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It's been a while since I read A Princess Of Roumania, and my memory of what happened in that books is a bit sketchy, but I remember enjoying it enormously, so I'm delighted to have the next three books in the series to dive into. Miranda Popescu grows up in a small town in America, only to discover that she is, in fact, in a hiding place. Our world is merely a conjuring designed to keep her safe from her enemies. She is, in reality, a princess of Greater Roumania, and when our world vanishes, s It's been a while since I read A Princess Of Roumania, and my memory of what happened in that books is a bit sketchy, but I remember enjoying it enormously, so I'm delighted to have the next three books in the series to dive into.

She is, in reality, a princess of Greater Roumania, and when our world vanishes, she and her two friends find themselves in a North America that is nothing but sparsely inhabited wilderness, hunted by soldiers sent by the evil Baroness Ceausescu. At the end of the first book, Miranda is transported to Roumania, leaving her friends behind. Book 2, and we discover that she has not just been transported through space, but through time. For her, it is now five years later.

While Peter and Andromeda set out to find her, their recent identities as American teenagers merging with their old identities as imperial soldiers, Miranda is taken by gypsies to her aunt's shrine, hunted by a vampire and used by the German Elector of Ratisbon in his war against the Baroness. The Tourmaline is a fantasy in the mould of a fairy tale, a princess returned to reclaim her rightful throne.

But Park avoids and defies convention and cliche. His protagonist jumps from young adult to adult in the space of a page. Her friends take on new, less attractive personalities. The careful plan laid by her aunt is immediately thrown away when the letter she leaves is destroyed unread. The political complexities of Europe are beyond Miranda's grasp and the woods and shrines and caves of Roumania are filled with magics and conjurings she cannot understand. Comparisons with Pullman, Wolfe and LeGuin abound, and there is no question that if you like those authors you should give this a shot.

There is also Margo Langan, of whose dark fairy-tale style this reminded me quite strongly. It is a subtle, sophisticated, ambitious work, and I'll be diving into the next volume directly. Mar 29, Wm rated it really liked it Shelves: science-fiction-and-fantasy. I tried to not like it. Probed it for the standard weaknesses of the middle books and it's hard to believe now that there are two more rather than just one.

But I really enjoyed the way the magic and the plot and the characters unfold and the mysterious muddledness of the whole thing which could be annoying for some; I find it compelling, even charming. Miranda Popescu and Baroness Ceaucescu and there are moments still when I anger and awe at the audacity of Park's treatment of history are f I tried to not like it. Miranda Popescu and Baroness Ceaucescu and there are moments still when I anger and awe at the audacity of Park's treatment of history are fantastic foils, both trying to figure out how to win hearts and minds.

The magic sometimes seems as a bit of a cop out, then, but on the whole, it's strange and, well, magical. And I think what Park does uncommonly well is leap around to the people and moments that are most needed at that time and that isn't always the big plot changes or plans some of which are revealed almost parenthetically but rather the times when we need to understand what's going on in the minds of the key players and in their environments.

Good stuff. I hope he can pull of the next two. Apr 11, Woodge rated it liked it Shelves: fantasy. The goings-on get even stranger in this second book of a quartet and we follow the exploits of Miranda and her friends Peter and Andromeda. Peter is actually a renowned soldier named Pieter de Graz and Andromeda is really a male soldier named Sasha Prochenko.

But in this story she morphs from a dog to a young woman. Miranda also ventures into the hidden world while conjurers like the Baroness Ceausescu and the Elector of Ratisbon put their own plots into play. It sometimes gets confusing only to clear up later and I enjoyed the real sense of strangeness in this story. It's always interesting and I'll be reading the follow-up soon. It's called The White Tyger.

Jul 19, Peter rated it liked it Recommends it for: People with a lot of patience who like alternate history.


  • The Tourmaline (Roumania, book 2) by Paul Park.
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Shelves: alternate-history , fantasy. I enjoyed A Princess of Roumania a lot; the sequel -- not so much. While it has many of the features of the previous volume -- a complicated, slowly-unfolding plot, interesting magic, a clever alternate history that is revealed in a fairly naturalistic way ie no huge infodumps -- the characters this time around pretty much lack any kind of agency -- they are pushed around by Fate or, really, the Author's thumb which they experience as a sort of waking dream.

This can be used to good effect, I enjoyed A Princess of Roumania a lot; the sequel -- not so much. This can be used to good effect, but when all the characters are doing it all the time, and the experiences are so cryptic Which is kind of sad. I will likely look at the next one, but I am not exactly in a hurry View all 3 comments. Sep 01, Hillary rated it really liked it. I enjoy the plot of this series a great deal.

Princess Roumania

I found the writing in this second installment much improved over the first. I very much enjoy the use of magic in these books, it's a far less complicated sort of magic than what is described in many fantasy novels. The magic in these books is more of an instinctual sort of magic, without a lot of explanation required.

Something about the way these stories are structured, the natural quality of the magic, and the use of "spirit animals", reminds me I enjoy the plot of this series a great deal. Something about the way these stories are structured, the natural quality of the magic, and the use of "spirit animals", reminds me of Charles de Lint. I find de Lint's writing less awkward, and his novels are usually much more cohesive that I've found Park's to be, but there is a similarity in terms of the plot. Nov 22, Jeremy rated it it was ok. After finishing this book, the second of a series of four, I honestly didn't have any enthusiasm to continue.

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Partly this is due to the fact that the author split up into four books what is essentially one. The separate books don't have individual story arcs, just another series of confrontations that the protagonists feebly struggle against. I can't help but think of this book like a soap opera. Conflicts are not overcome so much as new ones supersede the old ones.

This was even more frus After finishing this book, the second of a series of four, I honestly didn't have any enthusiasm to continue. This was even more frustrating because the world that Park created was so interesting. Apr 23, Kate rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites , politics , fiction , fantasy , magical-realism , historical-fiction , science-fiction , international-interest , speculative , alternate-history.

This is really good! I liked it much better than A Princess of Roumania.

Princess Margarita of Romania

You still have to bear with the story, because a lot of times as with the first book something happens that won't make sense until a whole scene or so has played out. Definitely worth reading, though, and I'm excited to see what happens next! I love this series beyond reason. I find this whole Roumanian world to be fascinating, filled with a weird mix of magic, wishful thinking and history.

Maybe I wish my having to work every day really was just a figment of someone else's imagination And how Peter and Andromeda are shockingly changed in the process of making their way to Roumania to find Miranda again at the end of this book. Genre: Fantasy. Ka John Crowley. This book is probably going to be end up in my library donations box. I enjoyed the last half but it wasn't very memorable. Oct 26, sarah t rated it it was ok. I could barely make myself finish this book. It was a gift from my pop, who bought it based on a newspaper review suggesting that this book was like Harry Potter.

It was not like Harry Potter - it was not easy to read, or funny, or good, or anthing. It was confusing - I felt like whole chapters must have been missing because I couldn't always follow the plot. Or else maybe I was such a sloppy reader that I really missed whole major sequences. I'm not sure, but man, don't read this. Jan 15, Leigh rated it it was ok.

Hard to get into. Too many characters with too little invested in them, so I spent a lot of time trying to figure out who was working for whom. It's an intriguing idea, but tries to hard to be highbrow and fails at making itself understandable enough to be enjoyable. Nov 17, Moira rated it did not like it. Good premise for the story - I love a good alternate universe!

Unfortunately, the book was very hard to follow and I couldn't care less about any of the characters. I didn't bother reading the other books in the series. Maybe I'm too old to be reading about disaffected teenagers About pages into this book, the plot is still not very compelling and the characters are still fuzzy. After pages I gave up, deciding that I have too many enticing books on my to-be-read shelf to waste my time with characters I don't like.

The Tourmaline (Princess of Roumania, #2) by Paul Park

Jun 20, Tony rated it it was ok Shelves: novels , speculative-fiction. Can't recall where I heard about this book, or what I heard that was compelling enough for me to seek it out. In any event, I did so, and by about halfway through, I strongly considered not finishing it. Had I realized it was the first in a quartet, I definitely would have stopped, because I basically slogged through pages just to see how it would end, and it's basically a setup for future books.

The premise is that there's an adopted teenage girl in present-day Massachusetts who turns out to Can't recall where I heard about this book, or what I heard that was compelling enough for me to seek it out. The premise is that there's an adopted teenage girl in present-day Massachusetts who turns out to be the hidden princess of Roumania aka Romania , or rather, the Roumanian Empire of an alternate 19th-century world in which England has sunk beneath the waves, and there is some kind of German plot to absorb Romania.

The first bit of the book ably establishes the heroine and her two friends, before switching to this alternate world where various forces are seeking her. The book's main problem is that much is made of the girl's importance, but it's awfully unclear why she's important, other than some kind of link to a legend. Similarly, the various machinations to find her feel completely ungrounded, and the geopolitical arrangements of this alternate world are confusing at best.

It often has the feel of a book that's the second in a series and requires full and complete background from the first book -- but this is the first book, so it doesn't have that excuse. As atmospheric as the book can be, and despite some compelling scenes here and there, the characters just weren't fleshed out enough for me to care -- especially their motivations. All in all, this was a dud for me -- although I could see that if you were committed to the whole series, it might be fine in that context.

Feb 14, Melyssa rated it did not like it Shelves: fantasy-urban. I started reading this once and ended up putting it down. I just tried it again because the premise is an interesting one. Sadly, this time around I had to force myself to finish it. This is a very frustrating book. First of all major pet peeve here there is nothing anywhere on my copy that indicates it is the first of a series. Not until you reach the end where nothing is resolved and there is a preview of the next book do you get that information.

I tend to buy full series all at once rather I started reading this once and ended up putting it down.

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I tend to buy full series all at once rather than one book at a time, so if I had known that it was the first of a series I would have waited and gotten them all at once. It is a personal quirk that I can't really stand cliffhangers. The second reason this book is frustrating is because it meanders meaninglessly for the vast majority of the pages. Characters don't grow or change, plotlines are ridiculously convoluted, and there is really very little anywhere in the book that makes you care about any of the main characters.

All in all, I honestly could not recommend this book to anyone. I have absolutely no interest in picking up the rest of the series because I don't really care about the characters or the people around them. Dec 08, Kelly McCubbin rated it really liked it. Paul Park is one of those writers that you didn't realize you had been looking for until you find him.

Much is made of the autobiographical accents of these books, but what I find most fascinating is his turning of the standard "hero's journey" narrative on its head. To give too much away is to deny some of the vertiginous joy of the narrative, so I won't say much other than, what happens when your hero refuses to play by the rules of the formal narrative construct you've put her in?

Make no mista Paul Park is one of those writers that you didn't realize you had been looking for until you find him. Make no mistake, this is no simple metafictional trickery. Miranda is a deeply compassionate character in a morally difficult situation and she makes choices that shocked and delighted me. I look forward to the next two books in the series. I am curious about Park's relationship to World War I in this book. Germany seems to be waiting for that one spark, which misfires a few times.

Feb 05, Annie rated it liked it Shelves: sf-f. I wanted to like this book more than I actually did. It is an interesting concept, a fascinating world, and beautifully written. However, the main character, Miranda, was a disappointment. She does nothing to influence her own fate.

She follows along, going where she is pulled and tugged. Near the end, when she does make a somewhat important decision, it seems half-hearted. I found the other characters more interesting, more motivated, and more actionable. Perhaps I'll read the other books in th I wanted to like this book more than I actually did.

Perhaps I'll read the other books in the series, but I'm not feeling an overwhelming urge to read the sequel, even though this book ends with so much left to be resolved. Sep 30, Lana rated it it was ok Shelves: gave-away , read Many people I know really love this book, people who's taste in books I usually like, so I wish I liked this also. But the truth is, I'm still not sure what I read or why I read it. I never got it - I never distinguished the plot, or characters.

I just never understood what I was reading. Which is pretty unusual for me. Nov 04, Cris rated it did not like it Shelves: book-club-selection , fantasy. I found the non-linear storytelling to be disjointed, the characters uninteresting and the plot confusing. Overall, I was bored. Originally published on my blog here in April One author who is mentioned several times in the quotations printed on the back of A Princess of Roumania is Philip Pullman. Now, anyone who has read my reviews of the His Dark Materials trilogy will know that Pullman is an author I think massively overrated, and so I found this somewhat off-putting.

While I can understand the com Originally published on my blog here in April While I can understand the comparison to Pullman, Park has more interesting ideas, a more atmospheric setting, and, above all, the ability to write convincing characters; while many consider His Dark Materials a classic, A Princess of Roumania is much more deserving of the label. Park mixes it with alternative universes, also not especially new: hiding the lost heir in our world is something I planned to use in an abandoned novel I began in , among other uses of the idea.

The first slightly unusual aspect to A Princess of Roumania is that our world is the fictional one, magically created solely to hide the princess Miranda from her family's enemies. Park's Roumania is a great power in decline, threatened principally by the Germans; her father was wrongfully accused of betraying Roumania to them twenty years earlier, an event which led to the elevation of one of the Roumanian generals as the power behind the throne.

The baby Miranda was hidden by her aunt, an adept of magic, with the aid of a pair of books: each describing the history of a world, one real and one fictional; when both books are destroyed, the spell is broken and Miranda is returned to the "real" world. An odd quirk means she's fifteen even though twenty years have passed: this is not explained though of course future novels in the series may do so and suggests that the flow of time in magical worlds is different from that in the real world, an idea which goes back to folk stories where people kidnapped by fairies find that after a single night everyone they knew is dead of old age.

The pace is slow; the point of the novel being to establish the characters and set the stage for their interactions. Quite a lot does actually happen - it just feels relaxed to read it. Park doesn't quite manage the surely impossible task of persuading the reader that his Roumania is more real than the world we live in, but he comes closer than a lot of writers. It is the characters which really excel.

This makes Park's work reminiscent in truth of one of the other authors to whom he is compared on the back of A Princess of Roumania, John Crowley , who is one of my favourite authors of all. Involving, rather than exciting, is the order of the day; and A Princess of Roumania is guaranteed a place on my reads of the year. Oct 04, Jenn rated it it was ok Shelves: fantasy , creepy-spooky-goosebumps , people-be-crazy , magic-occult-witches , sci-fi , alternate-reality , why-did-i-torture-myself.

I cannot for the life of me tell you what was really going on. I remember and understood bits and pieces and from those, I liked the premise. The plot was just too confusing to really get a sense of what everyone was doing and what their motives were. The story is about a girl who was sent to another dimension to be raised because she was the daughter of royalty that was supposedly killed. Her dimension is one where Roumania is basically all of Europe. She's a weak person. She's put into situations where I'd punch someone but her reaction is to plaster herself against a wall.

It gets annoying. People want to kill you; you kill them first. There's the loyal servant guy that was actually her friend from the alternate diemnstion but his body is changed and is accompanying her to wherever she's going that's really cryptic and creepy. There's her friend from the alternate dimension who gets turned into a dog by entering her true dimension. It all sounds great but ends up being really muddled. I don't know if it's the author's intent to make you distrust everyone but books like those aren't my scene.

The book over all is dark and a little depressing which by itself or maybe paired with a more thought out style would just contribute atmosphere. Like the book is actually written though, it just makes you really want to put it down and not pick it back up. It's supposed to be cerebral in some ways and does kind of come across when talking about the cliche evil woman and her machinations. It gets into the theory behind how she's able to do some of the magic she does.

But I think it tries to operate on a higher level than your average book but doesn't make it. Dec 10, Sam Kabo Ashwell rated it liked it. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This owes so much to His Dark Materials that it's hard to assess separately. To a great extent it's less satisfying; the characters are less rich, the picturesque, significance-laden artifacts are less significant, the teenage protagonists more generic. The alternate-world Romania features mostly as a variation on Ruritania; there are snatches of culture and language but they never really begin to cohere into a strong setting.

The plot moves at a jerk-and-juxtapose, tumbling, pay-attention-or-you This owes so much to His Dark Materials that it's hard to assess separately. Which it turns out to be, by the final pages. The main triumph of this book is the ambiguous villain Baroness Ceausescu: ruthless but guilt-ridden, resourceful but barely hanging on, a schemer who doesn't know where her schemes are going next.

She's a great deal more interesting and attractive than the protagonist Miranda, who is largely a blank. There is a lack of compelling characters in general, which is a failing, because it plainly wants to have a broad and appealing cast. The other thing is that nobody in the book ever seems to really talk ; all conversations are shuttered down, bare-bones, a great deal is never said for no real reason.

It's quite frustrating, because the book that this wants to be is perceptible, and it's a pretty good book; a delicate web of metamorphoses and poetic motifs, sorceries and descents into the underworld and spirit animals, nastiness and bitter compromise, wendigos and mammoths. But it doesn't come out that way; the elements are all there, but they aren't deeply interwoven enough.

Nov 09, Kate rated it it was amazing Shelves: fiction , fantasy , historical-fiction , international-interest , speculative , adventure , alternate-history. I would actually give this a 4. It's one of those books where you can't tell until the end how good it's going to be. The basic premise is that the world we live in was actually an elaborate construct used to hide a princess from the people who wanted to capture or kill her.

In the "real world," magic works. The I would actually give this a 4. The book actually reminds me more of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy: parallel worlds, spirit animals, alchemy and some very dangerous magic. That's not to say it's derivative; the story is very original. What I liked most was the depth of the characters. Most of them are fully fleshed out and have very believable motivations. For the first half of the book I was rooting for the villainous Baroness Ceausescu much more than for the heroine, Miranda, who starts out a bit insipid.