Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Captive Maiden By Melanie Dickerson Book Reviews

// The Captive Maiden //
By Melanie Dickerson
{Reviews By Bethany & Madi}
Title: The Captive Maiden
Series: Fairy Tales // Book #4
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Source: ARC review copy from the publisher
Number of Pages: 304
ISBN: 0310724414
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication Date: November 19th, 2013
Bethany's Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Madi's Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
// Book Synopsis //
"Happily Ever After ...Or Happily Nevermore? Gisela's childhood was filled with laughter and visits from nobles such as the duke and his young son. But since her father's death, each day has been filled with nothing but servitude to her stepmother. So when Gisela learns the duke's son, Valten---the boy she has daydreamed about for years---is throwing a ball in hopes of finding a wife, she vows to find a way to attend, even if it's only for a taste of a life she'll never have.

To her surprise, she catches Valten's eye. Though he is rough around the edges, Gisela finds Valten has completely captured her heart. But other forces are bent on keeping the two from falling further in love, putting Gisela in more danger than she ever imagined."
// Bethany's Book Review //

Ever since I heard that Melanie Dickerson was writing a novel based on the classic fairy tale Cinderella, I knew I really, really wanted to read it. I love Cinderella, and I love Melanie Dickerson's novels even more, so the two combined make a sparkly fairy tale treat that didn't disappoint! Needless to say, I was pretty pumped about this book! And after reading it, I can say that this book completely reached my high expectations! This novel is for sure a read that any princess-lover shouldn't miss, as it definitely brings out the inner princess in every girl with a magical story that captures you from page one.
Everything about this book was so...princess-y. I know that sounds rather funny being guessed it, it's based on a princess story. Obviously it is expected to be girly with the pretty clothes, high heels and jewelry and overall-princess theme. But what I mean by this is that it's totally a girly book and takes the whole princess deal to the highest level-which I just loved since I'm a total girl who likes to embrace femininity. Everything about this book, the storyline, the characters, the plot, clothing, setting, etc. just has a magical princess feel to it that makes a ultimate princess experience. All the little things like the jousting matches, the adventure, the gorgeous clothing, the ball, it all just added so much to the story and made you feel like you where in the time period.
I loved the twist that Melanie put so skillfully into this timeless classic story. I think the way she wrote this novel was just pure brilliance, because she knew what to keep from the story and what to leave out and replace with a little something of her own. She just wove the combination of the details from Cinderella and her own bits to make it all mesh together in a splendid way that really enhances the classic tale and makes you realize dreams do come true.
I also enjoyed how well developed the characters were, and their personalities. Especially Valten.  He was just the perfect prince to me. He was extremely respectful and a hard worker, and had so many wonderful characteristics that would make any girl swoon. His character was so sturdy and he was just a hero. I also loved Gisela. I felt like I connected with her and felt her pain, but at the same time rejoiced in how she handled her hardships and found out in the end that her positivity in the difficult situation made her story end happily. I just loved how even when things weren't going so great, she wasn't at home complaining about it and had a good attitude towards it. In the end it paid off.
Overall I just adored this novel, and it was just a delight to read! I really, really hope that Melanie continues to bring us more fairy tale inspired novels, as they are just such fun to read! Although a bit unrealistic (as all fairy tales are) I loved all the action and adventure in this story, and was hardly able to put this book down. I'd highly recommend this novel to any teen girl who loves the classic Cinderella story!

// Madi's Book Review //
Oh. My. Gosh. It's finally here! I have been waiting for this book to release ever since its announcement. I love Melanie Dickerson! She's one of my favorite authors. I have read ALL of her books, and I adored them all. This is the fourth book that Melanie has written, and I sincerely hope there will be more to follow! The author's first book was a spin-off of Beauty And The Beast, her second book was a spin-off of Sleeping Beauty, her third book was a spin-off of Snow White, and her newest release (The Captive Maiden) is a spin-off of Cinderella! The best thing about these books is that though they are inspired by children's fairy tales, they are not at all childish. This is a wonderful series for teenage girls and females of all ages! I would like to point out before I go any further that though these books are all written princess style, and they have small connections and links between each novel, each of them can be read as a stand-alone book. Each book is about a completely different person, and you won't feel like you're missing out on something if you read them out of order. There might be the occasional reference about someone from another book, but for the most part the characters from each of the books, have very little contact with the others. So, basically, if you want to read one of these books really bad, but are afraid that you might miss something if you read it before another one by this author, don't be! That being said, lets continue.
I love the amount of time the author spent in making every little detail lovable. The evil step-mother, the back-stabbing-step-sisters, the prince in disguise, all these things and more added to the age old tale of "Cinderella", (or should I say, "Gisella"?).
Gisella is a young orphan girl. Her mother died when she was two, so she has little, to no memory of her, but her father didn't die until she was seven. Her father owned a horse business, and he passed down his love of horses to his little daughter. One day, the Duke and his eldest son came to purchase a horse for the young boy to ride in the jousting tournaments that he competed in, and Gisella never forgot him. When her step-mother would lock her in her room, or make her do chores that were unsuitable for such a young girl, or if her step-sisters were just making a nuisance of themselves, she would think of young Valten, and for a moment, she left behind reality and lived where dreams come true. Gisella grows up to be a very beautiful woman, both in appearance and in heart. Though she has next to nothing in material possessions, everyone adores her for the gracious heart that God gave and nurtured in her.
Valten is still stung from being jilted by his betrothed. It's not like he actually loved her or had feelings for her, because he had never met her, but the thought of losing her to his kid brother, Gabe, made him madder than a hornet. He was used to winning at everything and gaining whatever he desired, (not in a bratty, selfish way, but in a hardworking and deserving way). When he meets Gisella, his heart takes a turn, and he starts to think about things other than tournaments and politics. Maybe it was time he came back home for good, took a wife, and started learning at his father's side so that he would be prepared for the fate that the future held for him as Duke of Hagenheim.
Gisella and Valten go on many an adventure together, and they experience some close calls, but something about almost losing your life next to someone makes you bond like you could never imagine.
I know I say this a lot, but this is one of the best books that I have read all year, and I mean it. Sword fighting, romance, princess and plotting family members all contributed to making this novel a story worth reading. I read it in less than a day, and I know that I will definitely be reading it again in the future (which is saying something, because I rarely re-read books). I would recommend this book to anyone with a soft spot for medieval romances and historical fictions. I hope you will enjoy this book as much as I did!
N O T E :: We would like to sincerely thank Zondervan publishers for providing us both with an Advanced Reading Copy of The Captive Maiden for review purposes. We were not paid to w rite these reviews, and were not required to give a good review if we didn't like the book. All thoughts expressed in our reviews are completely honest and unbiased.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for posting this book review! My sister and I are getting ready to read this book and we can't wait! We have read all of Melanie Dickerson's books as well and loved them all! Again thanks for reviewing this book!


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