The Tin Princess

by Philip Pullman

Hardcover, 1994

Status

Available

Local notes

Fic Pul

Collection

Publication

Knopf Books for Young Readers (1994), Edition: First Edition, 290 pages. $16.00.

Description

In 1882 sixteen-year-old Becky applies for a tutoring job in London and becomes embroiled in assassination, intrigue, and dangerous politics in the small European kingdom of Razkavia.

Language

Original language

English

Original publication date

1994

Physical description

290 p.; 5.75 x 1 inches

ISBN

067984757X / 9780679847571

Barcode

423

User reviews

LibraryThing member fyrefly98
Summary: Jim Taylor has been searching for Adelaide, the young girl who he and Sally Lockhart rescued from the cruel Mrs. Holland, since she disappeared at the end of The Ruby in the Smoke. Now he's found her... just as she's about to become a Princess! She's been secretly married to the youngest son of Razkavia, a tiny country sandwiched between Germany and Austria. When the prince's older brother is assassinated, he and Adelaide must return to Razkavia, taking with them Jim, and Becky Winter, a bright young lady who will act as Adelaide's tutor. However, they arrive to a country in turmoil, for it seems there is a conspiracy afoot to steal the throne away from its rightful owner. Any internal instability carries with it the threat of invasion from one of Razkavia's powerful neighbors, and Becky, Jim, and Adelaide must do everything in their power to prevent that from happening.

Review: While this book is listed as the fourth book in the Sally Lockhart series, it's not really a direct sequel, and Sally herself only shows up for two brief chapters. While this does mean that this book would be readable without having read the preceeding three (Jim and Adelaide's history is explained well enough for this book to stand on its own), it was also somewhat disappointing: Sally was definitely the best part of the earlier books, and her absence was sorely missed.

Becky could have been a worthy successor to Sally. They're both bright, independent, resourseful, and unwilling to take "no" for an answer just because they're a woman. However, the book split its focus between Becky and Adelaide as its co-heroines, which was unfortunate, since Adelaide didn't work for me at all. I didn't buy her near-overnight transformation from a Cockney whore to a gifted diplomat, and I didn't find her nearly as charming as all of the other characters did, mostly because we're not really given any evidence of her skills or affability, but just expected to take them on faith. This also meant that the romantic storyline between Jim and Adelaide fell flat for me; I spent the whole book thinking that he'd have been much better off with Becky.

Other than that, however, I did mostly enjoy the story, especially towards the middle/end as both the conspiracy and the adventure started to pick up. In some parts, I think Pullman was relying on his readers being more conversant with pre-World War I European politics than I am, but I managed to muddle through well enough, and the main points of the plot were perfectly clear (eventually. It is supposed to be a conspiracy mystery, after all.) Overall, I'd put it about on par with The Ruby in the Smoke; it's got better pacing but less well-developed and compelling characters. The Tiger in the Well is still far and away my favorite, though. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: It's not really a must-read for anybody, but if Victorian mysteries are your thing, or you like conspiracies involving royal successions, then you'd probably find The Tin Princess to be an enjoyable read.
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LibraryThing member atreic
A surprisingly bleak offshoot of the Sally Lockheart series. A very far fetched plot rips through a whole host of middle-European stereotypes, but the ending is only half resolved - the heros come nearer to failing to save the day than I expected. Also, it feels retrospectively fitted - I don't believe that Adelaide had always loved Jim from the minute she saw him when they were both kids and urchins.… (more)
LibraryThing member MuseofIre
Moderately successful attempt to go back to the milieu of Philip Pullman's Sally Lockhart trilogy. What I like about Pullman's books is their core of emotional toughness -- there are no easy choices, no safe paths. Jim Taylor, previously one of Sally's sidekicks, here the hero, is a gambler, a private detective, a writer of penny dreadfuls, interested in excitement, danger, and violence -- rather meaty stuff for YAs. The plot resembles The Prisoner of Zenda in its presentation of the political tribulations of an imaginary Mittel European country. Unfortunately, Sally is only present in cameos, and 16-year-old Becky, while fine in her way, is not a compelling substitute; and although entertaining, the character of Adelaide is not remotely plausible.… (more)
LibraryThing member extrajoker
first line: "Rebecca Winter, gifted, cheerful, and poor, had lived sixteen years without once seeing a bomb go off."

While this addition to the Sally Lockhart series isn't as compelling as those featuring Sally herself, The Tin Princess is still a recommended, entertaining read. And it's Philip Pullman, so of course the characters are well-developed, the story is imaginative, and the writing is top-notch.… (more)
LibraryThing member rachellwin
Becky is a Razkavian ex-pat living in Oxford, England when the incognito prince of Razkavia hires her to be his cockney English wife's tutor. Becky is taken to Razkavia with the prince and his wife when the prince's older brother and wife are killed. Adventure, intrigue, and romance ensue as the cockney queen is charged with running the little Bavarian nation. The plot seems haphazard at points and the intrigue a little predictable, but the adventure is fun, and the romance satisfying. Both Becky and the queen are immensely likable characters, though the story has little to do with Sally Lockhart. Not Pullman's best, but would be a solid addition for older children readers in a public library.… (more)
LibraryThing member Seajack
Folks have said they didn't care for the story as it doesn't include Sally (except for cameo appearances at the beginning and end). I disagree, preferring it to the two Sally "sequels", which I found rather heavy-handed and political.
LibraryThing member jasonlf
Fantastic storytelling, highly recommended. This novel is ostensibly a spin-off of the Sally Lockhart trilogy, although it draws little from that series beyond the general atmosphere and a few characters – notably Jim Taylor (now a private detective) and Adelaide (a maid turned Princess turned Queen of Razkavia – a tiny central European kingdom). Sally, now Lockhart Goldberg, also makes brief but important appearances at the beginning and end. But really it should be thought of as a standalone novel.

It is a traditional adventure story set in a mountainous kingdom wedged between Germany and Austria-Hungary, both of whom have designs on it. The kingdom itself is a cesspool of intrigue, warring factions in court mirrored in the halls of the university and the street. An Jim, Adelaide, and her tutor Becky Winter, all arrive from London and shake up the kingdom in surprising ways.

Perhaps the most important way this diverges from stories in this genre (and I’m not sure I’ve read many if any, despite all of it seem pleasantly familiar) is the absence of a they all lived happily ever after ending.
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LibraryThing member lweddle
This is listed as a Sally Lockhart Mystery, but Sally isn't really in it. Instead it revolves around her good friend - Jim, a friend from the first book - Adelaide, and a new character - Becky. The other three books in the series complemented each other fabulously, this one seems like a second cousin by marriage. It is full of adventure and political intrigue, but it is nowhere near as powerful as the others. This one is more of a children's book than the last two (which is funny because SFPL has those two in the Children's Room and this one in Teens!) It's more fanciful and definitely not as powerful as the last one I read. I think it would be better as a stand alone novel. It didn't necessarily have to have Sally's friends as characters, they could have been anyone. Okay, maybe Jim. I could see Jim having his own spin-off. Maybe as a graphic novel/"penny dreadful" (someone get ahold of Alan Moore!) But bringing back Adelaide seemed kind of weird. Her character wasn't that strong to me in the first book, she served her purpose well there, but in this... I don't know. Also, I think it is kind of weird that Jim and Adelaide are in love. She was just a kid when they met! Their romance seems forced and it's too much of a shallow copy of Sally's romance with Fred.

All in all, I highly recommend the first three: The Ruby In the Smoke, The Shadow In the North, and The Tiger In the Well. Read this one later, when you have some free time and want a fun adventure, but nothing heavy.
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LibraryThing member Jennie_103
I do enjoy Pullman's "Garland" series but they are also a bit strange. The overall plots are quite childish - generally a child/young person trying to overcome the evil/misguided adults yet there are very adult moments and themes especially when it is clear, to an adult reader at least, that the characters have had sex "off-screen" so to speak.… (more)
LibraryThing member Imshi
I wasn't able to finish this book. It started strongly enough, but by the middle it just wasn't compelling enough to keep me interested. I found that I didn't particularly care about the characters, or what happened to them.
LibraryThing member bookczuk
Started this over the weekend. I think it's something I will like, but this just isn't the right time for me to read it. Besides, I'm getting a box of books together to donate to North Charleston High School and this might be a good one for that box. Another time, Becky, Adelaide and Jim (and Sally, too, I suppose.)
LibraryThing member AltheaAnn
"The Tin Princess" features characters from the other books in this series (Sally Lockhart), but is only a slightly-connected story. It's the somewhat-familiar story of an English girl, Adelaide, of no breeding but innate intelligence and wit, who marries the exotic prince of a small European country. Seeking a job, the young Becky Winter is hired to be Adelaide's tutor, and soon finds herself helping Adelaide negotiate a maze of dangerous politics and social situations, and he unexpectedly becomes Queen...… (more)
LibraryThing member john257hopper
This is the final novel in the Sally Lockhart quartet, but for me the most disappointing as Sally was hardly in it. It concerns instead the doings of the orphan girl Adelaide from The Ruby in the Smoke, who has managed to get herself married to the heir apparent to the throne of the (fictional) Ruritania-like kingdom of Razkavia, a tiny state between the German and Austro-Hungarian empires, and which is desperately trying to avoid being swallowed by either one. As a swashbuckler with murders, betrayals, lost princes and battles, this was decent, though it never felt as realistic as the previous novels and I found it difficult to take the plot seriously, because of that contrast. The country falls apart when the German army invades and Adelaide and her friends are forced to flee. The fates of several of the minor characters were unclear at the end of the novel. A disappointing end to the series.… (more)
LibraryThing member nosajeel
Fantastic storytelling, highly recommended. This novel is ostensibly a spin-off of the Sally Lockhart trilogy, although it draws little from that series beyond the general atmosphere and a few characters
LibraryThing member ArmchairAuthor
Exactly what I wanted to read.

Becky Winter is a capable polyglot with a romantic streak, who finds herself swept up in political intrigue after witnessing an explosion. Suddenly the sixteen-year-old Winter is tutor and interpreter to a secret cockney princess, headed from London to a tiny nation sandwiched between Austria and Germany accompanied by a dreamy prince, gruff ambassador and his icy wife, and a dashing detective. The novel’s plot twists and turns through Razkavia’s 19th-century-Bavarian-influenced countryside. Danger, secret identities, and nefarious schemes fill its pages right up to a genuinely thrilling conclusion.

Philip Pullman can always be relied upon to deliver richly detailed, wryly funny, smart historical fiction. I picked this up at the library because I was dying to read something I’d like, and feeling slightly melancholy that The Subtle Knife will never be a movie. I didn’t realize it was a continuation of a previous series, and I got good and thoroughly spoiled on the events of that series while devouring The Tin Princess. It’s a great book: several strong female characters with distinct personalities, men worth crushing on, a richly imagined fictional country, political strategy, and plenty of derring-do. What more could a reader ask for? There are even a couple of nice, not too-soppy romances (one sweet, the other rather steamy.) The only drawbacks were that Razkavia made me miss Germany terribly, and the blurb described Adelaide as “heartbreakingly beautiful” while the book described her as “not altogether pretty.” Really, publishing industry? Men can love women who aren’t supermodels. Promise.
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LibraryThing member ArmchairAuthor
Exactly what I wanted to read.

Becky Winter is a capable polyglot with a romantic streak, who finds herself swept up in political intrigue after witnessing an explosion. Suddenly the sixteen-year-old Winter is tutor and interpreter to a secret cockney princess, headed from London to a tiny nation sandwiched between Austria and Germany accompanied by a dreamy prince, gruff ambassador and his icy wife, and a dashing detective. The novel’s plot twists and turns through Razkavia’s 19th-century-Bavarian-influenced countryside. Danger, secret identities, and nefarious schemes fill its pages right up to a genuinely thrilling conclusion.

Philip Pullman can always be relied upon to deliver richly detailed, wryly funny, smart historical fiction. I picked this up at the library because I was dying to read something I’d like, and feeling slightly melancholy that The Subtle Knife will never be a movie. I didn’t realize it was a continuation of a previous series, and I got good and thoroughly spoiled on the events of that series while devouring The Tin Princess. It’s a great book: several strong female characters with distinct personalities, men worth crushing on, a richly imagined fictional country, political strategy, and plenty of derring-do. What more could a reader ask for? There are even a couple of nice, not too-soppy romances (one sweet, the other rather steamy.) The only drawbacks were that Razkavia made me miss Germany terribly, and the blurb described Adelaide as “heartbreakingly beautiful” while the book described her as “not altogether pretty.” Really, publishing industry? Men can love women who aren’t supermodels. Promise.
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LibraryThing member GretchenLynn
This is the fourth in a series of Sally Lockhart mysteries, although Sally shows up only briefly. However, Pullman brings to the forefront a character who played smaller (but important) roles in the other books, and rounds him out into one of the main characters. The premise for the book is an interesting look at politics: a fictional country led by monarchs, the plots and deceits that can occur within the monarchy, and other plots from other sources who are trying to take over the country. Pullman has an interesting way of ending books not with a 'happily ever after' ending, but more of a 'happily enough' ending. In an earlier book, while the main mystery is solved, the disappearance of a small girl is left a mystery. Here she reappears and takes on an amazing role, and although things don't completely work out for her, she still seems to be happy with how they do work out. It makes for an interesting twist on the typical 'fairy tale' ending that is expected.… (more)
LibraryThing member themulhern
A strong but shallow effort by Philip Pullman. One thing that he's good at is endings, though, and the ending of this novel is more captivating than a good deal of what comes before. It is not up to his previous standard, but it's very much a nod to the Ruritanian school of fiction just as the first book in the series evoked a Holmesian world.

He has almost promised to continue the series, and I would certainly enjoy following it.
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LibraryThing member bostonian71
Full of adventure, but way too short. The plot and character development seem very rushed, especially for Adelaide (her transformation into a monarch just isn't convincing). and I felt like the politics were rather sketch as well. It might've helped if Pullman had slowed down the action enough to develop his imaginary country's politics, culture, etc. beyond a sprinkling of names and historical "facts." At least Jim from the Sally Lockhart trilogy gets to co-star.… (more)
LibraryThing member kathy_chiff
The tin princess is a classic and exciting sequel to ruby in the smoke (this was actually better than ruby in the smoke). This tale will lead you to Raskavia with a princess, a detective and well Becky who doesn't really have a title but is my favourite character.
The best bit about this book is the thrilling mystery that comes with it.
The worst bit about this book is that it could be a bit slow moving at times.
This mystery is totally unsolvable and unpredictable until near the end,(I'll give you a hint, the butler didn't do it!
The plot to this book is truly amazing, there is a twist round every corner. This book is good for anyone, any age shape or form.
I had to read a paragraph from this heart tingling book for a presentation and I was struggling with so much choice.
I don't generally read books like this but I thought it was great!!!
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Pages

290

Rating

(284 ratings; 3.7)
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