Genres: Childrens, Fantasy, Mystery
Publisher: Chicken House
Release Date: 04/10/2012
Find The Author: Website
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Abandoned in a blinding
blizzard in the wintry wilds of Russia, Sophie Smith fears for her
life. But just like in a fairy tale, a princess comes to her rescue: the
beautiful, exotic Anna Volkonskaya. Over a river of ice in a
horse-drawn sleigh, she brings Sophie and her friends to a magnificent,
if weathered, winter palace.
At first, Sophie is enchanted by
Princess Anna's stories of long-ago royalty, of white wolves and gray
diamonds. But when the princess takes a particular interest in her,
Sophie grows concerned. What is her place in the sinister mystery that
surrounds her? Even as the wind and wolves howl outside, is she more in
danger now, a prisoner of the palace, than she ever was lost in the
This story revolves around Sophie, an orphan at a school for girls, a place I immediately imagined as Miss Minchin's in A Little Princess. It's clearly a timeless place and not knowing what time period this was set in did frustrate me a little. Not wanting her to miss a chance at visiting Russia, her friend forges her aunt's signature and head off, finding more adventure than they thought.
Almost as soon as they get settled on the train with their new guardian who's supposed to be taking them to meet a Princess, she leaves and they get chucked off the train and left in the middle of Russia! Luck prevails however, and they soon find their way into the mysterious Winter Palace, where Sophie immediately feels at home.
It's a simple storyline and yes, a little unbelievable. But I went in with an open mind and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's clearly aimed at younger readers who are not going to be hung up on details like why the adults just let them wander off and that the two friends have cliched personalities. I did actually like her friends, the geek and the shopaholic. The story certainly would have been a lot less colourful without them!
The landscape is easily the most memorable aspect of this story, with it's rich Russia heritage and desolate snowy forest. Not to mention the gorgeous Winter Palace, with all it's hidden secrets! I've never been to Russia but the story helped paint a great picture in my head of a place I might want to visit if I ever invest in arctic clothing.
The ending was fun, secrets revealed and all that good stuff. I had guessed way before the ending what was going to happen but it still fun, knowing I was right. The last chapter was quite bittersweet, as I wanted to stay in Sophie's world for a little while longer.
The Wolf Princess is a great book for all ages, and has a strong feeling of a modern day fairytale. It reminded me the most of A Little Princess, a story and movie I still love very much. It's also a great read for winter, with it's tale of magical winter palaces and travelling across a snow covered landscape. I highly recommend this to any parent looking for clean reads to add to their children's shelves.