Sunday, 16 October 2011

The Tin Princess by Philip Pullman - Book Review

Publisher's write-up :

Jim Taylor has just been engaged as bodyguard to a princess. But Princess Adelaide is hardly typical of her title – she is a London slum-child who cannot read or write. And Jim already knows her. Adelaide disappeared ten years ago, and he's been searching for her ever since. She's turned up as Crown Princess of Razkavia, a tiny Central European country in political turmoil. The Crown Prince is deeply in love with her, and it's easy to see why – Adelaide's courage and determination inspire love. But when they arrive in Razkavia, Jim will find plenty who hate Adelaide, and what she stands for...”

The Tin Princess is the fourth and last book of the Sally Lockhart quartet, written by Philip Pullman. The story takes place during the Victorian Era, in 1882, one year after the events that took place in  The Tiger in the Well. Adelaide, who appears in the first book, The Ruby in the Smoke, makes a comeback in this novel as one of the main characters.

Razkavia is a small kingdom in central Europe, around as big as Berkshire. It has been in existence since the thirteenth century and is presumably sandwiched between Germany and Austria. Prince Wilhelm and his wife Anna have been murdered and his younger brother, Prince Rudolf becomes the heir to the throne of Razkavia. Prince Rudolf is in England has just been married to Adelaide. Unfortunately, during Rudolf's coronation, he was killed and now, Adelaide is the queen of Razkavia – a queen who doesn't know the local language and also illiterate. She has a translator named Rebecca Winter and James Taylor (who appears in the first three books) is appointed as her bodyguard.

The book is supposed to be a “Sally Lockhart mystery” but, Sally's role in this book is insignificant and Jim is the main character of this book but that is not a problem as it could be understood that Sally is now married and settled. The book was reasonable but I feel some of it didn't have much logic. Adelaide was a Cockney Queen the previous day and in the very next day, Adelaide becomes a top diplomat solving problems that had been going on for centuries. The author does try to inform the reader that Adelaide, although illiterate is intelligent – like she is very good at playing chess and Rebecca could never beat her but diplomacy is not something obtained through IQ. The end was also extremely abrupt, almost like the author was under pressure to complete the book within a given target. Considering that this is the last book of the series, the author could have written a far more precise epilogue.

  If I've to describe the novel in one line : The worst book in the Sally Lockhart quartet.  

Rating – 4 / 10

Have a nice day,


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