Review: Aurelia by Anne Ostertund

Publisher: Speak (April 17, 2008)
Paperback: 256 pages
Price: $8.99 from Amazon
Summary: Aurelia, the crown princess of Tyralt, wants control over her own life. Robert, her former classmate, wants Aurelia. And someone wants her...dead. There have been several narrowly escaped attempts to assassinate the princess, but the king has no desire to incite panic by making the information public. Instead, Robert, the son of the king's former royal spy, is allowed into the inner circle to secretly investifate and watch over Aurelia. Robert is determined to help, if only Aurelia would let him! But the princess will not heed the danger around her, and she does not need Robert to save her. Just as their friendship begins to grow into something more, the threat on Aurelia's life becomes paramount. WIth everything possible on the line - her life, her kingdom, her heart - Aurelia must take matters into her own hands, whatever the cost.


Review: Aurelia is a stubborn crown princess of Tybalt, and she’s taken over the people’s hearts just like she’ll take yours. I really liked Aurelia’s character: she’s head-strong and determined at times, while at others she’s insecure and hurt. She comes off the page, and I felt myself wishing I could be as independent as Aurelia and empathizing with her through her family troubles. Anne Ostertund did a very good job showing how Aurelia is about to become a mature woman, but is partially still a young girl.

I really loved how the author depicted the setting; she went into just enough detail to make me feel like I was actually there experiencing the sights while not feeling weighed down by the excessive amount of words. And it had a princess, danger, and a charming prince, exactly the way I like it! I also liked reading one chapter from Aurelia’s point of view, then one chapter from Robert’s point of view. Not exactly an original idea, but it was good all the same. However, it did annoy me a little when Ostertund would use phrases like a “jaunty” tilt of the head.

The beginning is a bit slow as the author introduces the characters and setting, but once the plot started heating up as more clues were revealed, I really couldn’t put the book down! I think the mystery part was incorporated very well, and it made me want to keep reading to see what more Robert and Aurelia would discover. I had a pretty good guess of who the assassin was earlier on, but there was an unexpected twist at the end.

However, I was very dissatisfied with the ending, especially with the fact that nothing is done to punish the person arranging the assassination attempts. I felt it wrapped up pretty quickly and there is an open ending, one of my worst pet peeves. I was also very disappointed about the lack of romance. I know this is a young adult book, but Robert and Aurelia only kiss once throughout the entire book. I really liked them together and wanted to see more physical contact (though their romantic relationship is very evident throughout the book). Major points off for both of these areas!

Bottom Line: I would say Aurelia was a pretty solid book and a great debut novel for Anne Ostertund. Admittedly it isn’t an original idea, but Ostertund brings a fresh voice to an old idea in the form of a girl named Aurelia. If you want to read some light mystery with a very, very little bit of romance mixed in, go for this book (though I would mainly recommend it to teens/pre-teens). The only part I really dislike is the open ending which has me hoping for a sequel that I searched up and couldn't find, but please correct me if I'm wrong.