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He Is A Prince, Heir To A Kingdom Threatened On All Sides, Possessor Of The Animal Magic, Which Is Forbidden By Death In The Land He Ll RuleShe Is A Princess From A Rival Kingdom, The Daughter Her Father Never Wanted, Isolated From True Human Friendship But Inseparable From Her HoundThough They Think They Have Little In Common, Each Possesses A Secret That Must Be Hidden At All Costs Proud, Stubborn, Bound To Marry For The Good Of Their Kingdoms, This Prince And Princess Will Steal Your Heart, But Will They Fall In Love I kept waiting and wanting to fall in love with this book It had such potential, but I ve got to saymuch of it just didn t make sense and I was weirded out by the rest of it And you know what Heartbroken or not, people can t just murder in revenge and then fall right into favor again That bugged me.Now, I checked the spoiler box because this next part is indeed, a spoilerbut OH MY GOSH He actually decided that his people would have to accept a DOG as his choice of bride if she didn t change back ISN T THAT A LITTLE WEIRD Ms Harrison was brave to write a story like this Most fairy tale stories take away the weirdness, but oh no this one keeps it intact, which most of the time does not work but I think it does in this case I d like to debunk something in this review and say this is not a retelling of Beauty and the Beast While I can see why they have classified it as such, but do not go in thinking this is the case because it will probably disappoint All right now for a quick rundown of what it s about Prince George is going to be the future king of the kingdom Animal magic is something that is forbidden in this kingdom, but guess who has that gift Yup George, who is hiding his animal magic at all cost Now we have the other characters Princess Beatrice and the hound that will never leave her side George and Beatrice have been arranged to get married, but of course there is a caveat There is something holding Beatrice back other than that they don t exactly get along and George must figure out what it is Now, it isn t all laid out for him that easily He has his own suspicions, and Beatrice is unlike any other young woman he has met She is fierce, unforgiving, and doesn t have a flowery countenance, but there is something off about her George will have to use the animal magic he has suppressed all this time to help her, and even help and be true to who he really is.The strength of the story at least in my opinion was George You see so much development in him We hear his voice from growing up as an uncertain little boy to the strong young man he has become He is actually the main character of the story, and he is a key player in helping the princess and the hound The plot takes it time to get to the meat of the tale I could feel the darkness, creepiness, and intriguing story being weaved around me I think why I responded so positively to this story compared to other readers is because it was such a refreshing new style I hadn t encountered before My one complaint is how things were wrapped up it felt fast compared to the beginning of the novel and could have done with a bit build up Be forewarned this story will not be an instant favorite for everyone but if you are willing to give it time and allow the tale seep into you it might find yourself, like me, enthralled into the magic. Despite the cover and title , the princess and her hound are not the main characters in this story The narrative centers instead on a boy named George Prince George, to be exact And Prince George possesses a pack of problems His mother died when he was young, leaving him alone in the world with no siblings to share his grief and a father who knows how to rule a kingdom but understands nothing of how to be a father On top of which, George has the dubious gift of animal magic He can speak their language and feels most comfortable out in the wild, conversing with the animals, than around humans Trouble is, animal magic is feared and loathed far and wide in George s world and he quickly determines he must keep his talent a secret if he wishes to live long enough to inherit the throne.When it comes time for George to do his princely duty and marry to preserve the kingdom, he goes forth to meet his betrothed with a strong sense of duty, if not alacrity, for the task at hand The Princess Beatrice proves to be a particularly fierce young woman whose life has been as bleak as George s own and who has a few painful secrets of her own to guard, as well as a hound she refuses to be separated from It s clear to the reader from the moment these two meet that they need each other desperately and would do well to stick together, that is if either of them could see past their own troubles long enough to recognize what s standing right in front of them Beatrice, however, shows even less interest in the match than George, and the two of them are rarely ever in the same room together long enough to go about the business of getting to know each other And marriage negotiations aside, there is a truly creepy mystery running throughout the book, to do with a potentially mad doctor moving from kingdom to kingdom bent on revenge.Yep, it s a recipe for success And it succeedsfor the most part I liked the dark, creepy feel that pervaded the majority of the story This is not a gentle fairy tale, by any means Characters such as Beatrice s father and the mysterious doctor brought to mind the evil Cabbarus of Westmark fame never a bad thing , and I liked George s journey from frightened boy to capable ruler There were a few very poignant scenes, particularly between George and his father, that struck me I even liked Beatrice, despite how off putting and seemingly lacking in all emotion she was throughout the book The problem was in the unrealized potential between these two characters who needed each other so badly Yes, I realize Beatrice s secret made realization a bit difficult on the whole but, when it finally did come out, things wrapped up rather quickly and I couldn t quite buy into the abrupt shift I felt like they needed time to cement things between them And, I will admit, the ramifications of the revelation proved a bit too bizarre even for me to stomach On the whole, The Princess and the Hound was a complicated and intriguing tale which I felt need a little refining to smooth out the bumps and cracks along the way. Look out, people who like this book, because I have venom to spew at it This book gets one lousy star for being good enough to want to finish the story, but bad enough that one star is almost too much Let me put it this way I was INCREDIBLY disappointed with this book Why Because it had SO much potential I had begun to care about the characters and was very intrigued for a long time The story is actually told from the perspective of the Prince and, in my opinion, should have a title with regards to him His name is George and he has this thing called Animal Magic which means he can talk to animals and even feel hear their thoughts The author didn t have me convinced for one minute why this animal magic is hated and feared by the kingdom s people The only examples she gives is of a wild man using his powers against a hunter King in the beginning prologue, and then once when these farmers are mad at this guy who has it because his crops survived pestilence and bad weather and theirs did not Sorry, but that s LAME I mean, people in this story get burned at the stake for having the dreaded animal magic and even though I ve finished the book I m still asking why That aside, it was supposed to be a love story I say, HA NOT romantic A wet dishtowel is romantic than this story Yes, I was THAT angry at what she did with the potential In fact, I am absolutely appalled that a WOMAN wrote this story I m wondering if she has any sense at all for what the elements are of a truly good romance This story is a fairytale, and she says in the bio at the end of the book that she always wanted to write a romance, but it wasn t until I came up upon the idea of two characters who needed each other as desperately as these two that I felt I could do justice to the tradition I m sorry, but I wasn t convinced at all that these two characters needed each other Yeah, in theory they did, but in what I call reader reality it just wasn t there I wasn t feelin it The fairytale magic aspect is what I think propelled the potential, but she ruined it And because I want to explain my reasoning, I will have to spoil the story a bit For those of you who trust my taste, read on, because I m absolutely certain that you won t wanna waste your time with this one.Prince George has had animal magic all his life He got it from his mother who died when he was only seven was never close to his father, the king always afraid of people finding out that he has it because, like I said, people who have animal magic are burned at the stake When he s, oh 17 or something, his dad s health is failing and he is betrothed to the princess Beatrice from a rival kingdom Because of his life of duty and secrecy about his gift, he is very unemotional about the whole romance marriage issue and doesn t care who he marries So when he meets this princess and becomes intrigued with her you start thinking, as the reader, that maybe things are going to get interesting But here s the first problem Princess Beatrice is weird She s a stone faced, unemotional, rude, strong, quiet, B HA Literally I will explain Btw, that word is used a lot in this book Not in the bad sense, but, y know, fyi She also has a pet hound named Marit that is always with her and the hound is very mysterious George is very kind to her and her dog and is intrigued partly because it s obvious that the men in her life have always treated her like dirt She is also quite beautiful, smart, blah, blah, blah So you re thinking, oooh, potential for people who really do need each other romance he s gonna save her from her crappy life etc Nope No such luck First off, she treats George just about as well as she treats everyone else, i.e rudely Nothing changes that Secondly, you start losing your faith in George because he keeps thinking about what a failure he is Sure, he does some cool stuff and you love that he s unconditionally kind to the princess, but when the main character keeps whining about his inadequacies you start believing him I held on till the end, though I really did I ve seen authors pull this kind of thing off before, but this one lets you down BIG time So here s the big spoiler Beatrice s soul her mind and thoughts have magically been transferred into her hound s body So she is actually the dog and the DOG s mind is in the princess s body Which explains why the princess is so rude all the time to everybody When I first read this I was genuinely surprised Didn t expect that But almost immediately after you find that out, the Prince basically declares that he s in love with her i.e the DOG In a scene soon afterwards, he takes the dog by the face and tells it I love you Lame, lame, LAME Kind of hilarious actually He CAN T be in love with her, he doesn t KNOW HER AT ALL Yeah, not buyin it Sure, he dream shared with her a bit before he knew that her mind was in the dog s body, but everything in the dreams were childhood memories So he s in love with a little girl No, no, no THEN, the princess with the hound s mind SHE falls in love with a bear that was once a man Yeah Again, NOT buyin it LAME O And to make a long story short, the prophecy has come to pass where a woman will love an animal and an animal will love a man What Oh, and then Prince George decides to be really cool and brave and declare to his people that he has animal magic Do they burn him at the stake Nope Why I don t know Frankly it doesn t make sense Most of the people are even cool about it and just accept it What Yeah Then the prince arranged for a school to start taking place in his castle that teaches people about animal magic George has used his animal magic to change Beatrice and her dog back into their bodies and he and the princess, Whom he STILL calls Marit, btw yeah, ew are getting to know each other and it s supposed to be really I dunno sweet or something It s all lame I can t say that enough And do you know what the first thing is that Beatrice says after she s back in her body and holding hands with George What have you done She s mad because he took her hound away from her because the hound is now staying in a cave with it s new love, the bear man So her hound was important to her than her true love How is that romantic AAaaaaarrrggghhhh Gosh I HATED this story It s was such an insult to anyone s intelligence NOT BUYIN IT George was lame, Beatrice the REAL Beatrice, i.e Marit was ok, but there just isn t any convincing love between her and George Towards the end maybe But even then you re just too mad that things happened the way they did I can t believe there are sequels to this The one called The Princess and the Bear is about the dog and her bear man lover Not reading that lemme tell ya I would also like to mention that this book brings a bit of bestiality to mind Not unsubtly All I can say about that is EEEEEEEWWWWWWWWW