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Scrapped Princess: A Tale of Destiny

Review

Scrapped Princess: A Tale of Destiny

Imagine your father Yuma's death. You know you were adopted (after all, you are blond and your family is raven-haired) but you also feel totally secure in the love of the only family you ever knew. So you are sad as you attend Yuma's cremation in the border town of Manurhin, in the kingdom of Linevan, but you have no reason to expect that your life won't go on as usual, arguing with your grouchy older brother Shannon and being cared for by your wiser older sister Raquel in lieu of the mother who died long ago. Shannon and Raquel will take over the weapons shop, and you'll continue going to school on Sundays with the other kids, as well as your daily battle-for-eggs with the family hen.

Such is the situation for Pacifica Casull, the 15-year-old heroine of this first of 13 fantasy novels from TOKYOPOP, which has teamed up with HarperCollins to bring manga and anime-influenced books to American teens. SCRAPPED PRINCESS (which includes nine full-page illustrations) introduces Pacifica as she and her siblings discover (from a letter left them by Yuma) that she is the princess ordered destroyed by the 5111th Oracle of Saint Grendel. The book's short prologue depicts five priests of the Mauser religion delivering their bloody prophecy: if the princess lives to age 16, she will bring on the destruction of their entire civilization.

For all these years, most of the people of Linevan have believed that the king and queen dispatched the princess, as they promised. But rumors of the "scrapped princess" abound, and now that Yuma is gone, assassins like Big Shot and Sinner are coming out of the woodwork. Luckily, Shannon has inherited the fighting skills, weapons and armor of his father and Raquel is one heck of a sorceress. They vow to protect Pacifica, although they are reminded, first by the local Duke and then by the various assassins, that if she lives to be 16, the prophecy says that millions of innocent people will die.

A lighthearted, self-mocking tone enlivens this almost-corny adventure story. Yuma, in his letter to Shannon and Raquel, charges them with their important mission and then jokes, "Your mother and I gave you life for this very day. You know, I took your mother in my arms, one thing led to the next, and pretty soon your mother was saying 'Oh stop! No, you brute, no!' Oh my, what's that feeling? Oh, oh, YES! Don't stop!' You know." The assassins are good villains --- some utterly evil and loathsome (Big Shot), some loathsome with reasons (Sinner), another (Chris) so handsome and intriguing that you suspect he may show up in future volumes. Showdowns abound --- in abandoned castles, on the road in a wheeled fortress masquerading as a nondescript horse-drawn caravan --- and when Shannon falters with his sword, Raquel saves the day with a spell. And when things get really bad, Pacifica is not above stepping in with a brick and clonking someone on the head herself.

Predictable but fast-paced, this story will keep you turning the pages until the end of book one --- and then, to whet your appetite, give you a taste of book two.

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Reviewed by Eileen Zimmerman Nicol on October 18, 2011

Scrapped Princess: A Tale of Destiny
Ichiro Sakaki, Illustrated by Yukinobu Azumi

  • Publication Date: October 10, 2006
  • Genres: Manga
  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: TokyoPop
  • ISBN-10: 1595329846
  • ISBN-13: 9781595329844