Rarely do I read a prequel novel before reading the first in a series. I don’t know why, it’s just how my reading seems to work out. I know that a prequel happens before the initial story, but for some reason, they rarely cross my desk until after I’ve already started into the series. So when I got the chance to read Diana Rose’s Arranged Love, which was a prequel to her Power of Love series—which I haven’t read—I was intrigued.
1. Thoughts on the plot
This book follows Alyona, a princess of the Moon Kingdom, as she grows up and must choose between two potential loves: a baker and a prince. She lives a very sheltered life, heavily monitored by her parents and controlled so that she isn’t put into unnecessary danger. Being a teenager (or, really, twelve at the beginning of the book, through seventeen at the end), Alyona disobeys her parents and tries to live the life that she wants. This leads to her deciding whether to love the baker or a prince from the neighbouring kingdom.
In general, I think the idea for this plot is a good one. Choosing the life you want rather than one forced on you is a plot I almost always enjoy reading. I was, therefore, interested in this one. However, there were several logical inconsistencies that soured the plot for me. One was the reasoning for her parents strictness; it was hinted at being unsafe, but never explained at all beyond a vague concern for danger. This made a lot of the reasoning from the King and Queen very flimsy, in my opinion. Another was that Alyona was being trained to be Queen, but all her lessons were in things like needlepoint or manners. No kingdom I’ve ever heard of would train a future political leader with needlepoint. There was no reference to her having to be dependent on a husband for her politcal prowess until the very last bits of the book, which again made her parents’ reasoning seem very flimsy. And the various relationships that Alyona was trying to decide between fell apart for very flimsy reasons that could have been prevented with a single sentence of explanation.
I think the plot was a good idea, but in practise, there were too many logical holes for me to believe it all.
2. Thoughts on the characters
Alyona is a character I wanted to like. She’s fighting against everything being determined for her. Great ambitions. She wasn’t terribly rude, nor was she portrayed as “not like other girls” which I appreciated. However, she never seemed to argue her desires beyond the life being chosen for her being, “unfair.” She wants to be a child with a normal childhood, yet wants to be treated as an adult, sometimes within the same paragraph. While I can accept this as the incomplete reasoning of a twelve-year-old, these inconsistencies persist. Also, she never seems to appreciate the consequences of her actions, such as other people being blamed for her indiscretions. I think she is a great example of a young child who needs to learn consequences and logical arguments, but I didn’t much care for her beyond that.
3. Favourite part
The premise of the plot—choosing your own destiny rather than doing what others demand of you—is probably my favourite part. I do love stories of this sort.
The logical inconsistencies, in both plot and character, really did not help this story at all. They made what could have been a great story into something that felt like a child trying to eat only sweets rather than a balanced diet. The ending also didn’t feel much like Alyona’s choice, but I could have misinterpreted her desires.
Overall, I really wanted to like this book. It had a good premise, but there were just too many holes in the story for me.