The Wolf Princess – Cathryn Constable
Publisher: Chicken House
Release Date: 4th October 2012
Edition: UK paperback, unsolicited review copy
Alone in the world, Sophie dreams of being someone special. But she could never have imagined this...
On a school trip to Russia, Sophie and her two friends find themselves abandoned on a train. They are rescued by the glamorous Princess Anna Volkonskaya, who takes them to her winter palace and mesmerises them with stories of lost diamonds and a tragic past.
But as night falls and wolves prowl, Sophie discovers more than dreams in the crumbling palace of secrets...
The Wolf Princess is a magical, gripping and intriguing debut from Cathryn Constable.
This novel has made me desperate to go to Russia. It seemed like an utterly magical place. Piles and piles of thick, soft snow, bitter cold and crumbling palaces next to forests filled with white wolves – I mean, what more could you want? You know what else captured me? The trains. I know, worrying isn’t it, but the trip that Sophie, Delphine and Marianne took through Russia on the sleeper train reminded me of The Polar Express and I just wanted to be there. I think that Cathryn Constable really captured the essence of Russia and I love how evocative the sometimes stilted English of the Princess and Dr Starova is, I heard their accents perfectly.
Russia to me is a mysterious country and that preconception perfectly fit the tension and atmosphere of The Wolf Princess. I never knew who to trust, who had Sophie’s best interests at heart or what on earth anyone was up to. I felt constantly unsettled and on the edge of my seat. Occasionally it did frustrate me that I couldn’t lay my allegiance with anyone bar Sophie, but on the most part I enjoyed the mystery.
Though I loved the setting and the mystery, Sophie was the highlight of The Wolf Princess for me. She is the perfect fantasy adventure heroine: an unloved orphan who is perfectly ordinary with only extraordinary best friends. Though I don’t think that Marianne and Delphine were explored enough. Marianne was quiet and so far in the background that writing this I’m not even sure if Marianne is actually her name and as for Delphine, I hated her. She’s selfish and spoilt and she just really rubbed me up the wrong way.
I really enjoyed The Wolf Princess, though it didn’t blow me away like I expected it to, and I’ll be interested to see what Cathryn Constable comes up with next.
For my 2012 Debut Author Challenge
Thank you to Chicken House for providing me with a review copy.