On Fortune's Wheel

by Cynthia Voigt

Paperback, 1991



Call number

PB Voi

Call number

PB Voi

Local notes

PB Voi




Fawcett (1991)


Faced with the prospect of an unhappy life in the Kingdom, fourteen-year-old Birle accompanies a young runaway nobleman on a journey south and falls into slavery in the citadel of a cruel prince.


Mythopoeic Awards (Finalist — Children's Literature — 2000)
Utah Beehive Book Award (Nominee — Young Adult — 1993)
Iowa Teen Award (Nominee — 1994)


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

4.5 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member KatieWallace
A story that has made me laugh and cry since I was nine. Probably my favorite book for young adults...
LibraryThing member krau0098
I actually read this book a very long time ago when I was 12 or 13 years old (over twenty five years ago at this point). I remember absolutely adoring it and had originally borrowed it from the library. A few years ago I acquired a copy of it to read again as an adult. Even all these years later I
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still enjoyed it a lot. It’s a solid fantasy with excellent world-building, wonderful adventures, and some romance.

The story does move a bit slowly, but the beautiful descriptions and sincere tone to the story match this pace perfectly. As a pre-teen I loved the adventure and romance (I still do) but as an adult I appreciated other things about the story this time through. I really enjoyed how Voigt takes her characters through such a variety of life situations; Birle goes from Innkeeper’s daughter, to servant, to slave, to Lady, and then to farm holder throughout a fairly short span of years. I enjoyed how all of this is spun around the theme of Fortune’s Wheel.

I loved how you see these characters standing up for their true selves despite all their trials. I remember as a pre-teen being upset and angry at how Birle chooses her own path at the end of the book; but reading it as an adult I recognize now how much strength and wisdom she shows in that choice.

I was impressed at how well this fantasy story has stood the test of time. I also was intrigued by how parts of the story affected me differently now that I am an adult. This is a beautifully written story about finding one’s own path in life and staying true to yourself.

Overall a beautiful story and a well done fantasy. I would recommend to those who enjoy deliberately paced fantasies set in beautiful worlds that have some romance in them. This is an excellent read for YA and older.
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(149 ratings; 4)
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