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Sherwood Smith began her publishing career in 1986, writing mostly for young adults and children. To date she’s published over thirty books. The latest was Treason’s Shore, last of the four-book Inda series, with Coronets and Steel scheduled for September 2010. She also writes for young adults, her most popular book being Crown Duel, from Firebirds—the e-book edition of its prequel, Stranger to Command, will be her first offering through Book View Cafe. She’s also written short fiction, and collaborated with several authors, including the Grand Master Andre Norton. One of her books was an Anne Lindbergh Honor Book; she’s twice been a finalist for the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award and once a Nebula finalist. Some of her stories have been reprinted in “best of” anthologies, and her work has been translated into numerous languages.
Sherwood Smith was a teacher for twenty years, working with children from second grade to high school. She specialized in literature, history, and drama. She still does writing workshops at schools, and freelances for Publishers Weekly.
on Feb. 27, 2016 :
4.5 stars, but as usual rounding up.
This book was exactly what I have been looking for lately. I stumbled upon it via RED Book Review (which you can read here: http://redbookreviews.blogspot.com/2012/03/posse-of-princesses.html ) and thought it sounded like a light read and was very happy to discover it available on Smashwords.
This book was a light, quick read with depth. The setting seems to be some strange Indo-European continent (which looks a bit like Spain) during a time that is a feudal 18th century: a little too "concrete" to be considered fairy tale but still has that timeless quality that you find in well-adapted myths and fairy tales. Ms. Smith does not go into detail with politics and intrigue but gives you enough to peek beneath the surface of the main story. The tale is character driven and plays a little with the usual romance / fantasy tropes. If you have read and enjoyed this type of novel (or have read Shakespeare and fairy tales) you'll probably discover the first "twist" long before the main character but enjoy watching her reaction to it during the reveal. Rhis makes for a believable sixteen-year-old. There is a another "twist" that has been set up since the first chapter but nevertheless was an enjoyable little surprise--I was not expecting it to twist the way it did--that made me pleased as punch and made a character that we see for only a few pages at the end of the book one of my favorites. Well done.
I did see several typos and misspellings, but not enough to detract from the overall story. Ms. Smith made a valiant attempt to portray diversity, but it did not dovetail well with how the world operates, for instance: she describes a mountainous person as dark-skinned but a islander from the south as pale-skinned, which does not make sense given the climate of the regions (which she takes the time to describe). My sister, who has also read the book, did not believe the book lived up to the synopsis: she expected more adventure to happen with the capture and rescue of the "perfect princess." While that did not detract from the story as much for me, it did make me wonder when it took so long to happen. Finally, I, personally, am very tired of "the beautiful woman is the viper woman" trope that I see all over the place. While Ms. Smith actually handles this quite well and does strive to undermine it, in the end she enforces it.
Over all a good read suitable for anyone from a middle school aged child to an adult who enjoys a character driven, fairy tale-esque book.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on Sep. 25, 2010 :
This was as lovely as I remembered (the ebook has one or two spelling mistakes, but that's it) - I think it's a believable portrayal of a naive princess who hasn't found an outlet for her interests at home but has lots of potential and now finds herself at a house party which opens up the whole world to her.
The growth from silent and love-struck observer to mediator and confidante is believable, even though she is 16. And so the drama she gets into and her angst at having to forego seeing her love for five years is totally believable.
I wish there had been 200 more pages dealing with her growing up in the meantime and her experiences in detail (this is where I'm really thankful that Sherwood Smith wrote Vidanric's education in A Stranger to Command, it makes Crown Duel so much more multi-layered for me), but I was satisfied with what I got.
Just a lovely adventure and romance and coming-of-age.
(reviewed 16 days after purchase)