Book Review: The Cursed Princess and the Lucky Knight by Uta Narusawa

Title: The Cursed Princess and the Lucky Knight
Author: Uta Narusawa, Takashi Kiriya (illustrator), Jackie McClure (Translator)
Released: December 10, 2018 (Kindle)
Series: N/A
Rating: ★★★★☆

Description: After the mysterious deaths and misfortune ravages her family and leaves plucky Duchess Sonia de Clare orphaned in the Royal Abbey, Sonia is forced to take matters into her own hands when the king orders her into an arranged marriage to fulfill her duty as the surviving heiress to the massive Clare fortune.

Fully prepared to marry the dashing prince of the kingdom and retake her home, Sonia is only met with disappointment when she discovers who her mysterious groom to be is.

But when her own castle turns against her in a series of horrifying supernatural phenomena, Sonia quickly discovers the noble knight Sir Cristford Cortot is far more capable of protecting his cursed princess than any foppish prince ever could!

Please keep in mind that this review contains spoilers for the entire book. Read with caution. If you click the “Read More”, it is under the assumption you either don’t care about spoilers or you’ve already read the book.

On the surface, certainly, in the beginning, this light novel really is as simple as its summary.  It really felt at times that the author wanted to have a fairy tale romance which isn’t a bad thing in and of itself. Absolutely, not! It’s not an epic romance, epic fantasy, or epic anything, but it is another fun romp to read when you really just want to read something cute.

However, it’s very slow at the start, especially before Duchess Sonia actually leaves the Abbey and before she meets Lord Crisford. It is interesting to me that, in this country, it’s not really tradition to have cut hair or even a beard. I thought it was a bit odd that Sonia was so put off by his beard until it was revealed that the priest that haunted and cursed the family for a couple of generations. And I’ll get to him.

Thankfully, Sonia is eighteen years old and the age gap between both her and Chris (whom I’ll refer to as Lord Crisford from now on) and it does get pointed out – multiple times. There are a lot of cute instances between the couple and it is sort of odd when Sonia starts questioning if Chris liked her or not. I only mean this because it almost feels like it came out of nowhere, almost. For something that’s meant to be a simple love story, there are themes here that are attempted to be explored but never fully all the way.

And I think that’s what irritated me. They wanted to explore the fact that Sonia is the last of her line and yet she’s being treated in such a way by the King and Chris, and such. Is it because of the translation or is it because of how, really, short this light novel is? Light novels could absolutely be a lot longer and I wasn’t expected to tackle such themes in there – what does it mean to be a young woman in this society after being tucked away in a religious boarding school for women?

However, what saved this for me was the latter half of the story. Granted, the revelation of the curse – that being the priest who was greedy in life and in death and who made a deal with Baphomet in order to eradicate an entire family line – was disappointing, but Chris was what saved it for me. Perhaps it’s because I’m closer to him in age so I understand his simple-minded mindset but he just charmed me a lot.

And I think the age gap disappointed me more than I expected because of how charmed I am by Chris. You see, Chris is 34-years-old in the story and Sonia is 18-years-old, that’s quite an age gap. But again, Chris saved this for me. He made it a point to keep a boundary between him and Sonia, even though she is 18-years-old (which is another reason why I actually liked this novel more because I’m simply tired of literal children marrying older men when it’s a fantasy and you can just age them up, history be damned….! That’s another rant for another day, of course), I actually liked their chemistry a lot.

There is genuine love for this older man and I could fall for him myself since he hits all my favorite tropes. I just genuinely love the relationship between Sonia and Chris when we’re welcome to see their levity and reprieves. There’s just something about Chris that I just adore and it’s what saved this book for me.

Aside from the potential that was there, it seemed the author really wanted to show off how wonderful Chris was to me, the reader, and they succeeded.

When we’re in Sonia’s headspace, it’s not really boring necessarily but when she worries about Chris’s feelings, it does get tedious at times.

The magic system is not very clear, but again, it’s not meant to be an epic anything – just a fun romance. There’s a lot that holds this novel back, unfortunately, but it’s the appearances of Chris that save it for me. Anytime he shows up, I’m always laughing or worried or just feeling the same type of lovey emotions Sonia does.

But as for the reason for the curse, this is where I fear the author held themselves back the most. The reason why the curse even exists is that the priest, in life, was greedy and embezzled taxes from Sonia’s grandfather. Right after he declared a curse on his family, he died. And it doesn’t even dawn on him how cruel this fate was right afterward. Because of this man, everyone and I mean everyone in Sonia’s family is gone and her darkness doesn’t come up until near the end when she felt as though no one could love her. There’s something there but even though it disappointed me, as luck would have it, Chris saves the day again.

With the inclusion of Pamela, this is where I also feel the author held themselves back. She admitted, after being possessed by both the priest and Baphomet, that she had always had negative feelings towards Sonia and once everything gets settled, she merely apologizes and becomes her handmaiden. At that point, I was nearing the end; there’s just really no other way but to take it at face value.

There are two side stories about the younger Prince and moments before Chris admitted his own love for Sonia.

Despite everything I said, I really liked Chris a lot and thankfully, he’s featured in the story a lot. It’s daunting and it is frustrating but because Chris is in it a lot, I’ve managed to enjoy it more than this review implies.

Also, the author admits that the story is essentially a historical fantasy romance based on William Marsh, 1st Earl of Pembroke, and his wife, Isabel de Clare, 4th Countess of Pembroke. It is an interesting take of them if you’re familiar with them, but I am not and now I’ve learned something new!

About Lily

A fujoshi who won't shut up about anime, manga, video games, BJDs, nendoroids, and anime conventions. She apparently can't stop writing either.

Posted on October 20, 2020, in ★★★★☆ – 4 Stars, Book Reviews, Light Novels, Oneshots and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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