Happily ever after is a thing of the past. A series of natural disasters has decimated the earth. Cut off from the rest of the world, England is a dark place. The sun rarely shines, food is scarce, and groups of criminals roam the woods, searching for prey. The people are growing restless. When a ruthless revolutionary sets out to overthrow the crown, he makes the royal family his first target. Blood is shed in Buckingham Palace, and only sixteen-year-old Princess Eliza manages to escape. Determined to kill the man who destroyed her family, Eliza joins the enemy forces in disguise. She has nothing left to live for but revenge, until she meets someone who helps her remember how to hope—and to love—once more. Now she must risk everything to ensure that she not become... The Last Princess. ~From GoodReadsAlthough I read the synopsis, I didn't quite understand what THE LAST PRINCESS was actually about. I honestly thought it was a fantasy, though I have no idea why. I'm not a strong fan of fantasy books, but I wanted to read the story nonetheless. And was pleasantly surprised when I realized THE LAST PRINCESS is this girl's survival in a post-apocalyptic world.
The verdict? I am really glad I gave THE LAST PRINCESS a shot. I am in love with the premise. I have always had love for all things English. My ancestry is strongly rooted in England (Wordsworth, yo!), and I have always been fascinated with the royal family. So when I realized that the main character Eliza is actually a future member of the Windsor family(with references to Queen Elizabeth and Princesses Diana and Kate), I was sold.
In the future the world is nearly destroyed by what is referred to as "The Seventeen Days". During The Seventeen Days, the world is ravaged by tsunamis, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions. The eruptions blocked the sun and covered the earth with ash. Virtually all plants and animals were wiped out. This of course causes a food shortage, basically all technology is brought to a halt. England is cut off from the rest of the world, they have no way of knowing if there are survivors in other countries. So, naturally, when you have starving citizens and a king who remains oblivious, you almost certainly end up with a revolution. But this revolution is headed up by an evil, power-hungry psychopath. After Eliza narrowly manages to escape capture and certain death, she is set on a journey to save herself, her family, and her country.
Eliza's struggles were gripping. The author most certainly did not let her have the easy way out of the situations Eliza faced. I admired her struggle to continue ahead, no matter how frightened or injured she was. The story had many heartbreaking moments, I was shocked by the brutality of this scary new world. There were some insanely intense moments at the end. I'm fairly sure I held my breath for a full minute at one point. But ultimately, it was triumphant, complete with Eliza's very own "Braveheart" moment when she rallied the Resistance.
The story seemed to pulled together and end nicely. I loved where it was headed and could have left it as a stand-alone. But I knew that a second book was planned for 2013, so I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. And although I would have been happy with the ending, I have to admit the setup for the next book was neat.
"His skin smelled sweet and fresh, like water. I closed my eyes, pretending for a moment that this could last, that we could always be like this, together in the warmth of this tiny cottage in the middle of a poisoned forest." (pg. 158)
Published May 1st 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Source: Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.