Magdalena Hai: Kerjäläisprinsessa [The Beggar Princess]

24 January 2013 | Mini reviews, Reviews

[The Beggar Princess]
Helsinki: Karisto, 2012. 188 pp.
ISBN 978-951-23-5593-8
€23.90, hardback

Kerjäläisprinsessa by the pseudonymous Magdalena Hai (born 1978) is a steampunk-esque novel for young teens that utilises an inventive alternative version of history. It is set in Greenland in the 1860s, where a community of settlers established by the Vikings has survived a minor ice age. The royal family were forced into exile, but the king is more interested in building curious inventions than saving the nation of Umbrovia. Strange robots and steam-powered inventions liven up the convoluted adventure. Princess Gigi has had to grow up as the object of everyone’s undivided attention. She befriends Henry, a boy from a poor family, and sets about saving her country from a looming threat. There is humour in this book, particularly in the character of Mussovitz, a werewolf: he has an idiosyncratic lisping manner of speaking. It remains to be seen whether Umbrovia will emerge as a nation ruled by powerful women in the subsequent titles in this series.
Translated by Ruth Urbom


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