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The Princess and the Bear

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He was once a king, turned into a bear as punishment for his cruel and selfish deeds. She was a once a princess, now living in the form of a hound. Wary companions, they are sent—in human form—back to a time when magic went terribly astray. Together they must right the wrongs caused by this devastating power—if only they can find a way to trust each other. But even as each be He was once a king, turned into a bear as punishment for his cruel and selfish deeds. She was a once a princess, now living in the form of a hound. Wary companions, they are sent—in human form—back to a time when magic went terribly astray. Together they must right the wrongs caused by this devastating power—if only they can find a way to trust each other. But even as each becomes aware of an ever-growing attraction, the stakes are rising and they must find a way to eliminate this evil force—or risk losing each other forever.


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He was once a king, turned into a bear as punishment for his cruel and selfish deeds. She was a once a princess, now living in the form of a hound. Wary companions, they are sent—in human form—back to a time when magic went terribly astray. Together they must right the wrongs caused by this devastating power—if only they can find a way to trust each other. But even as each be He was once a king, turned into a bear as punishment for his cruel and selfish deeds. She was a once a princess, now living in the form of a hound. Wary companions, they are sent—in human form—back to a time when magic went terribly astray. Together they must right the wrongs caused by this devastating power—if only they can find a way to trust each other. But even as each becomes aware of an ever-growing attraction, the stakes are rising and they must find a way to eliminate this evil force—or risk losing each other forever.

30 review for The Princess and the Bear

  1. 5 out of 5

    Anne Osterlund

    The Hound was born a hound and only recently rescued from an enchantment as a princess. The Bear was born a prince, who suffered from his own inadequacy, became a bad king, and was punished with two hundred years in the body of an animal whose language he cannot speak. Neither is what they once were. Nor able to fully embrace what they are now. Until the Wild Man sends them on a quest. A quest in which the Bear will have to face his past and the Hound will have to decide her future. And in which the f The Hound was born a hound and only recently rescued from an enchantment as a princess. The Bear was born a prince, who suffered from his own inadequacy, became a bad king, and was punished with two hundred years in the body of an animal whose language he cannot speak. Neither is what they once were. Nor able to fully embrace what they are now. Until the Wild Man sends them on a quest. A quest in which the Bear will have to face his past and the Hound will have to decide her future. And in which the fate of all magic—and humanity—lies at stake. I read The Princess and the Hound before this sequel, but I enjoyed the Princess and the Bear more. The hero is a wonderfully fallible character, and the Hound (I really think this would be better titled The Hound and the Bear) is as fierce a heroine as, well, the She-Wolf in White Fang. The story stands fairly well on its own, though there are references to the earlier book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Susana

    3.5 Stars

  3. 5 out of 5

    Anna Sheehan

    This book surprised me. I found it by chance, picked it up in paperback because it looked okay, and found myself time and again going, "Wow. This is a really good book!" The more I write and the more I read the more critical I've found myself becoming. The highest praise I've recently been able to muster up was, "Fine" or "Okay," countered by my nemeses, "not that good, really," and the ultimate outrage "insulting." I kept waiting for the plot hole or the obvious pedantism or the character slip w This book surprised me. I found it by chance, picked it up in paperback because it looked okay, and found myself time and again going, "Wow. This is a really good book!" The more I write and the more I read the more critical I've found myself becoming. The highest praise I've recently been able to muster up was, "Fine" or "Okay," countered by my nemeses, "not that good, really," and the ultimate outrage "insulting." I kept waiting for the plot hole or the obvious pedantism or the character slip which would make me allocate the novel to "Okay," but it never came. The story continued to be original, thought provoking, touching and engaging. The book is the story of a hound turned human and a human turned bear, the growth of their relationship, and the ultimate acceptance of themselves - a process that took far longer than their acceptance of each other. Their forms are mutable, and shift several times during the course of the book, but the ultimate moment of their final choices for who and what they are fits the growth of the characters and the arc of the story perfectly. This is a sequel, a fact which I did not discover until I was a little ways into the book. Having not read the first book, I did occasionally find myself wishing I had familiarity with the original story. I won't say that this book stands perfectly on its own. But it was not unpleasantly confusing without the background knowledge, nor does it leave itself unfinished - though I understand that there is a book to follow, as well. In that sense the book does stand by itself, although I suspect the whole is probably greater than the sum of its parts - and this is clearly only a part. As I read, I found myself reminded of Robin McKinley's "Beauty," or even of some of the books by Diana Wynne Jones - and through both of those comparisons I can think of no higher praise. It is clear that this is a book that has been sadly under appreciated, and I highly recommend picking it up. Hopefully many people will find this novel, and be as pleasantly surprised as I was.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mara

    People told me that you could read this one without reading The Princess and the Hound, but I don't recommend it. You won't entirely understand some of the things that are discussed, nor will you have a prior "connection" to the characters in it. This isn't a stand-alone sequel. The Princess and the Bear is good, but not nearly as good as The Princess and the Hound. George is in it for a very brief moment, then never appears again, and Richon (the bear), while a good character in his own right, i People told me that you could read this one without reading The Princess and the Hound, but I don't recommend it. You won't entirely understand some of the things that are discussed, nor will you have a prior "connection" to the characters in it. This isn't a stand-alone sequel. The Princess and the Bear is good, but not nearly as good as The Princess and the Hound. George is in it for a very brief moment, then never appears again, and Richon (the bear), while a good character in his own right, is not George. Just as Chala (the hound; her name changes from the prequel) is good, she isn't Beatrice, and I was not as fond of them - nor did I grow to be as fond of them - as I did with George and Beatrice. Also, the story just wasn't as good. It was interesting and a pleasant surprise that Mette Ivie Harrison decided to write about what happens with the bear and the hound after the occurrences in The Princess and the Hound, but the story bordered far too much on being weird. A strange cat-man, unmagic killing everything in a weird plague-like way, time travel, and dead people rising (the latter isn't nearly as bad as it sounds, but it was still fairly weird). None of this beat George and Beatrice's story. I did find The Princess and the Bear a faster read than its prequel, but that is simply due to the shorter chapters. But the beginning almost made me stop because it was just strange. It jumps right into where Chala and Richon are still a bear and hound, and the Reader follows them around for a while in that form. I don't know why, but it was almost . . . uncomfortable reading those first few chapters. Perhaps it was the whole romantic attachment between a bear (who was human) and a hound - it was strange. And then a few things happen that just don't make sense and are all jumbled together. Finally, the story takes off when the wild man sense Chala and Richon back in time to save the kingdom from unmagic (don't ask me what that is; I don't know), and they gain human form. After that, the story is easier to read, but again - weird. Despite my not liking The Princess and the Bear as much as The Princess and the Hound, I would recommend reading it if you have a desire to. Mette Ivie Harrison has one more book in this series - a series which I have dubbed The Animal Magic Trilogy - called The Princess and the Snowbird. According to her, it is a completely stand-alone book, but this one was supposed to be, too.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    This book continues the story found in the Princess and the Hound, now following the Hound and the Bear. It is a different book, unique as it is not in anyway a retelling of a story. But, it does have the elements of a fairytale--magic, a prince, etc. The main difference is that the magic is animal/nature magic, not wizardry. I enjoyed this book quite a bit. I started it on Sunday and kept trying to find ways to escape from the laundry and other tasks of the day on Monday to be able to get back i This book continues the story found in the Princess and the Hound, now following the Hound and the Bear. It is a different book, unique as it is not in anyway a retelling of a story. But, it does have the elements of a fairytale--magic, a prince, etc. The main difference is that the magic is animal/nature magic, not wizardry. I enjoyed this book quite a bit. I started it on Sunday and kept trying to find ways to escape from the laundry and other tasks of the day on Monday to be able to get back into it and eventually finish it. One thing that stuck out to me on this book is that as much as I grew attached to the characters in The Princess and the Hound, when they showed up in this book, I did not like them as much. I found this to be true in Shannon Hale's books of Bayern. Loved Isi in her book, but not as much in Enna Burning. Is this skill of author to redirect your loyalties, increased skill of the author in actually writing, or my attraction to finding the next even better book? Just a though.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rosemary

    From the get-go I was horribly, horribly confused. I understand that the author was trying to write as if they were the thoughts of a bear and a hound but it was just so. bad. Apparently there is this evil person of some sort who is terrorizing the forest. And he leaves behind gray matter that kills everything it touches. As the bear and the hound were walking through the forest, they came around a deer that was decomposing because of the gray matter. Pretty terrible, right? That wasn't it: the de From the get-go I was horribly, horribly confused. I understand that the author was trying to write as if they were the thoughts of a bear and a hound but it was just so. bad. Apparently there is this evil person of some sort who is terrorizing the forest. And he leaves behind gray matter that kills everything it touches. As the bear and the hound were walking through the forest, they came around a deer that was decomposing because of the gray matter. Pretty terrible, right? That wasn't it: the deer had been pregnant with a baby and that baby also died. Somehow, however the gray matter decomposed the bodies, the bear and hound could tell that the deer had died or was still dying with a baby. Horrible. Just horrible. And that was in the first sixty pages or so. I would not recommend this book to anyone. The writing style seemed so juvenile and off that I don't know how it became a book. The plot seemed so half-hearted and didn't really make any sense. It was bad to say the least...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    I actually couldn’t finish this one, so I probably shouldn’t even write a review. All I will say is that it was just very bland and hard to get into. The first 130+ pages were told from the perspective of the Bear and the Hound. I never really got how the two “fell” for each other in this form. It was just a given I guess. I kept hoping that once they transformed into humans it would get better…it didn’t. In fact, Chala (the hound), still seemed too much like a hound. I guess I didn’t like heari I actually couldn’t finish this one, so I probably shouldn’t even write a review. All I will say is that it was just very bland and hard to get into. The first 130+ pages were told from the perspective of the Bear and the Hound. I never really got how the two “fell” for each other in this form. It was just a given I guess. I kept hoping that once they transformed into humans it would get better…it didn’t. In fact, Chala (the hound), still seemed too much like a hound. I guess I didn’t like hearing about hounds and their behaviors all the time. I didn’t really care for her personality, and how she really didn’t like humans at all and was constantly comparing them to hounds. And I didn’t care much for Richon (the bear) either. I never felt anything between the two. I remember not really liking the first book that much, but I thought this one sounded good (and I liked both their covers) so I thought I’d give it a try. It just wasn’t for me.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Chittester

    I was disappointed by this book. I actually skim read it and felt like I didn’t miss anything. The writing was dull and simple; no detail. It felt to me that he story had no life. It had a good premise: a hound, a bear - one human, the other not. Sent back in time to heal the world of bad magic. But, it fell flat. Such a shame.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    I have owned this book for several years at least and I'm trying to read more from my bookshelves this year. I enjoyed the tone of the writing and got attached to the characters. Now I have to decide whether to hunt down the others in the series at the library, since I don't own any of them. I have owned this book for several years at least and I'm trying to read more from my bookshelves this year. I enjoyed the tone of the writing and got attached to the characters. Now I have to decide whether to hunt down the others in the series at the library, since I don't own any of them.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    I don't know what I thought of this book. I started it a while back and grew bored halfway through and set it aside. I decided to finish it and I just couldn't get into it fully. I guess it wasn't for me. I don't know what I thought of this book. I started it a while back and grew bored halfway through and set it aside. I decided to finish it and I just couldn't get into it fully. I guess it wasn't for me.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dlora

    The Bear was once a selfish prince and by animal magic was changed into the shape of a bear. He understands animals a bit, having been a bear for a long time, but he understands humans more. The Hound was magicked into the body of the princess (see The Princess and the Hound, good book!) so she understands humans a bit but understands animals much better. They are thrown together and have to learn to communicate with each other, which isn't just a case of talking but of understanding how animals The Bear was once a selfish prince and by animal magic was changed into the shape of a bear. He understands animals a bit, having been a bear for a long time, but he understands humans more. The Hound was magicked into the body of the princess (see The Princess and the Hound, good book!) so she understands humans a bit but understands animals much better. They are thrown together and have to learn to communicate with each other, which isn't just a case of talking but of understanding how animals and humans think differently, and maybe added in is how males and females think differently? I very much enjoyed this world where animal magic abounds allowing each species to talk and interact with each other. Unfortunately, the unmagic is spreading--killing magic and people, animal and human, alike. The Bear is given a chance to return to the beginning when he was king and more magic existed in the world to try to set things right. The Hound is allowed to choose if she wants to go with him as well, but in a human body. The Bear is a bit reluctant, not wanting her to see how selfish and weak he was then. In fact, he had banned the use of animal magic and punished those who used it because he had no animal magic himself. This animosity between magic users and normal humans, between animal and man, is what he needs to change, so they both go back, and learn that the unmagic, while weaker, is still in the world. I really liked this story with it's fairy tale feeling and coming of age growth for the characters. It seemed a little slow for me at first but the pace picked up as did my interest and enjoyment.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kristi

    Harrison has a very unique story telling ability. One of the things I love about reading so much is being exposed to different writing styles. Harrison has one of the most lyrical and beautiful writing style. The writing itself feels like a fairy tale. Which makes absolutely no sense at all, but I just can't think of how else to describe it. The writing alone is enough to lull you into the story, regardless of what it's actually about. This is more of a companion novel to The Princess and the Hou Harrison has a very unique story telling ability. One of the things I love about reading so much is being exposed to different writing styles. Harrison has one of the most lyrical and beautiful writing style. The writing itself feels like a fairy tale. Which makes absolutely no sense at all, but I just can't think of how else to describe it. The writing alone is enough to lull you into the story, regardless of what it's actually about. This is more of a companion novel to The Princess and the Hound, you wouldn't have to necessarily read The Princess and the Hound, but I would recommend it to better understand some of the aspects in the novel. I do prefer the first novel, but I still really enjoyed reading this story. I didn't quite connect with the characters this time around, this is the type of story where you feel like you are standing on the outside watching the characters instead of experiencing the story with them. Personally, I like experiencing the story with them. I don't think this is a book for everyone. If you enjoy fairy-tale retellings, real fairy tales, not the disney-esque fairy tale, I think you'll enjoy this one. Overall, it's an endearing story that's beautifully written.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    I think I've figured out what makes the difference between being able to suspend my disbelief and not when I read fantasy/magic books. It's the way the author treats it. When the author makes things overly complicated or tries to explain every little detail, it drives me crazy. It's like the author is trying to justify that this really is real and really could happen. Just like a liar does when they tell a tale. Mette doesn't do that. Not at all. Magic is taken totally for granted in her books. I think I've figured out what makes the difference between being able to suspend my disbelief and not when I read fantasy/magic books. It's the way the author treats it. When the author makes things overly complicated or tries to explain every little detail, it drives me crazy. It's like the author is trying to justify that this really is real and really could happen. Just like a liar does when they tell a tale. Mette doesn't do that. Not at all. Magic is taken totally for granted in her books. There are no complicated names for the magic or the way it's done. It just is. Aaaah! So, I really enjoyed her book. I can really see her PhD in Germanic Literature coming through in her writing style. It's not flowery, flashy, or big. Her characters are to the point and show their complexity in a simple way. Amazing. Plus, she does not shy away from grossness. Anyway, I was really glad this book is more of a companion novel than a sequel to The Princess and the Hound because I can't seem to get my hands on the Hound. This one stands on its own. Loved it!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I enjoyed the author's structuring of characters within the confines of their "rules" -- the bear is sentient and initially born a human with an interesting history but cannot speak to the dog in a language per se and the dog is a dog with a dog's view and language but once spent time as a human. These two characters travel together to resolve a need that has arisen which threatens their society -- which is torn between magic and unmagic. Various themes are struggles between good and evil, the v I enjoyed the author's structuring of characters within the confines of their "rules" -- the bear is sentient and initially born a human with an interesting history but cannot speak to the dog in a language per se and the dog is a dog with a dog's view and language but once spent time as a human. These two characters travel together to resolve a need that has arisen which threatens their society -- which is torn between magic and unmagic. Various themes are struggles between good and evil, the value of friendship, acceptance and integrity. I was often surprised by the twists and turns (believable by the author's telling). You may notice I read another book from this author, too. The Princess and the Bear follows a previous book with these same characters, and, although that prior storyline is alluded to, the author (thankfully) does not use this book's space to retell it in its entirety. The Princess and the Bear stands on its own.

  15. 4 out of 5

    JoLee

    The Princess and the Bear is a companion novel to Mettie Ivie Harrison's The Princess and the Hound. In this book, the Hound and the Bear of the first novel must embark on a journey through space and time to thwart the unmagic that is destroying their forest. The Bear must once again face the Wild Man who changed him as a young, arrogant king into a bear. Both the Bear and the Hound take on human form and in doing so discovery that they are more than just a Hound or a Bear, a Princess or a King. The Princess and the Bear is a companion novel to Mettie Ivie Harrison's The Princess and the Hound. In this book, the Hound and the Bear of the first novel must embark on a journey through space and time to thwart the unmagic that is destroying their forest. The Bear must once again face the Wild Man who changed him as a young, arrogant king into a bear. Both the Bear and the Hound take on human form and in doing so discovery that they are more than just a Hound or a Bear, a Princess or a King. This book was ok. It took me a while to get into the story. However, I do like Harrison's prose.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    I really did enjoy this book, but I felt that it somehow just shy of how great the first book was. I am looking forward to the third book in the trilogy. I do have to say that I enjoyed the love story between Richon and Chala more so than Marit and George.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

       I really, really enjoyed this book. Somehow it felt a faster read than The Princess and the Hound (The Hound Saga #1), and I am not sure if that is because Richon went through what felt like slightly less introspection – likely due to the structure of the story, which had the point of view switching each chapter between Richon and the hound – or more because there was more physical movement/action in the story. It read like a fast-paced yet full story, and I blew through it in only about 4 d    I really, really enjoyed this book. Somehow it felt a faster read than The Princess and the Hound (The Hound Saga #1), and I am not sure if that is because Richon went through what felt like slightly less introspection – likely due to the structure of the story, which had the point of view switching each chapter between Richon and the hound – or more because there was more physical movement/action in the story. It read like a fast-paced yet full story, and I blew through it in only about 4 days. Though I have to say, I think a better title might be, “The King and the Hound”, as this was more of Richon’s story than the hound’s story, despite the hound’s pivotal and important role in it.    This story picks up right where The Princess and the Hound left off, with the bear and the hound hesitant yet constant companions in the woods. While they cannot speak to each other in either the language of the hounds (for the bear does not understand) nor in the language of the bears (for the bear does not speak it), nor even in the human language (for neither can form the words), they are able to read each other’s moods and body language quite well. I did wonder why they did not utilize writing more than they did, as it seems that the hound did learn some written language in her time as Princess Beatrice. They live together in peace, until a cat man comes and begins spreading unmagic in their forest. Unmagic drains and ultimately kills all it touches, and it is spreading in the land. Both the bear and the hound feel it, and when Prince George and Princess Marit are unable to do anything about it, the bear and the hound undertake a journey to find the wild man – the same wild man who turned King Richon into the bear two hundred years prior.    Despite the bear’s best efforts, the hound is with him when he finally reaches the wild man. Through the wild man’s great magic, they are sent back in time to just after King Richon was originally turned into a bear, with the understanding that now King Richon will have to prove himself the king, regain his kingdom, and find and destroy the source of the unmagic in that time.    Ultimately, the story roped me in and did not let me go. This despite how I found it to have a short-term predictability that was also oddly enough fulfilling. From one event to another I could get a general idea of what was going to happen based on the clues the author gives us, usually because of the nature of fairy tale style. Often when this happens in a book, it can be annoying as it pulls me out of the story. However, the fact that things did come to be as more-or-less expected instead gave me a sense of fulfillment, not annoyance; for the way that the foreshadowing was done and then fulfilled was true to the style of a fairy tale, while also incorporating more modern themes at the same time. I would say that the content of the fairy tale story did not merely make nods to, but rather gave full-handshakes to modernity. There were elements both of your typical medieval-fantasy setting, but the ideas that went through it – the thoughts of King Richon and Chala and the themes about the nature of magic and man – had a decidedly modern bent to them. This twisting of old and new worked really well I found, as it provided me with a sense of reading a straight-up fairy tale while still fulfilling my desire to see modern ideals of humanity and acceptance represented in a story.    As for the rest of my opinionated comments, well, I’ll leave those scattered throughout the quotes section below, as very specific scenes contributed to specific thoughts and deductions. Quotes:    For a time [the wild cat] stopped longing for the forest and the life that had been his. He simply enjoyed each moment, for that is the way that a cat is, and every animal. Men might think of the future or the past, but for animals there is only this moment, and then the next one. – page 4    Far easier to be a hound, [the hound thought]. Unless one is not a hound. -- page 44    “[…] And more than that – I worry for their futures.” [The mother said of her three children.]    The bear ached at this thought. He had not known how much he wanted a child until he realized he would never have one. A bear cub would never be a substitute, for it would only remind him of all that it was not. – page 76 – This part threw me briefly out of the story, as it seemed very forced – not much at all like what we know of the bear/King Richon from his tale, from The Princess and the Hound, and what we have read of him so far.    [Sharla said gently,] “Only that there is animal magic in all of us, and the more we have of it, the more magic we have. We should seek it out, for it is that which makes us truly alive.” – page 80 – (emphasis added)    The hound did not know how to answer [the man Frant’s question]. Hounds expected death. Humans found it a surprise, as if life could exist without death alongside it, as if all death were the death of unmagic. – page 83    [The wild man continued, “] But I still fight [the unmagic].    “Because while I cannot stop it entirely, I can delay it. With each victory I hold back the power of the unmagic to allow magic for another year, or another century, or two centuries to allow more children to find the happiness that only comes from the play of magic in the forest, more animals to see humans not as enemy but as kin.    “Yet I find myself growing weak.”    […]    “It is not time for the magic to end,” the wild man continued. “So while I no longer have the strength to leave this place and go to do the work of magic out there”—the wild man waved behind them, down the mountain—“I can still bring those who are necessary to me and use them to help me gain back another decade – or more.” – page 102-103    (view spoiler)[But [the hound] was already speaking. “Send me as a woman, for then we will be able to share far more than we do now. And in understanding him, I will be able to help him more.”    The bear felt as though he were drowning. She offered him so much of herself, more than he had to give back to her. – page 112 – Kind of a… classic “trope” in romance, if you will, where the woman is willing to give up a lot for a man who feels he is wholly undeserving of her sacrifice and love.    Richon flushed. “I care about [my kingdom]. I care about nothing else.”    Not entirely the truth, but perhaps as much as he was willing to say aloud. That was the way it was with humans. They did not speak the full truth. They held it back always, so they could appear different than they were. – page 124    “You are angry with me?” asked Richon. “Because I was too eager to feed myself first?”    “No, of course not. Why should I be angry with that?” […Richon the boy] had every right to eat what he had caught himself. And no reason to think of her while eating. Another hound certainly would not.    “It was not…chivalrous,” said Richon.    “You need not use those rules with me. I am not a human woman,” said Chala coolly.    “But you are a human woman.” Richon nodded to her body. “Or at least the others will think you are. If I do not treat you well, they will take it as license to treat you badly. And they will not think well of me, either.” – page 139-140 – “Enlightened” Richon! Before his transformation into a bear, I doubt he would have thought of this; but now, it is foremost on his mind as he actively tries to change who and what he is. It is also an echo of how Chala was treated when she was “Princess Beatrice” in King Helm’s castle – the king treated her poorly, and then so too did the nobility.    Also, Chala mentions somewhere how she is about seven seasons old as a hound, and no longer on the young side of life exactly –which means she is roughly 49 years old in human years, while Richon is only about 17 (gained the thrown at 14 and was king for 3 years before being turned into a bear). Since her human body is the equivalent of her hound body – it is her own -- then it would stand to reason that her human body is most likely in her 40s; Richon has 200 years of life in his 17-year-old body. What I found somewhat difficult to reconcile about her age by the end of the book is (view spoiler)[ that in the epilogue, it says that Richon and Chala ruled “happily for many years,” and they found a “young woman” named Halee to take over for them. Given those descriptions and being generous, I would guess that they ruled for around 25 years, putting Halee somewhere in her 30s, Richon about 42, and therefore Chala about 65 or so. I don’t so much have any problems with their ages themselves, but in how things worked out time-wise for them. We are not given any visible indications that they have aged, and they sound much like the people they were at the “end” of the story; plus, there is the wild man (who seems curiously aged given that Richon and Chala went back in time – maybe on his mountain, time flows differently, and on this final visit they stepped into the wild man’s future?) not only giving Chala his magic, but also saying that she will be able to have a child when the time is right. This sounds rather like the story of Abram and Sarah in the Bible, where Sarah was well-past child bearing age, but God granted her a child in her old age – I draw this correlation for the similarity, but also that Ms. Harrison also has a series, “Linda Wallheim Mystery” which follows a devout Mormon woman/mother/and wife of a bishop – which seems like it has a heavy religious influence. Back to topic, given all of that, the ages and ageing of Richon and Chala just seemed strange, and a bit too fluid, even considering that they had gone back in time by grace of magic. (hide spoiler)]    “I will come,” said Halee [the girl whose family had animal magic but she did not. …]    “Now!” said the brother impatiently. Then he added, “You’ll never get your magic unless you learn to obey.”    It seemed a cruel thing to Richon to promise the girl something that would never come to her. – page 151 – So it is with anyone who perceives that because they have a certain ability or material object, that they are “better” than someone who does not have it. Also, I wonder if indeed this is a case where the girl will never have magic? I am starting to wonder, if Richon’s parents did both have magic as he seems to be starting to suspect, if he has latent magical abilities too, which he had just suppressed and ignored even if they did already try to make an appearance.    I am a murderer, Richon thought. What must Chala think of him now?    But telling the people of his identity and allowing himself to be punished would not bring back this man’s son. All he could do now was to ensure more men’s sons did not die, either because of their magic or because of the war at the border. And he could work to become a king this town deserved. – page 183 – (emphasis added) Good evidence of how Richon has matured over his two centuries as a bear, and also reminiscent of Prince George’s deductions about how best to serve his people. Sometimes the only way to right wrongs is not in receiving punishment, but in taking action to change the way things are and will be in the future.    Even with the bear [Chala] had been able to see what he felt in his stance, and smell it in his breath. But with this man she was at a loss. – page 190-191 – I found it interesting how for both Chala and Richon, at the beginning they found it much easier to read each other as they were – Richon thought Chala the hound was much more expressive and had every emotion and thought written across her face, but Chala the human woman was less expressive and much more of an enigma. Goes to show how we get accustomed to reading people’s expressions as we first know their form, but change the form and suddenly their facial map also changes?    This was the last thing [Richon] had expected [from a villager]. Anger or jealousy, yes. But pity?    “[The king] did not see how little he ruled the kingdom, I think. He believed he made the laws and the people listened to him. Perhaps those who lived in more far-reaching places believed that, too. But those of us who were near enough the palace—we saw the truth. He was a boy being pulled by a nose ring, like a pig to the slaughter. And he had not the least idea of it.”    “He should have known it. He should have been stronger,” said Richon darkly. “That was his duty, as king.”    The blacksmith sighed. “Yes. We all have our duties and we all fail in them at one time or another. Some fail more than others, I suppose.” He held up his one hand. “And some are given more obstacles to overcome. But I do not blame him. He was used as much as any of us were.” – page 200-201    “Some say it’s those who have the strongest magic who hold it back the most,” said the patch-eyed man. – page 217 – Hmm, I’m thinking Richon will fall into this category, for sure.    “So, the magic is there in us,” said Richon wonderingly, “whether we know of it or not. It is part of us.”    “Or are we part of it?” asked Chala.    “Yes,” said Richon, half smiling. “The closer you are to magic, the more difficult it is to draw the line between what is magic and what is not.” – page 239 – (emphasis added)   Richon nodded. “Because a woman would not be allowed in any army.”   “Why not?” asked Chala. “If she is good enough, would they not welcome another warrior on their side? It would be foolish not to.”   Richon thought of all the reasons that he might give for this. The rules he had learned from boyhood. That a woman, no matter how strong, is not as strong as a man. That the male warriors would be distracted at the sight of a woman. That a woman in an army would cause the men to compete among themselves for her attention. That a woman simply did not belong on the battlefield—that her place was inside the walls of a palace, wearing fine clothes and drinking good wine while the men outside decided what flag she would swear allegiance to.   “Think of the last time you left me behind,” said Chala. “And if you would do that again.”   Richon burned at the memory. Chala had let him wound her very badly, and then had done what she wished to do anyway.   If he tried to do the same here, he did not doubt it would have the same outcome. – page 254-255 – (emphasis added) Once again, a blunt example of modern-day ideals and logic are applicable in a fairy tale/historical setting, whereas the characters (especially the men involved) take an “enlightened” view of the people and situations presented, much as Prince George acted through The Princess and the Hound (The Hound Saga #1). Also an echo of more classic romance tropes in selected books, where the man intentionally hurts the woman, whether physically or not, and still she continues to follow him.   Still, there had been one man King Seltar had found worthy of a truly terrible punishment. He had been a nobleman who had defiled two young servant girls. – page 287 – This entire passage/story of what the nobleman did, and his immediate punishment as received directly from King Seltar. It brooks no argument, stays no hand, and justice such as it is is swift and irrevocable. In one way, it is the perfect reference for Richon to make in regards to his judgment and punishment of the lord chamberlain, but what’s more is the underlying message from the author to the readers: that this sort of behavior should never be tolerated, and that punishments should be swift and fit the crime with finality. But probably not necessarily that death is the only punishment ever fitting for such a crime, as immediate death for sins committed fits in more with the rules of fairy tale punishments than modern day punishments.   […] more than one man came to offer his service to Richon, for whatever was needed. Richon directed this man and others back to the palace. He needed people who were loyal to him there, and he did not much care if they had been wellborn or not. He cared that they were good and that they respected animal magic, as he did now. – page 291   Even this pain [pouring her magic into the cat man’s unmagic] was life. She savored it, and pressed that feeling against the cat man. […]   […] Chala did not regret her choice.   The wonderful new power she had shared with Richon, to change freely from animal to human, had not lasted long, after all. And now she had given it up, not for him or his kingdom but for the future world that would have been threatened by the cat man’s continued existence.   To no longer be a hound, that was a loss she would have to come to accept. But to never be human again, to lose Richon, to return to what she had been – she could never have come to accept that. – page 296-298   [Richon] reached for her hands and looked into her eyes. “I am not a child who is crying for a sweet fallen in the dirt. I have weathered other changes, and I will weather this one. We will weather it together, you and I. And no doubt it will make us stronger and better, whether we wish to be or not.” – page 302 (emphasis added) (hide spoiler)]

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lillysnow

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I loved reading this book so much that the pages absolutely flew by. This is a book that you can get so into you feel like you're in the fantasy Germanic forest that Mette Ivie Harrison dreamed up. It's a beautiful fairytale that sucks you in so completely you can hardly stand to put it down. The visual language was so wonderful that all I want to do is grab my colored pencils and draw every scene. I read this book for the first time back in middle school, though it probably should have been for I loved reading this book so much that the pages absolutely flew by. This is a book that you can get so into you feel like you're in the fantasy Germanic forest that Mette Ivie Harrison dreamed up. It's a beautiful fairytale that sucks you in so completely you can hardly stand to put it down. The visual language was so wonderful that all I want to do is grab my colored pencils and draw every scene. I read this book for the first time back in middle school, though it probably should have been for slightly older audiences. It walks that weird line of violence and sexual themes, where it's not adult by any means, but there's just enough blood and guts and talk of relations between characters that I was surprised it had been shelved with books meant for readers younger than YA. I mean, she was born a hound and he was born a human, and even though they're both human at the end, it is weird to think about the connotations of that. Also the deaths weren't pretty. The way Harrison tackles the topics of mutilation, dead bodies, and war fits perfectly in that Grimm fairytale genre. She isn't overly gross with anything, but she also isn't one to sugarcoat. But enough of the heavy parts of the book. Let's get into the story itself. First things first, even though this is the second book in the series, you don't need to read the first book to understand it. Think of it more as a book set in the same universe, rather than a second book. In fact, I haven't picked this book up in years, and I was able to get back into the plot without touching the first book again. The characters are what makes this book. Richon and Chala are just so well written. You can easily place yourself in their shoes from Harrison's writing. She shows them first as the Bear and the Hound, building up their unusual partnership by starting in the middle. The Hound has been a human for a bit but was returned to her hound form before the book began. The Bear has been cursed to be a bear for two hundred years. They haven't known each other all that long, especially compared to the Bear's lifespan, but in that time they've come to need one another. They can't communicate quite, but that doesn't stop them from trying. The time they spend as bear and hound are well written, but the best parts come after the wild man has transformed them back into humans to defeat the unmagic threatening their world. Richon has been trapped as a bear for two centuries, and fears that the moment he's back to being human that he will revert back to his old spoiled personality. Chala has been human more recently, but she spent most of her life as a hound, and she worries that she can never quite feel comfortable in either form. Both have their own challenges to deal with internally, as well as the overarching plot of fixing the magic of this world. This story reminded me a little of Beauty and the Beast, but it is not a retelling of that tale by any means. Beauty and the Beast focuses on learning to love, while The Princess and the Bear focuses on learning to be human. The magic system and worldbuilding isn't all that complex, but it didn't need to be. There was even time-traveling, which usually bothers me, but it didn't mess with the book's plot. And after trying to understand the complex magic system of V.E. Schwab's "A Darker Shade of Magic" series, this was a breath of fresh air. Simple, easy to understand. It isn't this airtight, perfect magic system, but it retains some of the beauty of magic and fairytale worlds by remaining pretty open to interpretation. I just can't express how fantastic this book was. I would recommend reading this whenever you're in the mood for something with classic fairytale vibes. Trust me, this book is worth picking up.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Marsha

    This story is meant to be a companion to The Princess and the Hound rather than a sequel; notes by the author state it could be a standalone story. However, I found it very hard to understand some things. The bear was once a selfish prince; that much was clear. The story behind the hound was much harder to understand. Was she a princess who’d been turned into a hound, liked it so much that she found it hard to readjust to being a princess and was therefore thrilled to be a beast again? Or was sh This story is meant to be a companion to The Princess and the Hound rather than a sequel; notes by the author state it could be a standalone story. However, I found it very hard to understand some things. The bear was once a selfish prince; that much was clear. The story behind the hound was much harder to understand. Was she a princess who’d been turned into a hound, liked it so much that she found it hard to readjust to being a princess and was therefore thrilled to be a beast again? Or was she a hound who’d been switched with a human being and therefore found herself a dog in a human’s body, a situation she detested? While I was scratching my head over that puzzle, I was trying to understand the nature of the magic itself. Unlike stories that posit magic strictly for some people and not others (think J.K. Rowling), here was a power that could be drawn on by practically everybody once they knew how. Once that was out of the way (and I learned to ignore the mystery of the hound/princess deal), I found myself thoroughly immersed in the story. This wasn’t the magic of powerful spells and light shows. No one here was calling down lightning or lifting objects with the power of their mind. This was magic that was firmly rooted in nature and could therefore be used by humans who spoke to natural things. People could call earthworms to till the soil, they could ask animals to hunt with them or turn themselves into beasts as easily as you could shrug on or doff clothing. The book is a quest through time as the titular characters attempt to stop the spread of unmagic throughout the land and a spoiled prince learns to become a proper king. The tale soberly takes you in and refashions the world anew, as you travel with Chala and Richon through varying landscapes and different peoples. It’s a romance but not one overbrimming with passion; after all, these two have a job to do and focusing on each other takes second place to that. It was a mindset I found myself agreeing with and it made perfect sense. One of the things I can’t stand in contemporary romances is when romantic leads give themselves over to their concupiscence while assassins are trying to kill them. This is a novel of steady power, with magic central to the plot but grounded in a kind of realism that makes the enchantment plausible and relatable. The connection between Richon and Chala was believable too; the love between them was one forged of understanding and long relationship. Not a bad story although the confusion about the hound lessens my appreciation of it.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Shra

    There is no such thing as unmagic! That is NOT a word, you cannot use such a term in a book, it makes no sense. A void, a place without magic, but this is like the whole matter/antimatter dynamic, they can't be here at the same time. You could use dark magic, or death magic, or twisted magic, or the cat man might have been a necromancer... at most I could admit to him being "the unmaker" or "the unravaler", but only if it is a position like a god and goddess of creation and destruction, a necess There is no such thing as unmagic! That is NOT a word, you cannot use such a term in a book, it makes no sense. A void, a place without magic, but this is like the whole matter/antimatter dynamic, they can't be here at the same time. You could use dark magic, or death magic, or twisted magic, or the cat man might have been a necromancer... at most I could admit to him being "the unmaker" or "the unravaler", but only if it is a position like a god and goddess of creation and destruction, a necessary part of the equation of life (but that would mean that he could not be destroyed, or if he could that his power would simply transfer to a new host, because if magic is everywhere and will always exist then so must it's counterpart). However it is specifically stated that the cat man is an anomaly that must be destroyed... thereby proving he is a mistake in the grand design of the universe... thereby proving that he is not a soldier for the negative side of all creation... thereby proving that unmagic is NOT the same as the Phoenix Force, NOT the opposite of magic, in which case it cannot be named the opposing force as the "name" unmagic would suggest... which is why no other book that I know of has used the term "unmagic" because there is simply no such thing. Now, if he was a regular, or more powerful than average magic user than it could have been said that he was consuming or stealing the magic from the world and collecting it within himself (or magical objects, though there is no evidence that the cat man has any possessions at all) then that would have been acceptable, and still would have left a void or empty space in the magic (which you could compare to the magic in Magic Study, in which case this story would have a precedent as to how there can be a spot on your map where magic is missing/unavailable to you, and not be completely ridiculous) that the animals would still be compelled to correct, thus allowing the entire story to continue in the same manner as it is written. All in all, it would have been better to write about the struggle between good and bad/light and dark magic instead, because as the book shows there are truly very few instances in which magic is used for harm. Which is the reason the "unmagic" was mentioned at all, meaning that the author simply tried to replace the old overused idea of bad magic with the idea of an opposite to magic. A foolish hypothesis in my opinion especially with the belief that every living thing in this book possesses magic. If it were to be written that there was an opposite to magic (one that is not another form of magic, and if you forget that science and religion are already opposites of magic in many cases) then it would simply have to be something like the Phoenix Force (MARVEL Comics), as in, it would need to be given it's own unique name, not just a prefix on a preexisting term, and the process of using/spreading it would have to be explained, since it sure seems like the cat man goes through the exact same process for using unmagic as one would to use magic. Likewise, how exactly would the unmagic be contained to a glove to be worn by the horse trainer? Magic can be bound to an object, but given that unmagic is simply a hole in the fabric of magic how can one use a hole to make another hole? If you were to carry around a black hole could you use it to create more black holes all over the universe? (I actually don't know if that would be a No answer, since it's never been mentioned in any Star Trek I've seen, or on The Big Bang Theory for that matter) You would need a tool to make the holes, so all in all it is not very well explained, and I wouldn't think this author knows much about the theory of magic as can be researched in hundreds of newly published books every year, if not some of the older ones (which would really be more useful, since all of the new books in the last 10 years or more are just as uninformed and shoddy as this one) By now I think you get my argument about the term "unmagic", so I will move on to a few other complaints. First of all, this could have been easily written as from the perspective of only animals like the Warriors series, of which I have found very few books similar to despite the first Warriors series being one of the best books I have ever read (I rank it next to Harry Potter and Artemis Fowl), especially for younger readers. There are very few books that are rated properly these days and with only five or so changes in a sentence here or there this book could have been presented to elementary students, though it still would be below their reading level if our schools are functioning properly. Second, since the relationship between the bear and the hound began as a friendship there was truly no reason to make it more, especially since everything about their wedding and rule of the kingdom was rushed. Making it all an unimportant footnote that it seems was not intended as a major part of the story is the same as writing a scene that should have been edited out. Likewise they did well as friends/companions there was no need to tell another story about lovers, life isn't always about marriage and children, there are plenty of adventures that just friends can have together (and if that part had been left out this book would have been acceptable for all ages, giving it a completely different target audience. Is that not a good trade? Rewrite the last ten pages or so and sell a couple thousand more copies? How is that not a win?). Third, length. Congratulations on over 300 pages, though by what? 20ish with a large font? Given that the characters are the same as the first book, and likely they all have a part to play in what follows, combining the story all into one would have made one book twice as long. Anyone who won't read a book because it's too long at 500 pages doesn't really like to read. If its a problem you could have added divider pages to it that say part one/part two (or book one/book two if you prefer). I have to say that I would never have purchased this book if it had not been available to me for $1 brand new at the dollar store, at least this way I can sell it for $2 at a garage sale... I highly doubt I will read the rest of this series, but if I do I am sure I will have much the same to say as I did today. A disappointment to the written word and the only reason it has two stars instead of one is because with me one star ratings are reserved for the books that deeply offended me or make me want to tear said book to shreds. *P.S. anyone who reads a review NOT looking for spoilers is a fool, especially online reviews. If you don't know from the info on the back/cover flaps/product description if you want to read it or not then you are obviously trying to research what kind of things happen in the book, WHICH IS LOOKING FOR SPOILERS, so people need to stop writing "Spoiler Alert" on everything or complaining about spoilers.*

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jaycee Limutau

    Okay so I rounded up because over all I enjoyed the story quite a lot. The first half of the book that was a bit of a drudgery for me. It starts out where the first book ends with the bear and hound choosing to be companions. The chapters go back and forth between their perspectives which was slow and annoying and wondering where is the author going with this. I felt like the author could have done better at merging the storytelling and building the characters relationship in the beginning. Then Okay so I rounded up because over all I enjoyed the story quite a lot. The first half of the book that was a bit of a drudgery for me. It starts out where the first book ends with the bear and hound choosing to be companions. The chapters go back and forth between their perspectives which was slow and annoying and wondering where is the author going with this. I felt like the author could have done better at merging the storytelling and building the characters relationship in the beginning. Then all of a sudden it started to get good, really good and it all came together. I’m so grateful as a reader! At the beginning of the story I wasn’t sure if I was going to finish the story let alone read the next book in the series where now, after the end, I most definitely will.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Karin

    I've had this one on my queue for years and I read the first book so long ago, that I don't remember it at all. It is a good thing this is a companion rather than a sequel or I would have been really lost. I loved this book. It was a super romantic story, but not in the traditional sense. Their love grew over many years and they were helpmeets rather than a damsel in distress. The way the story was told was interesting, but the story itself was a slow burn and it was simply lovely. I adored the I've had this one on my queue for years and I read the first book so long ago, that I don't remember it at all. It is a good thing this is a companion rather than a sequel or I would have been really lost. I loved this book. It was a super romantic story, but not in the traditional sense. Their love grew over many years and they were helpmeets rather than a damsel in distress. The way the story was told was interesting, but the story itself was a slow burn and it was simply lovely. I adored the characters and their growth. I think one of the things that I loved so much was that even though this is YA fiction, these characters are fully mature adults with a past.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Heidi J.

    Probably 2.5 stars. I might have liked it better if I had read the first book (didn't realize it was a sequel of sorts until I was a few chapters in). It wasn't a bad book, I just struggled to connect with or care about the main characters. And midway through the book it grew so bleak that I put it down and had little interest in picking it back up. It does eventually resolve things, but this story did not move me much at all. Probably 2.5 stars. I might have liked it better if I had read the first book (didn't realize it was a sequel of sorts until I was a few chapters in). It wasn't a bad book, I just struggled to connect with or care about the main characters. And midway through the book it grew so bleak that I put it down and had little interest in picking it back up. It does eventually resolve things, but this story did not move me much at all.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sammi

    I didn’t really like this book. The introduction was just too long and it took forever for anything to happen. I also had a lot of trouble with the way the characters were referred to in the story. Just wasn’t really a book for me. I think I read the first one forever ago when my book preferences were different.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Solid fantasy novel and a stunning follow up to The Princess and The Hound. I enjoyed it more than the first book and I think this was due to the struggle between the characters to define human or animal rather. As they come to accept themselves and their nature they grow as characters and teach a valuable lesson.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Audry

    It was a little slow going in the beginning. I think maybe it would be better to read the first book first. A lot of references from the first book, which I hadn't read. I couldn't figure out if Chala was originally really a hound or a woman until the end. I would have liked to have seen how Richon changed the kingdom and the obstacles he faced. It was a little slow going in the beginning. I think maybe it would be better to read the first book first. A lot of references from the first book, which I hadn't read. I couldn't figure out if Chala was originally really a hound or a woman until the end. I would have liked to have seen how Richon changed the kingdom and the obstacles he faced.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lydia

    I had forgotten much of the events in The Princess and the Hound but couldn't resist the urge to continue this series. This story continues to be well-written and adorable. I had forgotten much of the events in The Princess and the Hound but couldn't resist the urge to continue this series. This story continues to be well-written and adorable.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Meg

    not as good as the first but still worht the read!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Isolde Oneil

    These are young adult books but the stories are ageless. I enjoyed this for it's pure simplicity. Calm but refreshing. These are young adult books but the stories are ageless. I enjoyed this for it's pure simplicity. Calm but refreshing.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Caity

    This was an interesting premise but overall I found the writing style and the characters to be dull.

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