A princess, a pea, and a tower of mattresses. This is the sliver that survives of a story more nightmare than fairytale...
Maggie Rhodes, high school junior and semi-reformed stalker, learns the tale’s true roots after a spying attempt goes awry and her best friend Kate ends up as the victim of an ancient curse. At the center of the curse lies an enchanted emerald that has been residing quietly in a museum for the past fifty years. Admirers of the gem have no idea that it feeds on life. Or that it’s found its next victim in Kate.
Enter Lindy, a school acquaintance who knows more than she’s letting on, and Garon, a handsome stranger claiming he knows how to help, and Maggie is left wondering who to trust and how to save her best friend before it’s too late.
If only Maggie knew her connection to the fairy tale was rooted far deeper than an endangered best friend.
14+ due to adult situations
A part of me died long ago.
It was the part of me that feels, and it was Calista’s fault.
What happened tonight was nothing new—innocent victims welcomed into our home, not knowing they would never leave. I learned long ago I could not help them, so I stopped trying.
But this time something was different. This time I was awake, burning with a gut-wrenching guilt, as the next victims slept downstairs. This time I knew the victims. And they didn’t deserve what was coming.
It had always been hard for me to make friends. I’d been called loner, loser, outcast, and freak. Even still, I remembered Maggie offering to show me around when I first transferred to their school. Through her, I met Kate and Piper. The three of them were always nice to me, while other kids kept their distance and spread rumors behind my back. I told myself I didn’t care—I wasn’t like them.
But being a loner was lonely.
So tonight when I saw Maggie and her friends here, something inside me snapped. Or, perhaps it was the dead piece of me coming back to life. Now I cared desperately about what was happening in the room below mine.
But there was still nothing I could do.
Calista usually lured in victims from out of town to avoid arousing suspicion. Pregnant ones were a particular favorite—easy prey, she called them. But Maggie and her friends came here all on their own. The opportunity was too good for Calista to pass up.
Everyone thought Calista was my mother, but she wasn’t.
Back in my day, almost four centuries ago, Calista had an alternate method of luring in victims. She and her husband, Theodore, advertised for hired help with their inn. The number of parents willing to sell their daughters into a life of servitude in exchange for a forgiven debt or a clean slate was staggering.
My father was one of them.
By the time my mother found out what he’d done, it was too late. There was no escape. I was bound.
My story was well known in this land, whispered as a bedtime tale to ease children into sleep. But, just like any other story passed down through time by rumors and idle gossip, the fragment that survived was woefully incomplete. It began something like this:
There is rumored to have been (once upon a time, of course) a princess, a pea, and a tower of mattresses.
That much was true, though in actuality it was only one mattress, not twenty. The pea was also real, though most would call it a precious stone—an emerald, to be precise.
The gem that sealed my fate was now in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. Calista was furious when she found it missing. She thought I’d stolen it until she remembered my limits. The identity of the true thief remains unknown.
Even though the emerald is no longer in our possession, we are still bound to it, as it is bound to us. Admirers of the opulent necklace where it rests don’t understand it. Like me, the gem is a prisoner, struggling against its fate.
Even now, centuries later, I don’t understand all the details of what happened to me that night. But it began with a troubled slumber on a bed of enchanted emeralds.
Showing reviews 1-10 of 11 | Next
Posted by Unknown on 30th Nov 2015
Magic isn’t always used with good intentions. Would you be able to sense when it was being used to do something terrible?
The world building was extremely well done. It involved complicated backstories for more than one character as well as a long and tangled history of the enchanted emerald. I always knew exactly what was going on, though, because the narrators spent so much time showing how everything fit together. This was especially handy later on in the plot when I needed to remember small details that had been briefly mentioned earlier. Thanks to the author’s spellbinding writing style, this wasn’t a problem for me in the least. If this is any indication of Ms. Richards’ ability to whip up such memorable scenes, I will be quite interested to see what she comes up with next!
My only criticism has to do with the romantic subplot. While I appreciated how much time was put into developing it, it never blended into the storyline the way all of the other subplots did. The characters involved in it had so many other things going on in their lives that I was surprised to see either of them showing interest in any sort of romance. The chemistry between them also didn’t gel for me because of how divided their attention was between the romance and the rest of their lives. This would have been a logical and satisfying premise for a sequel if the author ever writes one, but it didn’t make sense to pursue it so soon.
There’s something to be said for a mystery that doesn’t reveal many clues at first. I’m the kind of reader who enjoys being challenged when I’m reading this genre, so I was fascinated by the small number of clues that the characters had to work with in the beginning. It was nice to be able to concentrate on them for a while before any more hints were added. As much as I adored everything else that was going on with this book, figuring out the mystery was by far my favorite part of it all.
Emerald Bound kept me glued to the page from beginning to end. This is a great choice for anyone who enjoys modern twists on classic fairy tales as much as I do.
Posted by Bob on 16th Oct 2015
I really had a fun time with this story. I do most of my pleasure reading in the air, traveling for work. My requirement is that the story keep me fully engaged during the flight. This one easily fits that bill and more. Emerald Bound is a story I would enjoy reading to my kids at bedtime, or out on the backyard lawn on summer nights. Alas, my kids are now grown. But I have grandkids and this is a book I will share with them!
Posted by Jennifer Fields on 16th Oct 2015
Very enjoyable read. I read it quickly as it was hard to put down. Moves fast with twists and turns and suspense.
Posted by S. Clay on 16th Oct 2015
This book is written for a teen, but sucked me, an older man, in with its compelling story with unique fantasy. I love stories like this that are not just more of the same repackaged Tolkien based fantasy genre. This book also can improve your vocabulary and may help teens with a certain standardized test...
Posted by Great Customer on 16th Oct 2015
Loved this new author's twist on The Princess and the Pea! Fast paced, makes you think kind of book - also loved that it was clean and appropriate for my girls to read when they are old enough. Can't wait to read the next book!
Posted by Cindy Jeweks on 30th Sep 2015
I just finished a copy of this book last night, and I have to say...it was awesome!! If you enjoy fairy tales, young adult novels, magic, or books with a lot of action, I promise you will love Emerald Bound!
Let's start with the story: Based on the fairly tale The Princess and the Pea, Maggie Rhodes finds herself tangled up in some crazy story about an enchanted emerald that feeds off life after her best friend goes missing. Determined to find her friend, she learns to believe the unbelievable and trust in the help of others while maximizing the full extent of her resources. This includes believing in magic and attempting to break in to the Smithsonian. Did I mention that Maggie is a perfectly ordinary 16 year old?
I loved how every section of the story connects with all the others. There are no superfluous chapters or scenes that should have been cut; everything from start to finish ties together in a beautiful and comprehensive way.
Emerald Bound features some really great characters. Maggie and Lindy are the two main heroes. I love Maggie because she is a normal girl who is called upon to do things that are far beyond her comfort zone. She is presented with a seemingly hopeless situation, struggles and perseveres, and eventually does amazing things. I love how relatable she is. It is inspiring to read about someone I can connect with who overcomes her trials and comes out on top. I also really love Lindy. She is a girl who has had far more than her share of struggles in life. As Maggie puts it, she's a fighter who has lost too many rounds. When Lindy sees that Maggie and her friends are in trouble, some of her fire comes back and she puts her all into ending the evil and injustice that has surrounded her for 4 centuries. Another character I love is Garon, the love interest for Maggie. I don't need to go into details, but he's awesome.
Overall, this book was a serious page-turner and so fascinating. I love fairy tales and their retellings, so naturally I was going to enjoy this one. The Princess and the Pea is not a common theme for stories and I love how cleverly this adventure was put together. The writing is strong, the story is exciting, and the characters are dynamic. Now go buy a copy and enjoy your next good tale!
Posted by Roberto Calas on 30th Sep 2015
Though Young Adult isn't my normal fare, I was given a chance to read this and found myself unable to put it down. The story features a fun, extremely likable protagonist and a plot web that is both fresh and surprising (quite a feat in a field dominated by Hunger Games clones). Teresa Richards is a brilliant new voice in young fantasy, and a name that I am certain everyone will know soon enough.
Posted by F. Richards on 30th Sep 2015
This book has it all. Great characters, intricate story line, action, romance, and humor. Great read for young adults or those young at heart!
Posted by C Walker on 26th Sep 2015
What a fun, unique twist on this classic fairytale! The author took an old fairytale, filled it with life and threw a bunch of modern (and some not so modern) teenagers making teenage style decisions into the mix. It made me laugh. It made me turn the pages in anticipation. It infuriated me. I couldn't put it down. I've read it twice already.
Posted by Preston Ray on 26th Sep 2015
Emerald Bound is a reinterpretation of the Princess and the Pea. The story opens with Maggie Rhodes and her friends doing a "Spy-by" and things soon get...complicated...with Maggie finding herself trying to break a four hundred year old curse to save one of her friends.
While I don't usually read YA, I enjoyed this book. It creatively builds off the fairy tale in interesting ways and despite being for a YA audience, the author's easy, flowing, writing moves forward an often complex plot with a lot of twists that adds mystery along with adventure.
Although the story is plot driven, the characterization was well done and I found myself rooting for Maggie even as I stayed up way too late to see how the story would end.
Showing reviews 1-10 of 11 | Next