The Princess in the Opal Mask by Jenny Lunquist
Published by: Running Press Teens, 2013
Fans of “Matched” will love Elara and Wilha in Princess in the Opal Mask. Elara has always lived as a servant in the Ogden household. She’s never known her family. Life may not always be sunshine and roses, but the Ogden’s manage to put on great appearances when their benefactors come with the money to support the orphanage. Elara has learned that life is a stage and that how you manage situations can be the difference between a beating and a bowl of food.
Across the kingdom, Wilha is the masked princess. She has always yearned for the love and approval of her father, the king. Her mother died shortly after childbirth, and many say that it was because she looked upon Wilha’s face. Wilha’s title of the masked princess is not a ceremonial title, she wears the mask at all times. Some think the sight of Wilha’s face will heal, others believe it wil curse. Wilha doesn’t know what to think.
The Ogden’s manage to get tickets to the maskerade ball in the capital. Just before they leave, Elara’s teacher sees her and gives her a book that is supposedly from her mother with the warning to trust no one. Once they get to the capital, Wilha is doing an appearance and someone makes an attempt on her life. At the same moment, someone hits Elara over the head and she awakes the dungeon.
She awakes and is informed by the king’s advisors that she and Wilha are twins seperated at birth. One of their ancestors were born as twins, and the younger one was resentful and overthrew her sister. To prevent that from happening again, Elara was taken away from the throne, and they promised to marry Wilha off as soon as she was old enough.
The advisors tell Elara that Wilha is being married off to the neighboring kingdom, but they have a history of being warlike. To guarentee Wilha’s safety, the first visit will last 3 weeks and Elara will pretend to be Wilha, and Wilha will pretend to be a servant. Shortly after, the girls will switch back and Elara will go back to life with the Ogdens.
The journey to the neighboring kingdom seems a little off. Shortly after their arrival, they are locked in their quarters. Wilha discovers a secret passage and abandons Elara. Elara now has to pretend to be her sister, meet her future family, and interact with her future husband.
Life is not sunshine and daisies for Wilha, she gets taken in by a kind innkeeper and given a job in an embroidery shop. She starts getting wind of something coming. Should she try and stop it, should she go back and warn Elara, or should she enjoy her newfound freedom?
Overall, this is a great story that teens will love. This is especially great for fans of Allie Condie and Suzanne Collins. This is a fast paced story, with lots of action and plot, but not a lot of description. The world building gets a little confusing because all the locations are fictional, and the names all sound similar. The characters are well liked and each main character has a distinctive voice.
Quotes: “Both the old woman and the young queen understand that the right words, spoken at the right time, can become more powerful than a thousand swords. The right words can scatter like seeds. They are watered by rumor and grown by time. Until one day, they become legend.” (pg. 9)