Book Reviews of Princess Ben

Princess Ben
Princess Ben
Author: Catherine Gilbert Murdock
ISBN-13: 9780618959716
ISBN-10: 0618959718
Publication Date: 5/5/2008
Pages: 368
Edition: 1
Reading Level: Ages 4-8
Rating:
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 26

3.7 stars, based on 26 ratings
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

8 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Princess Ben on + 7145 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Reviewed by Lynn Crow for TeensReadToo.com

Fans of Catherine Gilbert Murdock's previous books, DAIRY QUEEN and its sequel, THE OFF SEASON, will be surprised and excited to discover that PRINCESS BEN is a tale in a completely different vein, yet equally enjoyable. This fantasy novel with fairy tale leanings is told by Princess Benevolence, who finds herself forced into becoming a "proper" princess after years of escaping the Queen's notice when the King is killed and his brother -- her father -- disappears.

At first Ben wants nothing more than to thwart Queen Sophia's every attempt to turn her into a lady, with the right manners and figure. She stumbles through dance classes, sneaks extra food whenever she can, and avoids all thought of her new position as heir to the throne. Locked during the night in a tower room, she finds a much more interesting way of passing the time when a secret passage leads her to a room of sorcery. Soon Ben is spending all her time learning spells, and half-sleeping through her days of lessons.

Ben's newfound contentment is disrupted when the threat of war looms. Thrown out into the world by the magical forces she still cannot completely control, she learns that there is some use for the skills the Queen tried to teach her after all. It will take all of her courage and determination to survive this challenge and become a true ruler.

Ben is a spirited narrator, and readers will love every minute they spend with her, from her somewhat spoiled beginnings to her later maturity. The story has enough twists to keep readers on their toes, and nothing and no one is quite what they first seem. The romance feels a little rushed, but it isn't the focus of the novel. This is really a story about a girl growing up and coming into her own in a strange and difficult world, and it will touch readers of all ages and situations.
reviewed Princess Ben on + 54 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I found "Princess Ben" to be a surprisingly, light, easy read (even considering the fact that it is a YA novel) given the heft of the book.

The tells the story of the coming of age of a spoiled princess in the process drawing from, and paying glancing homage to, may common fairy tales. The plot is straight forward and the morals spelled out. As an adult reader I was not particularly drawn to the book, but it would be a good book for those in the younger part of the YA spectrum.
reviewed Princess Ben on + 7145 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Reviewed by Lynn Crow for TeensReadToo.com

Fans of Catherine Gilbert Murdock's previous books, DAIRY QUEEN and its sequel, THE OFF SEASON, will be surprised and excited to discover that PRINCESS BEN is a tale in a completely different vein, yet equally enjoyable. This fantasy novel with fairy tale leanings is told by Princess Benevolence, who finds herself forced into becoming a "proper" princess after years of escaping the Queen's notice when the King is killed and his brother -- her father -- disappears.

At first Ben wants nothing more than to thwart Queen Sophia's every attempt to turn her into a lady, with the right manners and figure. She stumbles through dance classes, sneaks extra food whenever she can, and avoids all thought of her new position as heir to the throne. Locked during the night in a tower room, she finds a much more interesting way of passing the time when a secret passage leads her to a room of sorcery. Soon Ben is spending all her time learning spells, and half-sleeping through her days of lessons.

Ben's newfound contentment is disrupted when the threat of war looms. Thrown out into the world by the magical forces she still cannot completely control, she learns that there is some use for the skills the Queen tried to teach her after all. It will take all of her courage and determination to survive this challenge and become a true ruler.

Ben is a spirited narrator, and readers will love every minute they spend with her, from her somewhat spoiled beginnings to her later maturity. The story has enough twists to keep readers on their toes, and nothing and no one is quite what they first seem. The romance feels a little rushed, but it isn't the focus of the novel. This is really a story about a girl growing up and coming into her own in a strange and difficult world, and it will touch readers of all ages and situations.
reviewed Princess Ben on + 2292 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This was a cute book and a fast read. I actually listened to it on audio book and the audio book was well done.

Princess Benevolence is not you typical princess; she is not beautiful and she wants nothing to do with being a princess. When her parents are killed on a journey she is left alone with only the dreaded Queen as her teacher and guardian. Every time Ben thinks she reached the lowest low in her life things get worse; that is until she stumbles upon a magic room that leads her into an amazing adventure.

More than anything this book is about growing up. Ben is definitely not a likable character in the beginning on the book. There are a number of times when I think she deserved what the Queen dealt out; Ben is selfish and whiny. I kind of wish that a bit less of the book had been spent developing Ben's unsavory character. About a third of the book deals with Ben as she is forced to take on princess responsibilities that she detests. I would have been happier if Ben's character had been established quicker and we had moved on to more interesting parts of the story sooner.

After the first third or so the story picks up the pace. This story is a coming of age story clear and simple. It is not a complicated story and is an appropriate story for children and young adults; I enjoyed the story too. It was nice to read a good story that spans a large age group.

Although not the most wonderful or intricate story; this story is a cute twist on your classic princess and dragon fairy tales. It is simple and sweet story that doesn't tax your brain but still teaches some important life lessons. It was a fun read as Princess Ben has a dry sense of humor people should enjoy. I also enjoyed how Murdock wove some elements from classic fairy tales we all know and love into the story.

I would recommend this book and I look forward to more books by Murdock. If you like fairy tales and stories about princesses; this is the book for you. This isn't a life-changing story but it is a light and enjoyable read that has a good message in it.
reviewed Princess Ben on + 157 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
irst off, I must share my favorite line(s) from this book that sent me into fits of giggles:

With that, I hurled the slipper at him, not caring if I caused his decapitation. (I did not.) Marshaling what little dignity I yet possessed, I stomped down the corridor -- challenging indeed with one shoe -- and around the corner. I lay awake for hours. The prince had no right, not one, to indict me so, and if I had held the slightest hope of the book's assistance, I would have climbed at once to my wizard room for a spell with which to punish him. Death, perhaps, or humiliation. A croaking frog would be nice, particularly a frog that retained Florian's dark eyes. I should keep it in a box and poke it occasionally with a stick; that would be satisfying indeed.

Princess Ben is one of the most well thought-out and intellectually relevant books that I have ever read in today's time! Princess Benevolent has quite a year and must learn how to live up to her name. I earnestly can see where a reader can grow along with Ben, learning some difficult lessons that we especially today wish to ignore. Through this book I can see many a young, teenager, or older girl grow more into herself and what she will someday be. I feel like I learned somethings about myself through this book. All around a fabulous story, with twisting plots and turns I did not expect. The first section was a little droll, and I was waiting for excitement. Well the excitement came! and that build-up had been proper and necessary. I strongly encourage anyone to read this book. Buy it for your tween and teenage gals and let them go on the adventure. Goodness me, go on it yourself!
reviewed Princess Ben on + 644 more book reviews
The writing is all over. Ideas are not finished or are cut off. The whole magic thing in the book does not lead anywhere, and does little for the story. The ehmmmm 'heroine' an 15 year old heir to throne has no education at all besides very basic skill in writing, and is super spoiled, selfish and has the temperament of a 5 year old. The prince next door is 'same age or a little older' and has much the same character. So does his father, and anyone else is mean, or intent on making the poor princess suffer. The queen is a really 'nasty, mean beast' to her and starves her with balanced meals and sized portions. Heroin's idea of a meal is to as she puts it 'to pig out'.

SPOILER ALERT!!!

Ben is self indulgent, spoiled, brat with over eating problem, who finds magic book and learns 4 spells, water, fire, air, and to make sleeping copy of her self. After which the book closes and never opens again (what was the point of the magic lessons?). She throws tepetatrums, runs away, is caught by oposing kingdom troops, where she insults everyone (a specially the prince) as she is used to from home, and is sentanced to death. She runs away, back home & merges with the sleeping copy of her self and resumes insulting everyone. When she learns that she is not considered a decent princess to claim the throne and the next door kingdom asks for peaceful sucsession to a better suited heir... theirs ofcourse, she makes 190 degree change and becomes model to princedom (Seriously ???). The 'twist' is that there is a dragon on the mountain who eate her parents, and will try to eat her and the next door prince while they are out riding, She kills the dragon and the prince dies of poisoned dragon bite. She kisses him and he wakes up. King next door marries the widowed queen regent and they move to a small cottage on the mythical mountain while the 15year old princess and her (not much older) princ charming take over the 2 kingdoms. (Seriously???)


If you want a decent re-telling go for: The swan kingdom which was well done. Story has a point and you will not find any unexplained, dead end, unusable, hanging out there passages. And all the characters even the bad ones are well depicted and rather likable.
reviewed Princess Ben on + 2292 more book reviews
This was a cute book and a fast read. I actually listened to it on audio book and the audio book was well done.

Princess Benevolence is not you typical princess; she is not beautiful and she wants nothing to do with being a princess. When her parents are killed on a journey she is left alone with only the dreaded Queen as her teacher and guardian. Every time Ben thinks she reached the lowest low in her life things get worse; that is until she stumbles upon a magic room that leads her into an amazing adventure.

More than anything this book is about growing up. Ben is definitely not a likable character in the beginning on the book. There are a number of times when I think she deserved what the Queen dealt out; Ben is selfish and whiny. I kind of wish that a bit less of the book had been spent developing Ben's unsavory character. About a third of the book deals with Ben as she is forced to take on princess responsibilities that she detests. I would have been happier if Ben's character had been established quicker and we had moved on to more interesting parts of the story sooner.

After the first third or so the story picks up the pace. This story is a coming of age story clear and simple. It is not a complicated story and is an appropriate story for children and young adults; I enjoyed the story too. It was nice to read a good story that spans a large age group.

Although not the most wonderful or intricate story; this story is a cute twist on your classic princess and dragon fairy tales. It is simple and sweet story that doesn't tax your brain but still teaches some important life lessons. It was a fun read as Princess Ben has a dry sense of humor people should enjoy. I also enjoyed how Murdock wove some elements from classic fairy tales we all know and love into the story.

I would recommend this book and I look forward to more books by Murdock. If you like fairy tales and stories about princesses; this is the book for you. This isn't a life-changing story but it is a light and enjoyable read that has a good message in it.
reviewed Princess Ben on + 141 more book reviews
Reviewed by Bibliophile's Bestiary Blog at bibliophile-bestiary.blogspot.com/

What a cute book! Princess Ben, short for Benevolence, is the daughter of the king's brother. One fateful day, she loses both her parents and finds herself in the care of the Queen, also recently widowed. She is being forced to become a proper young lady of her rank, and really, really doesn't want to!

Locked in a tower chamber, she finds a secret room and a family power she never knew about. Ben studies and perfects the art of her magic, until one day a spell goes array and she finds herself far from her home. She suffers greatly and learns many important things about the neighboring kingdom and herself.

Upon returning to the castle, she throws herself into becoming the Princess she was born to be. With this comes the never intended thought of love filling her heart.

A great read and I loved the references to so many fairy tales.