Recommended for: Ages 10 to Adult
Rating: PG (fantasy violence and romance)
When the Lady Dragon does come,
Hold fast, do not fear, do not run.
Your Water Princess will fight,
Fire Prince will set all to right.
Each shall come from a Fall,
Their union will save you all.
Despite the fact that she's on track for competing in the Olympics, and he's practically raised his younger brothers since they lost their mom in a car accident, Clara Mandras and Andrew Stevenson are pretty much normal teens. They have normal hopes, normal dreams, and they live in a normal world.
All this is torn away from them when they are thrust into another world and declared Water Princess and Fire Prince. With no experience ruling a country, meeting each other for the first time, and being expected to fight the Lady Dragon – an evil sorceress plaguing the world of Rizkaland – Clara and Andrew are underprepared and inexperienced. Unless they learn to work together despite their standing opposition, Rizkaland's hope will be lost.
What is to come will change their lives forever.
I found out about Kendra through following Homeschool Author stuff and downloaded and read The Ankulen once when it was free. I then got some Bookanias on kindle and liked those a good bit. I also got to know Kendra on Goodreads because we ended up in groups together. Which was fun. When she asked for beta readers for WPFP, I signed up because, well, why not? I liked Bookania and she's a friend and I like to help friends. She sent part one, and it took me awhile to get around to it, but one day I was sick, so I pulled it out. I liked it. She sent me part 2. I liked Andrew better than Clara and wanted to see them meet. I really loved part 3. I couldn't wait to see how their relationship developed. Then came part 4. And it became one of my favorite books. With a "whoa, I did not see that one coming" and a "how could part 4 end like that?!" And then part 5 which I love so much left me sighing with contentment and wanting more at the same time. And reading and rereading the ending several times on the way home from church. And, I admit, I kind of fangirled over it. Primarily to Kendra and in the Goodreads group. Which actually caused me to make a new friend.
It takes a good book to get that kind of response from me. The kind that has me driving my sisters crazy by talking about it all the time. The kind that has me daydreaming about making it into a movie. The kind that has me determined that I have to have a paperback. That's Water Princess, Fire Prince.
Kendra understands deep character point of view. Clara and Andrew, the Water Princess and Fire Prince, are the two points of view and it alternates between them. It's clear whose head we are in. They have their ways of thinking, their little quirks. I was pulled into the story. I was pulled into the world. I lived this adventure with them. And Kendra has a way of throwing in references and making fun of cliches while using them that's brilliant. I can't necessarily say the writing is completely perfect, but it's far more than sufficient.
Rizkaland is the most unique and interesting fantasy world I've visited. The world is a cylinder rather than a ball. Water is of multiple different colors, depending on its use. The trees are thus rainbow colored. There are interesting versions of animals and mythical creatures like etrinas and rowandas and hinequas. They have prophets called Bookholders or Bookdaughters. They have unique traditions and customs (if I talk too much about that, I could tread into spoiler territory). There is the Doorkeeper, Laura, who was given the task of opening doors between worlds by Alphego Himself. It's a very well developed world. You can tell Kendra spent a lot of time on the worldbuilding. It's on my list of worlds to visit once I meet Laura. :)
On its surface, Water Princess, Fire Prince might seem like any portal fantasy story: teens pulled out of their own world, brought to a land where they have been prophesied to defeat the oppressor, which they then proceed to do. However, WPFP is very unique. Kendra, or rather Clara, makes fun of those cliches and fantasy stereotypes. There are unusual challenges they face, not the least of which the fact that the Water Princess and Fire Prince are prophesied to get married, and they barely even want to be friends. It's fun. It's serious. It's exciting. It's romantic. It's...Water Princess, Fire Prince.
Character Development: 5/5
The characters are what really stand out. I admit, Clara was kind of hard to connect with in part 1. But the more I got to know her, the more I could relate to her. As she resisted everyone pushing her to fall in love with Andrew, I found myself thinking that, yep, that's probably how I would react too. I wanted her to stop being so stubborn, yet I saw myself in her stubbornness. Andrew is awesome. I liked him pretty much from the start. He doesn't like the situation any more than Clara does, but he handles it better. He's really a great guy. And while she's the little fighter that Lord Abraham compared to an etrina, he's the definition of a true leader. After all, he kind of had to take over the care of his three little brothers after he lost his mom in a car accident. Funny, though Clara's a fighter (sword, martial arts, bow and arrow), she's still feminine, and while Andrew did take over from his mother and is a good cook, he's very much a man. I love how they're not a stereotypical gentleman and lady while still being quite a gentleman and a lady.
A couple of secondary characters worth mentioning. Jill Anna is the girl I aspire to be. She's a seamstress and a big sister, and fills both the roles of mentor and friend to Clara, sometimes simultaneously. Such words of wisdom come from her mouth that struck a chord with me and continue to stick around. I can relate to her a lot personality-wise, and, well, I want to know more of her story. Lor'Son Jakob is a remarkably perceptive guy, as Clara says. He's the one who is calm and steady, but has a big heart that doesn't care about class or rank. I like him a lot. Jasmine and Karlos are the kids, and they can be quite entertaining, particularly Jasmine. Laura, the Doorkeeper. With influence from River Song, the Doctor, and even the TARDIS herself. She lives a lonely life, but she's always ready to encourage. She shows up where she is needed, where Alphego needs her to be. There are so many characters, too many to talk about, this review is already too long. But WPFP has quite a colorful cast of characters. Even Amber and Granite are interesting, and I'm actually looking forward to learning more about them in book 2 of The Rizkaland Legends.
Water Princess, Fire Prince is a really good book. If you like fantasy, if you like adventure, if you like discovering new worlds, if you like tales of good vs. evil, if you like romance, if you like book characters, particularly ones who can carry on conversations with quotes and references, you will love Water Princess, Fire Prince.
I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I was under no obligation to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own.
Kendra E. Ardnek loves fairy tales and twisting them in new and exciting ways. She's been practicing her skills on her dozen plus cousins and siblings for years, "Finish your story, Kendra", is frequently heard at family gatherings. Her sole life goal has always been to grow up and be an author of fantasy and children's tales that also glorify God and his Word. You can read more about her on her blog, knittedbygodsplan.blogspot.com.
Water Princess, Fire Prince on Kindle
Part 1’s first chapter
Part 2’s first chapter
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