The Princess Pawn


299 pages
ISBN 1-894549-29-5
DDC C813'.6





Reviewed by Kristin Butcher

Kristin Butcher writes novels for young adults. Her most recent works
are Cairo Kelly and the Mann, The Gamma War, The Tomorrow Tunnel, The
Trouble with Liberty, and Zee’s Way.


Reminiscent of the Watcher’s Quest Trilogy by Margaret Buffie, The
Princess Pawn is constructed around the notion of parallel worlds and
identities, with survival dependent upon winning a game. In this case,
the game is chess, and the pieces are members of two royal families
reluctantly pitted against one another by Nazeral, a nasty immortal elf
who has created the game for no other reason than to relieve his
boredom. It is up to Willow to defeat him. Sent as an infant with her
nurse from mediaeval, magical Mistolear to modern Earthworld to speed up
her aging process, a 14-year-old Willow returns three months later, and
with the aid of Brand Lackwulf (a knight in shining armour), Malvin (a
mage apprentice), and Gemma Fletcher (a poor commoner with a huge
heart), Willow takes her place in the game as the princess pawn. With
the help of the wisdom talisman bestowed upon her by her elfin nether
mother, Cyrraena, and the laptop computer she brought with her from
Earthworld, Willow finds a way for everyone to win the game.

Wood has crafted a wonderful story. The plot, though complicated, is
clearly presented and engages the reader from the outset. Character
development is also excellent. While the inhabitants of Mistolear speak
and act in a mediaeval manner, Willow maintains a personality consistent
with her Earth upbringing, and this contrast provides a welcome change
of pace and tone to the story. Fantasy lovers, and even those who are
not, will enjoy this provocative tale. Highly recommended.


Wood, Maggie L., “The Princess Pawn,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 19, 2024,