Once Upon a Prince (Book Review)

16164030“It’s amazing what we can see when we take the time to look.” (Hauck 87)

Once Upon a Prince is a new romance novel by Rachel Hauck; it puts most other love stories to shame by bearing a wonderful, gripping, and realistic (well, mostly) tale of love without any raunchyness found in many others. To begin, this love story starts with the ending of a relationship. It starts with Susanna Truitt being told by her boyfriend of twelve years–yes, you read right–that he had found someone else and they both were more in love with the idea of them, than the actual relationship. Unlike most other cliche stories where the story starts with a meeting of two people, this one has truth to it: the fact that relationships do end, quite often too. Susanna copes, looking to prayer to help her through this difficult time. Then she meets Nathaniel. No, they don’t fall for each other instantly. Nope. They become good friends, little does Susanna know he is a prince–of a kingdom in Europe–on his last vacation before becoming king. Well, she eventually finds out. Nathanial teaches through his words and actions what a true loving relationship should be about and emanates chivalry by saying heartfelt things like, “A girl in love has a right to believe her man would lay down his life for her.” (Hauck 97)

The story continues, and feelings eventually develop (as they should in a love story), the full truth of Nathaniel comes out, and he brings up an obstacle that would prevent a marriage between them: a marriage act set in place to prevent the prince/king from marrying a foreigner, not to mention the cruel, lying media is pushing the king to marry a specific lady of royal blood. But, I won’t spoil the ending.

But, seriously, this novel is an enjoyable breeze to read through. I read it in a couple days. Do not judge this book by the slightly questionable cover (is she even wearing clothes?) because it’s far better. It proves that love stories do not have to be invested with raunchiness to be good. For ages, I’d say 12 and up, but probably more enjoyable for 15 and up. Really though, pretty much anyone (mostly girls though) would enjoy this charming novel. I know summer’s almost over, but if in need for a summer chick-lit, I suggest this one.

Don Quixote: Define Insane (Book Review)

quixote-picasso-lg_1Disclaimer: *Spoilers

“for there is no book so bad, as not to have something that’s good in it” (Cervantes)

Yeah, I’ve been putting this review off and I also couldn’t think of any proper way to write this review without mentioning the ending; it could have been done, but it would have been boring because although this exiting classic has many, many, great lessons in it, the ending completely changed the way I though of it.

When reading a book I, along with many other readers, often have trouble not emphasizing with the main character, which is usually the author’s main intent. In this story–one of the world’s first modern novels– written by Miguel de Cervantes (originally in Spanish), the reader follows a “mad” or “crazy” Don Quixote (his made-up knight name) on his knight-errantic adventures: “Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.” (Cervantes) We “know” he lacks sanity by his unexplainable actions: claiming inns are castles, hiring a simple farmer (named Sancho) to be his squire, claiming various things are enchanted, etc. (though there is some debate to whether Quixote was faking his insaneness or truly believed in his endeavors). We feel sympathy for him because we consider him to be naïve: he doesn’t know any better. But at the same time I think to myself, what makes him any less sane than anyone else? If anything he should be more sane for not letting any obstacle get in his way of protecting valiance.

Along Quixote and Sancho’s humorous journeys, Quixote eventually bribes his loyal “squire” with government of an isle–one he doesn’t even own–which I believe Sancho deserves, but is never exactly given to him by Quixote. Instead, later on in the book, Don Quixote literally whips his sleeping, loyal servant for the purpose of freeing his “love”, Dulcinea, from an (imagined) enchantment; Quixote was tricked into thinking Merlin himself prescribed the antidote of lashings. Though, Dulcinea is actually just an average peasant. Personally, through the majority of the story I empathized with Quixote more than I did with Sancho because Quixote’s goal is to live his life with chivalry–a cause rarely seen these days–while Sancho acts as his silly follow along, that is, until the end of the book.
Having just lost a joust against another, Quixote solemnly renounces his knighthood as he had promised he would if he lost–on top of his pride being wounded. Then, going with Sancho back to his town, he falls ill. In his near death illness he claims his insanity has cleared and he now sees he was wrong. He has renounced all that he had been living for, looking down on the values he once held high. Meanwhile, Sancho still holds onto and tries to restore his master’s faith of his earlier beliefs.

Now, after going though 1000 pages of his adventures in pursuit of constant gallantry, I’m thinking WHHHAAAAT? How could you possibly think this? How could you possibly look down upon your ideals? Unless of course, he truly is insane. Maybe the author’s purpose is to indirectly ask us what we think about Quixote’s ideals. Whether or not Cervantes meant for that to be the meaning, I think the meaning is to ask ourselves this: do we want to aimlessly go along and conform to what society tells us is normal or “sane”, or do we want to strongly fight against that, and stand for our values, even if people think we are crazy?

“They (stories of knight-errantry) are already going down, and I do not doubt but they will drop and fall altogether in good earnest, never to rise again.” (Cervantes)

Final Thoughts: All together it was an amazing–but slightly tedious–novel. It’s one you shouldn’t read with a sleepy brain, though it’s definitely a read that will make you laugh loudly at times, and make you reflect upon yourself and your actions.