on her own initiative so we;re told, but in the end she doesn't, and it's this failing - this starting out like this will be a different and female-empowering story and then ending up just another sappy love story that turned me off . I can't recommend this one.