This review was originally published at Good Reads.
Two Moon Princess by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban is about a princess named Andrea who travels from her planet, Xarens-Ra, to our planet – California, to be exact – through a mysterious door hidden inside a cave. It is more fantasy than sci-fi, though, and we don’t actually find out how the door works. But it opens whenever there is a full moon in both worlds at the same time, and on Xarens-Ra, both moons (called Athos and Lua) must be full for it to open.
Andrea’s mother and uncle are actually from Earth and had travelled through the door to Xarens-Ra many years before. Her uncle travels back and forth frequently and one day Andrea follows him to the Cove of the Dead, where hte hidden door is located. She is transported to California and spends about a month there, and then accidentally returns to her world with a friend in tow. Upon her return she discovers that her kingdom and a neighboring kingdom called Suavia are on the brink of war. The arrival of her friend John and his immediate infatuation with the Princess Rosa (Andrea’s sister) causes even more problems, since she was promised to the king of Suavia.
Since Andrea and John came back to Xarens-Ra accidentally, Andrea feels responsible for preventing the impending war. That is pretty much the bulk of the story – Andrea, her uncle and the Suavian king’s brother all working together to prevent the war from happening.
The whole time Andrea – who would have rather been a page and not a proper lady – wants to go back to California desperately. I know that was a rather long summary, but it’s Andrea’s accidental return that sets the stage for the second half of the book, which is when some important things happen (plot-wise, anyway).
I would have liked for there to be some more world building, especially with regards to how Andrea’s ancestors found the door and how they had interacted with the indigenous people, the Xarens.
This story was inspired by the author’s journey from her home country of Spain to the US, and how she had felt like a stranger when she returned home. Andrea never really felt like she belonged even before she had discovered the secret door to California. She never really loses that feeling, but by the end of the story she realizes that there are bigger things than her personal desires. There is even a part where she says that her wishes essentially led to disasters. I thought she was being a little hard on herself, though.
Her eventual romantic interest was a little unexpected, but now I realize there were a couple of hints. I would have liked to have spent a little more time with them after Andrea finally realizes that he loves her and not her sister.
I really hope there will be a sequel, as I would love to see how the two kingdoms on Xarens-Ra deal with their new peace, and if the truth about the Xarens people is ever discovered, and if anyone on Earth or Xarens-Ra will figure out how the door works, and who (or what) put it there.
I also thought it was nice that the fantasy world was based on Spanish culture, which is a bit different, at least given the YA fantasy I have read so far.
It’s a nice fantasy story about a young woman learning to accept herself for who she is, and about navigating two incredibly different cultures. I ended up liking this one a lot.