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The Princess and Curdie, with eBook

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In this sequel to The Princess and the Goblin, Curdie has returned to his life as a miner and has dismissed the supernatural happenings of the past, believing them to have been a dream. When Curdie callously wounds a pigeon, his conscience leads him to Princess Irene's mystical great-great-grandmother for help. She has him plunge his hands into a pile of rose petals that b In this sequel to The Princess and the Goblin, Curdie has returned to his life as a miner and has dismissed the supernatural happenings of the past, believing them to have been a dream. When Curdie callously wounds a pigeon, his conscience leads him to Princess Irene's mystical great-great-grandmother for help. She has him plunge his hands into a pile of rose petals that burns like fire. Extraordinarily, this grants him the power to see what kind of "animal" a person is at heart. She then sends him on a quest, accompanied by a peculiar doglike creature named Lina, who was once a human. However, Curdie must resolve his own skepticism before he can use the powers granted him to defeat the evil that is threatening the future of the kingdom.


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In this sequel to The Princess and the Goblin, Curdie has returned to his life as a miner and has dismissed the supernatural happenings of the past, believing them to have been a dream. When Curdie callously wounds a pigeon, his conscience leads him to Princess Irene's mystical great-great-grandmother for help. She has him plunge his hands into a pile of rose petals that b In this sequel to The Princess and the Goblin, Curdie has returned to his life as a miner and has dismissed the supernatural happenings of the past, believing them to have been a dream. When Curdie callously wounds a pigeon, his conscience leads him to Princess Irene's mystical great-great-grandmother for help. She has him plunge his hands into a pile of rose petals that burns like fire. Extraordinarily, this grants him the power to see what kind of "animal" a person is at heart. She then sends him on a quest, accompanied by a peculiar doglike creature named Lina, who was once a human. However, Curdie must resolve his own skepticism before he can use the powers granted him to defeat the evil that is threatening the future of the kingdom.

30 review for The Princess and Curdie, with eBook

  1. 5 out of 5

    whalesister

    See my review for The Princess and the Goblin. My kids made me read this to them for four hours straight Sunday afternoon (I wasn't hard to persuade), and then were disappointed that we had to stop for dinner. Eric hurried and got ready early for school the next morning so I could read another chapter, and the first thing he said to me when he got home from school was "Princess and Curdie!" and grabbed a snack and the book and a blanket and headed outside with me and Abby to read on the lawn. Gu See my review for The Princess and the Goblin. My kids made me read this to them for four hours straight Sunday afternoon (I wasn't hard to persuade), and then were disappointed that we had to stop for dinner. Eric hurried and got ready early for school the next morning so I could read another chapter, and the first thing he said to me when he got home from school was "Princess and Curdie!" and grabbed a snack and the book and a blanket and headed outside with me and Abby to read on the lawn. Guess what we're finishing up before bed tonight? I finished it already myself, actually. I cheated and read on ahead while they were at school. Great story.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sara Saif

    George MacDonald writes wonderfully and that is the only positive thing coming out of my mouth/keyboard in this review. The book took a completely different direction than the last one, turned more baffling and boring by the second and did not answer the questions I previously had. That great, old, huge grandmother is still a mystery: where did she come from, why is she immortal, what is the DEAL? Again, Curdie and his parents are declared to be of royal blood and again, utter silence on the subj George MacDonald writes wonderfully and that is the only positive thing coming out of my mouth/keyboard in this review. The book took a completely different direction than the last one, turned more baffling and boring by the second and did not answer the questions I previously had. That great, old, huge grandmother is still a mystery: where did she come from, why is she immortal, what is the DEAL? Again, Curdie and his parents are declared to be of royal blood and again, utter silence on the subject after that. It's a very distorted sort of fantasy where things do not match up and instead, new things rise up out of nowhere. It lacks the sense of a complete world. And you know what's the funniest thing of all? The ending. Like, lol. If you've seen the Croods you'll probably be familiar with the scene where Grug tells his children stories. That is kinda how abruptly it ended: The King and Queen ruled justly but they had no heir so the people elected another king. He was greedy and dug up gold, destroying the foundations of the city. One day the entire city crumbled to the Earth and they all DIED. That, after about 200 pages of trying to rid the kingdom of injustice and dishonesty. I was so shook I fell asleep.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Barb Terpstra

    I love George MacDonald. I especially like his fairy tale and fantasy books. Like C.S. Lewis, I love the theology in the stories, and I always find something that speaks to me, or causes me to think more deeply. For example, "It is always dangerous to do things you don't know about." What a simple phrase, but how many times don't I rush in to "fix" something without knowing all there is to know about a situation. But I digress from the story itself, which is the story of how Curdie, a miner's bo I love George MacDonald. I especially like his fairy tale and fantasy books. Like C.S. Lewis, I love the theology in the stories, and I always find something that speaks to me, or causes me to think more deeply. For example, "It is always dangerous to do things you don't know about." What a simple phrase, but how many times don't I rush in to "fix" something without knowing all there is to know about a situation. But I digress from the story itself, which is the story of how Curdie, a miner's boy, is to go on a quest. He doesn't really know what the quest is when he starts out, but he is to find out as he goes along . . . "you have orders enough to start with, and you will find, as you go on, and as you need to know, what you have to do. But I warn you that perhaps it will not look the least like what you may have been fancying I require of you." That's a nice little piece of theology that most of us can relate to! Along the way, Curdie is given a gift of discernment. He will be able to discern whether a man is turning into a beast. "Now listen. Since it is always what they do, whether in their minds or their bodies, that makes men go down to be less than men, that is beasts . . . they do not know it of course, for a beast does not know that he is a beast, and the nearer a man gets to being a beast, the less he knows it." So true! It seems like in our society we are always choosing to be less of the men or women God created us to be. At any rate, I liked this old-fashioned story and the old-fashioned message. For more grown up fantasy, I highly recommend MacDonald's "Lilith". I think it rivals "Lord of the Rings" in many ways.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    This is a strange, strange little book, and it was even stranger for me when I first read it without having read "The Princess and the Goblin". The religious allegories in the book now remind me of C.S. Lewis' "Perelandra" trillogy, and a lot of the rest is VERY dark for a children's book. There's a scene towards the end where a monster BITES OFF SOMEONE'S FINGER for crying out loud. People get maimed by teeth and roasted alive in a fire of roses. And the last page of the book is either the happ This is a strange, strange little book, and it was even stranger for me when I first read it without having read "The Princess and the Goblin". The religious allegories in the book now remind me of C.S. Lewis' "Perelandra" trillogy, and a lot of the rest is VERY dark for a children's book. There's a scene towards the end where a monster BITES OFF SOMEONE'S FINGER for crying out loud. People get maimed by teeth and roasted alive in a fire of roses. And the last page of the book is either the happiest unhappy ending, or the unhappiest happy ending, depending on how you read it. That said, I LOVED this book when I was growing up. The friendship between Curdie and the monster Lina is beautiful, and there's something VERY satisfying about a ragtag army of monsters taking on a city full of unpleasant people. And all of the strangeness just makes every chapter really, really interesting.

  5. 5 out of 5

    David Gregg

    This sequel to "The Princess and the Goblin" starts a little oddly (though the discussion of the mountains is beautiful), but it develops into a wonderful and rich tale. "The Princess and Curdie" picks up about a year after the events of "The Princess and the Goblin." It starts a new adventure, while remaining firmly a part of the story of the first book. I read the second book immediately after finishing the first, so I can't quite imagine appreciating it as much without the history I feel with This sequel to "The Princess and the Goblin" starts a little oddly (though the discussion of the mountains is beautiful), but it develops into a wonderful and rich tale. "The Princess and Curdie" picks up about a year after the events of "The Princess and the Goblin." It starts a new adventure, while remaining firmly a part of the story of the first book. I read the second book immediately after finishing the first, so I can't quite imagine appreciating it as much without the history I feel with the characters, the places, the mythology, and the themes that "The Princess and the Goblin" gave me. Remember that MacDonald wrote allegorically. These, as well as many of his other fictional works, were intended to be appreciated not only for the sake of the story itself, but also for the moral, philosophical, and even theological lessons the story promotes. Remembering that will explain, for example, why "The Princess and Curdie" ends the way it does. Part of the ending I loved and anticipated eagerly (I won't spoil it) and part disappointed me. But no doubt MacDonald intended the reader to be disappointed. It's instructional and will be clear when you finish. I don't give out many five-star ratings. That is how much I enjoyed this book!

  6. 5 out of 5

    David

    The sequel to the Princess and the Goblin, and I think I liked this one a bit more. It is interesting to read MacDonald's fiction while reading his nonfiction at the same time as there are numerous parallels to draw. Or, to put it another way, it is fun to see how he makes the same point in story and in essay. It is also continually interesting to see how different his fantasy is from later writers, but yet how the similarities set the stage.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Rollins

    I don't think this is quite as fun to read as The Princess and the Goblin but it is still a wonderful book. Perhaps its deeper lessons take away from the joy of the story. Nevertheless, it is a wonderful book. My recent student was quite put out that the history of Gwynytystorm ended so dismally.

  8. 5 out of 5

    J. Boo

    I'd remembered this as being a bit less good than "The Princess and the Goblin", and little else. The kids had "The Princess and the Goblin" read to them for the second time, and clamored for more of Irene and Curdie's adventures. So I started reading them the sequel. The first night, after long passages of purple prose about the mountains, I started frantically eliding whole paragraphs in the hopes we'd get somewhere. After they'd fallen asleep I spent some time figuring out whether or not I co I'd remembered this as being a bit less good than "The Princess and the Goblin", and little else. The kids had "The Princess and the Goblin" read to them for the second time, and clamored for more of Irene and Curdie's adventures. So I started reading them the sequel. The first night, after long passages of purple prose about the mountains, I started frantically eliding whole paragraphs in the hopes we'd get somewhere. After they'd fallen asleep I spent some time figuring out whether or not I could cut enough to keep their interest. Probably not. I'm holding with vaguely three-star memories from reading "The Princess and the Curdie" (and its very memorable ending on the train, but the book just isn't amenable to being turned into bedtime reading fodder for my spawn.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Suzannah

    Even better than I remembered!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kate Willis

    The first chapter of this book was very slow and boring, but it picked up soon after and swung into a clever adventure. I loved seeing Curdie grow up, and it was delightful when Irene and her king-papa came into the story again. (And that spunky housemaid was a treat!) Also, Curdie and Lina's unexpected friendship really hit home for me. Unfortunately, evolutionary ideas, some very odd creatures, and the quirky worldview being more explicit made this second book less enjoyable for me. Best quote: The first chapter of this book was very slow and boring, but it picked up soon after and swung into a clever adventure. I loved seeing Curdie grow up, and it was delightful when Irene and her king-papa came into the story again. (And that spunky housemaid was a treat!) Also, Curdie and Lina's unexpected friendship really hit home for me. Unfortunately, evolutionary ideas, some very odd creatures, and the quirky worldview being more explicit made this second book less enjoyable for me. Best quote: "The boy should enclose and keep as his life, the old child at the heart of him, and never let it go. He must still, to be a right man, be his mother's darling, and more, his father's pride, and more. The child is not meant to die, but to be forever freshborn." Altogether, I found this to be an entertaining follow-up for older readers who love Curdie.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Berfin Kanat

    Neden bilmiyorum ama ilk kitap kadar sevemedim. Sonu bir masaldan beklemediğim kadar vurucuydu. Sanırım bu kitabı ilki kadar huzur verici bulamadım. Hatta düşündüm de bir çocuk kitabı için biraz fazla öldürmeli parçalamalıydı sanki? Bununla birlikte Lina gibi harika bir karakterle (kendisi köpek benzeri bir canavar) tanıştığım için mutluyum. İki kitaplık bu seriyi fantastik edebiyat ve özellikle Tolkien seven herkese tavsiye ederim.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    I re-read this recently on my Kindle. Classic older children's book, sequel to 'The Princess and the Goblin'. In this story, Curdie sets out on an adventure where he discovers a city full of corruption and treachery, and determines to stand up for what is right. Plenty of Christian allegory for those who are interested in seeing it, and lots of excitement and adventure for all. Recommended.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    I did not love this one quite as much as the first but I did enjoy it a considerable amount. MacDonald does a brilliant job of weaving morals and spiritual truths into fantastical stories. This sequel to The Princess and the Goblin was interesting, extremely good reading and uplifting. A very nice hero's tale and something that I will share with my kids in the near future.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Keely

    I loved this one even more than the first book. I see myself reading these over and over.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Penny

    The second of MacDonald's books about Curdie the Miner and Irene the Princess. Curdie is sent out by the Princess' grandmother on an errand - he does not know what it is, but only that he must go to the King and do what is needed when he gets there. Like all MacDonald's books it is steeped in Christian imagery and meaning, the main theme here being faith. When I read it as a child I remember being very struck by the gift that Curdie is granted of being able to fell the true shape of a person's s The second of MacDonald's books about Curdie the Miner and Irene the Princess. Curdie is sent out by the Princess' grandmother on an errand - he does not know what it is, but only that he must go to the King and do what is needed when he gets there. Like all MacDonald's books it is steeped in Christian imagery and meaning, the main theme here being faith. When I read it as a child I remember being very struck by the gift that Curdie is granted of being able to fell the true shape of a person's soul by taking their hand in his. Thus: his mother's work worn hand seems soft and gentle; the scheming courtiers are revealed as a snake and a bird of prey; and the dishonest servants as various creatures associated with stupidity or theft. It strikes me still as an arresting idea. The explanation for his gift is this:"Since it is always what they do, whether in their minds of their bodies, that makes men go down to be less than men, that is, beasts, the change always come first in their hands...they do not know it of course; for a beast does not know that he is a beast, and the nearer a man gets to being a beast the less he knows it...To such a person there is in general no insult like the truth. He cannot endure it, not because he is growing a beast, but because he is ceasing to be a man. It is the dying man in him that makes him uncomfortable, and he trots, or creeps, or swims or flutters out of its way - calls it a foolish feeling, a whim, an old wives' fable, a bit of priests' humbug, an effete superstition, and so on...Many a lady, so delicate and nice that she can bear nothing coarser than the finest linen to touch her body, if she had a mirror that could show her the animal she is growing to, as it lies waiting within the fair skin and the fine linen and the silk and the jewels, would receive a shock that might possibly wake her up." MacDonald is too preachy for most modern tastes, but he tells hard spiritual truths, and mixes them in with a good yarn and some beautiful language.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tarissa

    Son of a miner, Curdie, who we met back in the first story ("The Princess and the Goblin") returns for another fantastic adventure from Scottish writer George MacDonald. There are many types of symbolism that MacDonald has used to illustrate the walk in a Christian lifestyle. For example, Curdie is given the ability to determine whether a person is truly a man or has beast qualities (good vs. evil). This shows that one's judgement of humankind should never be based on outward assumptions -- but o Son of a miner, Curdie, who we met back in the first story ("The Princess and the Goblin") returns for another fantastic adventure from Scottish writer George MacDonald. There are many types of symbolism that MacDonald has used to illustrate the walk in a Christian lifestyle. For example, Curdie is given the ability to determine whether a person is truly a man or has beast qualities (good vs. evil). This shows that one's judgement of humankind should never be based on outward assumptions -- but one must always look to the heart to find the true intentions of another person. The main theme of the tale illustrates how to have faith in the midst of your battles, even when blind to what may be happening in the big picture -- still, always keeping the faith (and trusting God's power). "The Princess and Curdie" is considered a children's fairy tale -- but a rather dark one at that, with some battling and minor violence. Overall? It contains some hard truths, that for our modern age of readers, it may be hard to digest spiritually. But it is good, definitely good, to hear these things that MacDonald has to tell us.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Fantasy Literature

    The Princess and the Goblin is one of the gems of children's literature that deserves to sit on any bookshelf. The same can not be said of its sequel The Princess and Curdie, which differs so much in tone and content from the original that it is sometimes difficult to remember it is in fact a sequel to the dreamy, beautiful The Princess and the Goblin. Don't get me wrong, I love George MacDonald's wonderful books, and although there are some nuggets of wisdom scattered throughout the book and Ir The Princess and the Goblin is one of the gems of children's literature that deserves to sit on any bookshelf. The same can not be said of its sequel The Princess and Curdie, which differs so much in tone and content from the original that it is sometimes difficult to remember it is in fact a sequel to the dreamy, beautiful The Princess and the Goblin. Don't get me wrong, I love George MacDonald's wonderful books, and although there are some nuggets of wisdom scattered throughout the book and Irene's grandmother is as fascinating as ever (as well as being one of the few feminine representations of Christian mysticism in children's literature) this particular MacDonald novel left me a little cold. It begins extremely well: after the cataclysmic events at the conclusion of the previous book, the ... Read More: http://www.fantasyliterature.com/revi...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Eristina

    Predivno, naprosto predivno. Ako se gleda iz čiste pozicije fantastičke priče za djecu, imamo predivnu priču o dječaku rudaru koji otkriva da biti dobar ne znači samo "ne činiti zlo" te kreće na svoj put iskupljenja. Uzdiže se i sazrijeva kroz svoju hrabrost i dobrotu te vraća red u kraljevstvo. To je iz te čisto fantastičke pozicije. Ako idemo u simbolizam, priča dobiva još jednu dodatnu dimenziju: kršćansku simboliku. Kraljica Irena, Kralj i onaj početak s Kraljičinom bijelom golubicom... Mislim Predivno, naprosto predivno. Ako se gleda iz čiste pozicije fantastičke priče za djecu, imamo predivnu priču o dječaku rudaru koji otkriva da biti dobar ne znači samo "ne činiti zlo" te kreće na svoj put iskupljenja. Uzdiže se i sazrijeva kroz svoju hrabrost i dobrotu te vraća red u kraljevstvo. To je iz te čisto fantastičke pozicije. Ako idemo u simbolizam, priča dobiva još jednu dodatnu dimenziju: kršćansku simboliku. Kraljica Irena, Kralj i onaj početak s Kraljičinom bijelom golubicom... Mislim da više i ne trebam reći. Posebno mi je interesantno bilo vidjeti kako je ovaj drugi dio na Goodreadsu manje omiljen nego prvi, a sad mi je jasno i zašto: kršćanska poruka je puno eksplicitnija. Ima tu malo i monarhističkih uvjerenja, ali to nije razina koja mene osobno zanima.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sher

    I am surprising myself, but I did not like this book although I loved several of Macdonald's other similar tales such as Prince and the Golem and Light Girl Dark Boy. The problem I had with this tale was the message. I can't explain that message very well without spoiling the book, but the basic idea has to do with equating man's fall from goodness into representing animals. In other words beasts are symbols of the worst a man can be. Using animals as symbols of depravity and evil. Doesn't work I am surprising myself, but I did not like this book although I loved several of Macdonald's other similar tales such as Prince and the Golem and Light Girl Dark Boy. The problem I had with this tale was the message. I can't explain that message very well without spoiling the book, but the basic idea has to do with equating man's fall from goodness into representing animals. In other words beasts are symbols of the worst a man can be. Using animals as symbols of depravity and evil. Doesn't work well as an analogy for me at all! I take strong objection to this idea. My friends won't be surprised.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jake McAtee

    Rich. MacDonald is absolutely wonderful, and should be a must for everyone. This is the sequel to "The Princess and the Goblin" and it doesn't disappoint. Few in the modern era can achieve a solemn beauty like MacDonald and his best disciple, Lewis.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Kotar

    The Princess and Curdie is one of my five favorite books of all time. Really. The perfect blend of fairy tale, romance (yes, romance!), morality play, allegory, adventure, and poetry. All of MacDonald's books are beautiful, but this one tops them all. Highly recommended.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mariangel

    I've read The Princess and the Goblin and The Princess and Curdie several times, but this was the first time for my son. He enjoyed very much how the Uglies scared all the bad people.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mymymble

    Unless you're exceptional, a hard life breeds both sentimentality and courage. This is, I suppose, what happens when the kids in 'The Princess and the Goblin' had to grow up.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    It all begins when Curdie, on his walk home from another day at the mines, kills a pigeon. He then realizes that pigeons were associated with the mysterious and wonderful great-great grandmother of Princess Irene. So he takes the dying bird to her, but what is restored is not merely the dying bird but the dying spark in Curdie's life, that is being slowly quenched by coarseness and beastliness. He is bid to thrust his hands into a fire of rose petals through which the beastliness is cleansed and It all begins when Curdie, on his walk home from another day at the mines, kills a pigeon. He then realizes that pigeons were associated with the mysterious and wonderful great-great grandmother of Princess Irene. So he takes the dying bird to her, but what is restored is not merely the dying bird but the dying spark in Curdie's life, that is being slowly quenched by coarseness and beastliness. He is bid to thrust his hands into a fire of rose petals through which the beastliness is cleansed and he is given a special capacity to discern those growing in their humanity from those descending into beastliness as he grasps their hands. This is a key theme that runs through the book, that people are on one of two roads, growing more fully human or descending to the level of beasts. Yet even for the latter there is a hint of hope as some of the beasts we encounter in this story seem to be former humans on a journey of redemption--which strikes me as an odd note, a form of reincarnationalism, or a second chance for the condemned from a Christian author. Yet this is fantasy, and the note here perhaps is one that the power of redemption is greater than that of beastly evil. Curdie is sent by the great-great grandmother to the king's city of Gwyntystorm along with Lina, a fierce, ugly, dog-like creature who is intensely loyal to him. He is not told his mission but that it will become apparent as he obeys and properly uses his gift. It is apparent from the moment of their arrival that all is not right in the town as they are rudely treated, then imprisoned. They make their escape and find their way into the king's castle, and quickly learn that all is not right at the heart of the kingdom. The castle is in disrepair, the servants are rude, lazy and corrupt. Worse yet, the king's councilors are conspiring and the king's doctor is slowly poisoning him as he lies ill in tormented delirium. Princess Irene is at his side, using all her powers to comfort him, while not fully grasping the evil plots surrounding her and the king. The remainder of the story unfolds how Curdie and Lina accompanied by a host of beasts and a few who remain faithful to the king attempt to save king, princess, and kingdom from the corruption that has crept into the heart of Gwyntystorm. The image of Curdie as one sent on a mission the nature and end of which is not disclosed rings true for any who have taken up the life of discipleship. We do not always know into what the faithful use of gifts will lead us. Similarly, success is not a matter of compromise with evil or having the assurance that all will turn out well but the faithful pursuit of the right, leaving the results and consequences in the hands of Another. Once again, one sees why these stories have had such an abiding place in the hearts of both children and adults and how fantasy may sometimes speak more truly of reality than the most "realistic" stories.

  25. 5 out of 5

    D.J. Edwardson

    Though not nearly as magical as The Princess and the Goblin, this is still a pleasant stroll through MacDonald's enchanted forest. From the title, you might think that the little princess from the first book shares equal billing with Curdie, but not so. The Princess here is the "grandmother" from the first book. And most of the time is spent by Curdie's side, not hers. The story takes quite a long time to set up, focusing at first on Curdie's reformation. Once he is solidly on the old princesses' Though not nearly as magical as The Princess and the Goblin, this is still a pleasant stroll through MacDonald's enchanted forest. From the title, you might think that the little princess from the first book shares equal billing with Curdie, but not so. The Princess here is the "grandmother" from the first book. And most of the time is spent by Curdie's side, not hers. The story takes quite a long time to set up, focusing at first on Curdie's reformation. Once he is solidly on the old princesses' side he's off on a quest to save the King and the kingdom. Most of MacDonald's trademark wise sayings come in the first part. The second half is when we see them put into action. I have to say that I rather enjoyed the first half more, as the way Curdie changes is so poignantly similar to the path of spiritual growth we are all walking upon. But the last half does pick up and is perhaps one of the more traditional, and action-packed, sections of MacDonald's writing. It almost feels (gasp) somewhat modern. Only somewhat, thankfully, for MacDonald is at his best when he is writing of that other world, the one within the soul. As a morality tale, which is ultimately what this settles into, this is not the most original or moving, but as a tale in general it is better than most. If only there had been a little more Princess and a little less Curdie, this might have been closer to the original story, but as it is, it's a worthwhile and delightful read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Erica Miles

    Christian Theology in the Guise of a Children's Fairy Tale The Princess and Curdie is part of a children's book series by George MacDonald, which will also appeal to adults, since this apparent fairy tale is actually complex Christian Theology in the guise of fantasy. The book features many twists and turns, which will leave the reader's head spinning. It is also very funny and enjoyable in the way the author keeps pulling surprise "rabbits" out of hat," as it were. The characters are charming, a Christian Theology in the Guise of a Children's Fairy Tale The Princess and Curdie is part of a children's book series by George MacDonald, which will also appeal to adults, since this apparent fairy tale is actually complex Christian Theology in the guise of fantasy. The book features many twists and turns, which will leave the reader's head spinning. It is also very funny and enjoyable in the way the author keeps pulling surprise "rabbits" out of hat," as it were. The characters are charming, and the book has a Dickensian quality in the way it deals with describing the most poor and abject members of society, especially poor orphaned children (in Scotland in the 19th century). And though the book has its dark side, as most fairy tales do, and is sometimes confusing when it deals with questions of right and wrong and why God or some higher power allows bad things to happen, the book nonetheless succeeds in being extremely entertaining,.and is a fine piece of writing by one of my favorite children's book authors, who manages to keep the reader forever in suspense and wanting to find out what happens next. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves books by a writer with a weird and wonderful sense of humor and a great imagination, a genius on a par with Lewis Carroll, will turn the world topsy-turvy for you and your little ones! --Erica Miles, Author of Dazzled by Darkness: A Story of Art & Desire

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jesse

    This was a great little read; quick and easy with loads of good morals for kids. Namely, 'don't judge a book by its cover'. MacDonald uses the same setting and many of the same characters from "The Princess and the Goblin", but focuses on Curdie; the young, adventurous miner boy. The 'Princess' in this book is actually refering to Irenie's great great grandmother, who is some kind of godess or fairy or something (there are several parallels between the grandmother and the North Wind from MacDonal This was a great little read; quick and easy with loads of good morals for kids. Namely, 'don't judge a book by its cover'. MacDonald uses the same setting and many of the same characters from "The Princess and the Goblin", but focuses on Curdie; the young, adventurous miner boy. The 'Princess' in this book is actually refering to Irenie's great great grandmother, who is some kind of godess or fairy or something (there are several parallels between the grandmother and the North Wind from MacDonald's other book). This is kind of a 'coming of age' story, as the reader gets to watch Curdie travel to the Kings city and weed out all of the bad people in the city and especially within his court. There is a great scene when hundreds of hidious monsters (who are actually the good guys, back to the original moral) are tormenting all of the evil and greedy population of the city and forcing them to repent for their wrongs. It's loaded with great imagery and truly humorous. I can only dream of what this would have done for my imagination had I read it as a child. Well worth the couple of days it took to get through this book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Summer

    Curdie is given a great task by princess Irene's great-grandmother. He must learn to see past a persons outward appearance and see what is in their hearts. Only by doing this will he be able to save Irene's collapsing kingdom. He is given a great gift. When he takes a man's hand he will be able to either feel a human hand, or that of the beast that is inside the man. Heading out on a dangerous journey, not knowing what perils he will face, Curdie sets off on a road that will change him forever. Curdie is given a great task by princess Irene's great-grandmother. He must learn to see past a persons outward appearance and see what is in their hearts. Only by doing this will he be able to save Irene's collapsing kingdom. He is given a great gift. When he takes a man's hand he will be able to either feel a human hand, or that of the beast that is inside the man. Heading out on a dangerous journey, not knowing what perils he will face, Curdie sets off on a road that will change him forever. Accompanied by a strange creature, who is hideous on the outside, Curdie will learn much about people and what outward masks can hide. As the sequel to The Princess and the Goblin, I was not expecting very much from this. I was shocked when I would read lines and they would remind me of things that I had read in the Scriptures. This book uplifted me and inspired me to strive to be more careful when judging others. I would suggest that everyone read this story at least once in their lives. It teaches wonderful values and important life lessons.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    This is the second book which follows Curdie, the miner boy from the first book : The Princess and the Goblin. I liked this story much better than the first book...probably since this story seemed more cohesive to me. It mainly followed Curdie and didn't jump viewpoints. There weren't too many author asides like the first book...no "gentle readers" that I remember; so, if there were any, they weren't as numerous as in the first book. I cheered for Curdie and his odd/ugly companion - Lina...and w This is the second book which follows Curdie, the miner boy from the first book : The Princess and the Goblin. I liked this story much better than the first book...probably since this story seemed more cohesive to me. It mainly followed Curdie and didn't jump viewpoints. There weren't too many author asides like the first book...no "gentle readers" that I remember; so, if there were any, they weren't as numerous as in the first book. I cheered for Curdie and his odd/ugly companion - Lina...and was delighted that they tied into the first book with Curdie reuniting with the princess Irene and the king. And, this book had a believable happy ending along with a believable ending - no happily ever after forever...but happily with work for their lifetime, which makes this story feel a little bit like historical fiction for a city called Gwyntystorm.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Becca

    I have such mixed feelings about this book I have no clue how to rate it. Hopefully writing a review will help me organize my thoughts (If not, this may set a record as my most incoherent review ever). PROS: ~ the characters ~ Curdie is the first great character that comes to mind. His maturity (how old is he, anyway?) and determination, as well as his eagerness to change when he realized he was slipping --- or as MacDonald expresses it, "changing into a commonplace man" --- inspired and challenged I have such mixed feelings about this book I have no clue how to rate it. Hopefully writing a review will help me organize my thoughts (If not, this may set a record as my most incoherent review ever). PROS: ~ the characters ~ Curdie is the first great character that comes to mind. His maturity (how old is he, anyway?) and determination, as well as his eagerness to change when he realized he was slipping --- or as MacDonald expresses it, "changing into a commonplace man" --- inspired and challenged me. Queen Irene is high on the list of my favorite elements of this story. The fact that she is a type of God became more evident in this sequel, and thinking of her in that light is very thought provoking. It also helps me to understand God more fully when I can see different aspects of Him portrayed in different stories by different authors: sometimes intentionally, as in this case, and other times quite by accident on the part of the author. Lina and all the other Uglies were certainly interesting. It was good exercise for my imagination to try picturing a creature more incredible than the leg serpent (once I managed to picture him, that is)! I do have mixed feelings about them, perhaps because they're all so unusual, but all things considered, I like them much more than I dislike them. They're proof that writers can create their very own mythical creatures. The king and Princess Irene don't appear until the end of the book, but it was a lovely meeting them again. I still think their father-daughter relationship is beautiful. Idealized? Yes; but still challenging. ~ the message ~ Perhaps I should say "the messages," because I can't really narrow it down to just one. There's definitely one of warning to people who are complacent and allow themselves to become beast-like, but that's not the only one that jumped out at me. ~ the quotability ~ This is a great way to show you some of the messages that came to life as I read. "What people hate they must fear." [p.1] (That's "perfect love casts out fear" seen from another angle.) "He was getting rather stupid --- one if the chief signs of which was that he believed less and less in things he had never seen." [p. 12] "I was doing the wrong of never wanting or trying to be better. . . . When people don't care to be better they must be doing everything wrong." [p. 27] "Two people may be at the same spot in manners and behavior, and yet one may be getting better and the other worse, which is just the greatest of all differences that could possibly exist between them." [p. 72] "Where there is no truth there can be no faith." [p.172] ~ insight into human (or should I say "beastly"?) nature ~ One bit in particular: "The magistrate, being a great man, liked to know that he was waited for: it added to the enjoyment of his breakfast, and, indeed, enabled him to eat a little more after he had thought his powers exhausted." [p. 125] MacDonald is always a bit ironic when making such observations. Sometimes it's just the thing to lighten the mood. . . until you begin applying the observation to your own life and find that you struggle with that very thing yourself! Then you must be like Curdie, resolving to do what you know is right and mend past mistakes. CONS: These will be more difficult to express! Many of the cons are halfway between positive and negative, and it's hard for me to decide exactly what it is I don't like. I'll start with a definite con. ~ evolutionary perspective ~ "Caverns of awfullest solitude, their walls miles thick, sparkling with ores of gold or silver, copper or iron, tin or mercury, studded perhaps with precious stones. . . --- all waiting to flash, waiting for millions of ages --- ever since the earth flew off from the sun, a great blot of fire, and began to cool." [p. 3] Let me make this clear: I am a creationist. I believe God created the entire universe in six literal days about six thousand years ago. While I certainly don't think it's impossible to be a Christian evolutionist, I'm always a bit wary of those people. Seriously, if you try to twist or disregard the first chapter of the Bible simply because modern scientific theory disagrees with it, why bother believing the rest of the Bible? Modern philosophers say Jesus was just a prophet: will you believe that too? I don't want to make this into a monologue on "Why I am a creationist" because that would be very boring for all of us. It's enough to say that I am, and that radiocarbon dating will not change that, thank you very much. So this bit coming on page three was like a whiff of rotten egg. I can't verify whether I literally grimaced, but I grimaced mentally. I suppose the theory of evolution hadn't been around long enough in MacDonald's day to get much educated criticism (wish I could verify this?) so I'll cut him some slack. And I want to say this again: I don't think being an evolutionist automatically mean you're not a Christian. I don't believe that AT ALL! But, from a person I respect . . . let's go back to the rotten egg analogy, and add skunk musk, diesel fumes, and moldy tomatoes and you're about one-sixteenth of the way there! ~ writing style ~ Okay, I probably shouldn't mention this one because mostly it was great. But the last chapter is a ridiculous conglomeration of anything that wouldn't fit elsewhere, making me think MacDonald was in too much of a hurry to do this story justice. Descriptions, dialogue: all that was as amazing as usual. I'm touchy with endings! ~ violence ~ I think the violence got a bit out of hand here. The Uglies seemed to enjoy punishing those in the castle all too much. Yes, I know they deserved it, and yes, I know they never necessarily shower signs of relishing the people's pain. But this is a kid's book, okay! I would have died of horror reading this at 7 or 8. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I'm sure I'm missing some pros and some cons. I wish I wouldn't be so rushed. Hopefully these thoughts are coherent: didn't have much time to organize them. Since I'm no closer to deciding what to rate this book, I'm going with my old stand-by default rating. This is a book I must reread!

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