Title: Water Princess, Fire Prince
Author: Kendra E. Ardnek
Summary: Clara looks forward to being in the Olympics someday as she practices sports. Andrew looks back to the day his mother died as he takes care of his younger siblings. They've never met, but their lives are about to become intertwined forever as they both fall into the world of Rizkaland and learn of their places in the ancient prophecy foretelling the Lady Dragon's demise at their hands. Clara and Andrew must learn the customs of Rizkaland, must learn to fight the Lady Dragon, and must learn how to work together for this Narnia-esque tale to end happily.
My rating: 9/10 stars.
Plot: Most often, it is the tales with the simplest plots that gain the most recognition and love, because the themes are universal and always applicable. Just look at The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Harry Potter. At the core, these stories are the same. The different characters and settings are what set these masterpieces apart. So it is with Water Princess, Fire Prince.
At its core, Water Princess, Fire Prince is the basic quest-to-defeat-the-villain plot with a Beatrice-Benedick romance* on the side. Along the way, the characters face adventure and difficulties.
While reading the first two parts of the book, which introduce the reader to Clara and Andrew separately, I couldn't wait to get to the third so that I could see Clara and Andrew interact with each other! That was my favorite bit. I loved their journey through the Mountain to get to the Kastle. Each part serves its purpose wonderfully and sets the reader up for the climax.
Even though the quest plot may be one I've read (and written) before, Kendra E. Ardnek gives it her own unique twist. Readers will be surprised by various plot twists near the end.
*For you non-Shakespeareans out there, a Beatrice-Benedick romance is where the two lovers start out at odds with one another. Seemingly, they will forever be encapsulated in strife... until they stop having fall outs and fall in love instead.
Characters: While Andrew is likable right away, Clara is a bit on the brash side. She knows who she is, she knows what she wants, and she is ready to go after it. Having her plans interrupted by an unexpected trip (or, should I say, swim?) to Rizkaland throws her for a bit of a loop, so it is no wonder that she isn't the most pleasant character at the beginning. I wouldn't be either, if I were suddenly transported to another world and told that I was supposed to save it from a Dragon. Clara, however, grows as the book progresses. She learns some important lessons and is the better for it. Clara feels real because of her faults and how she grows from them.
Andrew, as I said, is likable from the start. He learns and grows throughout the book, too. He is instrumental to the change in Clara, and he learns a few things from her as well.
The supporting cast are wonderful as well. Water Princess, Fire Prince boasts a large group of characters, but the author has given them each their own sparkling personality. I could tell that each character had a past and life beyond that which was portrayed in the text.
World: Worldbuilding is where Kendra E. Ardnek shines above all else. Rizkaland, like the worlds in her previous books, is a highly developed society with its own set of rules, land masses, peoples, creatures, and colors. In Water Princess, Fire Prince most of the reader's time is spent on one of Rizkaland's islands: Klarand. It is fun to explore the physics of Rizkaland with Andrew, who is the son of a scientist and, therefore, interested in that sort of thing.
If you are a visual learner and can't envision what a cylindrical world looks like, I highly encourage you to watch this video and read the accompanying blog post: http://knittedbygodsplan.blogspot.com/2015/08/wpfp-countdown-5.html
Water Princess, Fire Prince is Kendra E. Ardnek's best book yet, and I recommend it! Fans of the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, allegorical fiction, and light fantasy will especially find this book to their taste.
Live long and prosper!