the princess and the hound was a very good story, although the title characters were not the sole focus as the title might lead one to think. fairy tale motifs were used in a new way, to great effect with unexpected twists. the ability to speak with animals is outlawed and the prince who possesses it is forced to hide it for his safety and the good of the kingdom. he also learns to sacrifice his self for the kingdom, until his pending arranged marriage forces him to examine himself and the worth of a life half lived. told from the prince's perspective, i'm reminded of the description given of the princes bride "fighting, torture, revenge, chases, escapes, true love, miracles..." there is a bit of everything that comes together in the end.
the story didn't just end right at the climax, but actually followed through on some of the repercussions of choices made. rather than leaving practical consequences to the reader's imagination, the author showed things aren't always roses right away and showed the character's responses to opposition. instead of an unrealistic all-ends-tied-up ending, there was enough of a follow through to show that new problems will arise in the solving of current issues. i really enjoyed this book with its very human characters. there are two sequels which i plan on reading once the library picks them up.