- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Chicken House Ltd (1 Jan. 2015)
- ISBN-10: 1910002097
- ISBN-13: 978-1910002094
- Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2 x 19.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 27,271 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Wolf Princess Paperback – 1 Jan 2015
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Top Customer Reviews
Put on the wrong train, the girls end up at the palace of the compelling Princess Anna Feodorovna Volkonskaya - the Wolf Princess. Sophie, feeling more at home than she's ever felt, learns about the Volkonsky family, killed during the 1917 revolution, and is drawn into the mystery of the lost Volkonsky diamonds.
I think 8-12 year-old readers will find this most satisfying - it's a sweet, uncomplicated story of an orphan finding her place in the world, and of friendships between seemingly mismatched people: Sophie and her two roommates Marianne and Delphine in London, as well as the mysterious Dmitri and Masha in the Volkonsky palace in Russia.
**Mild Spoilers Ahead**
Most readers will be able to guess the 'mystery' out straight away, and in view of that, I feel like the author shouldn't have dragged the reveal out to the very end, because it only made me frustrated with Sophie for being so obtuse. Even though logic makes that seem like a sensible line, storytelling demands Sophie work it out close to the same pace as the reader. I also felt the characterisation was a bit two-dimensional: Constable played with contrasts that usually work well, but didn't add enough nuance or sympathy to really make the story come together and work for me at an emotional or story-level. There were hints and flashes of better, particularly in the telling of the Volkonsky history, and if she can bring the same level of workmanship to the rest of her writing, then I hope her future books will really be magical.
The story sees orphan Sophie Smith at a boarding school with her two mates, the clever Marianne, and the fashion-conscious Delphine. Sophie dreams of Russia, "a land of palaces and poetry", of winter forests and of her late dad.
Lo-and-behold she, and her two friends, get picked to go on a school trip to Russia where they are dispatched onto a train, thrown off at a deserted train station, before they are taken to the dilapidated Volkonsky Winter Palace, "a diamond in the snow, a palace of dreams, so remote it has been forgotten with the noble Volkonskys erased from the history books.". Here she meets the Princess, who is not all she seems with her "sudden flames of anger, the cold grey eyes that had looked so calculating."
Things in the novel don't really take off though until about two thirds in when General Grigor arrives seeking his investment back from the Princess who was meant to find the Volkonsky diamonds.
To get the Russian atmosphere in the book a few Russian words are thrown in (e.g. nyet, babushka), although all the characters, including the Russian children servants, speak English. There are also some wolves and lots of snow, talk of the Russian Revolution and the Tsars.
There is a little bit of magic in there too with vozoks, a "midnight picnic on a frozen lake" and "skating by twilight" but the book was quite predictable and average for me.
The Wolf Princess is a very nice children's story. The characters are lovable and the settings evocative. It moves along at a very good pace and whilst the plot is a bit predictable, it unfolds in a way which is very well done. Well worth a read.
There are scenes that make you think and scenes that make you wonder; scenes that make you fear for Sophie and scenes that make you cheer her on. And the magical story is, from time to time, brought back to reality by the humour, real friendship and occasional rivalry between the three utterly believable ordinary schoolgirls who find themselves in an extraordinary world.
I am far older than the readers this book has been written for, but it is testament to Constable's imagination that her story caught my imagination and held my attention. I only wish I were ten because when I was it took me days to return to the ordinary world from the world of a book as good as this one.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a lovely story full of magical moments full of hope the main character is Sophie Smith a orphan girl from England she dreams of being someone special. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Valerie Bartlett
This may be classed as a children's book, but adults can enjoy it too! A young schoolgirl and her friends go on an exchange visit to Russia and enter a world of fantasy and... Read morePublished 10 months ago by L. A. Scott
I had high hopes of this as a present for my grand-daughter but, in the event, I felt the book was so badly written that I didn't give it to her. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Goldilocks
My daughter read this in Year 6 and adored it. She was never much of a reader before but it opened her up to the joys of reading & she now reads anything in sight! Read morePublished 16 months ago by Cheekyboots
I thought it was an amazing book full of mystery which made you want to read more, I couldn't put it down!Published 19 months ago by Frances McMillan
My youngest daughter loves reading, and she has really enjoyed reading this book. There are not many pictures, but my daughter reports that the characters are well defined and... Read morePublished 22 months ago by McColey