Anne Osterlund’s “Aurelia” was something I stumbled upon accidentally in the lost corners of the college bookstore. Hidden among the over-priced textbooks and baggy blue and orange sweatshirts lay one copy of this fabulous fantasy novel in the sale section.
Aurelia follows the tale of an eponymous princess who values her freedom only slightly more than she loves her people. She doesn’t want to be told where to be or who to marry. She wants to decide those things for herself. Unfortunately, being a princess doesn’t allow that freedom.
When Robert, one of Aurelia’s oldest friends, returns to court, it seems like the perfect opportunity to flaunt her father’s orders- — within reason. But, the attraction between the two of them is swiftly growing. Every romance has its glitch, and hers is a massive black carriage attempting to trample her to death.
Being a dead princess would put even more limits on her freedom, so when Aurelia discovers that the king has been hiding assassination attempts from her, she’s quite angry. When she finds out Robert was helping him, she nearly swears to never speak to him again. But she wants to know who’s going after her life more than she wants to be angry at him.
Now, the plot for this can be figured out quickly for the careful reader. There are too many hints dropped too early on in the novel to leave mystery in the ending. And there’s no mystery with the romance, either. From the summary to the initial set-up, it’s obvious that Aurelia and Robert are going to end up together. There’s just enough world-building to get the idea that this is a fantasy world.
But, the story is worth reading and we have its wonderful main characters to thank for that. While everybody else falls flat or bores me, Aurelia and Robert (and one of the side characters!) are so interesting and their dynamic is so entertaining that I couldn’t help but actually enjoy the story.
It’s like when you watch a terrible television show because one character is just so damn fabulous. Aurelia and Robert made the entire book worth reading, at least for me and Aurelia herself has crept up onto my list of favorite characters.
And trust me, that’s no small feat.