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Hidden Agenda

There’s more than meets the eye (holes) in Jenny Lundquist’s The Princess in the Opal Mask.

Hidden Agenda

BOOK REPORT for The Princess in the Opal Mask (The Opal Mask #1) by Jenny Lundquist

Cover Story: Big Mask
BFF Charm: Yay x2
Swoonworthy Scale: 3
Talky Talk: Mark Twain-inspired
Bonus Factor: Secret Passages
Anti-Bonus Factor: Lecherous Old Man
Relationship Status: In For The Long Haul

Cover Story: Big Mask

I suppose a book with a title like this one does have to avoid the traditional Big Face—at a masquerade, one does not reveal their identity to just anyone. Big Mask is a nice spin on the norm.

The Deal:

Elara has never known anything other than the life of a servant, even though she was adopted by a family that promised to take her as one of their own. For nearly 17 years, she has lived with the Ogdens, bending to Lady Ogden’s every whim. And yet, she’s learned how to be strong and independent, instead of breaking.

Wilha has spent her entire life hidden behind a jeweled mask. As the Masked Princess, she’s the most famous face in all of Galandria (her home country), even if no one actually knows what she looks like. For nearly 17 years, she’s done exactly what she’s been told to do. But even princesses have their breaking points.

When the two are brought together, circumstances change—in the most unexpected of ways.

BFF Charm: Yay x2

Elara is sarcastic, strong-willed and has the enviable ability to turn even the worst situation into something better, merely by thinking about it in a different light. The crap life she was dealt might have broken a lesser girl, but Elara has lived through it all and become better for it. Yeah, she can be a bit of a jerk and is somewhat cold at times, but that stems from years of having no one to look out for her except herself.

Wilha has everything. Money, jewels, pretty clothes, the adoration of a nation. All these things combined might have made another girl soft and spoiled, but Wilha hasn’t quite ever felt like any of these things actually belong to her; all of the trappings belong to the Masked Princess. She’s naive and a little obtuse, but that’s not entirely her fault. Being a princess means that people often keep things from you and keep you hidden away “for safety reasons.” Wilha’s worthy of a BFF because even with all of these lovely things, she’s willing to take chances to be true to herself.

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

Hints of swoon (to come) for both ladies can be found sprinkled through the book, but there’s very little actual action in The Princess in the Opal Mask. And the action that is within the pages barely gets past meet-cute territory.

Talky Talk: Mark Twain-inspired

Without getting too spoilery, there are definite hints of Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper in The Princess in the Opal Mask. Jenny Lundquist puts her own spin on things, however, which adds spice to the well-known trope. We get to see the story unfold from both girls’ POVs, but the POVs don’t switch with each chapter. This adds to the suspense of certain parts and doesn’t disrupt the flow of other events. Both Elara and Wilha also have pretty distinct personalities, which makes it easier to tell who’s taking when.

Bonus Factor: Secret Passageways

The castles in Galandria are riddled with secret passages only the royal family and a handful of guards and trusted advisers know how to find. I’ve always wanted to live in a house with secret passages that I could use to get around without people knowing. (That and a dumbwaiter. I might not be able to fit into one anymore, but it would still be awesome to have.)

Anti-Bonus Factor: Lecherous Old Men

One of Wilha’s fathers’ advisers is obviously and creepily interested in her. I’m not positive on how old he is, but I think he’s at least in his 40s. She’s 17.

(To be clear, that’s Alan Rickman as Judge Turpin, not Alan Rickman as Alan Rickman.)

Casting Call:

Hailee Steinfeld as ???

Sorry! Revealing who I’d like her to play would be a spoiler.

Relationship Status: In For The Long Haul

So, Book, usually I’d be annoyed with you for being the start to yet another series, but I’m actually on board this time. You introduced me to two intelligent characters and a story that could go a bunch of different places. I’m excited about seeing where we go from here.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a free review copy from Running Press Teens. I received neither Swedish Fish nor money for this review. The Princess in the Opal Mask is available now.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.
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