I got this novel for Christmas. I had sort of heard about it before, but I really didn't know anything about it. But it was fantastic!
The story is told from Prince George's point of view. It starts out in his childhood, and we basically watch him grow up. George, like his mother, is blessed/cursed with the animal magic. He can talk to animals by learning their language. But animal magic is frowned on in their country, so George has to learn to keep it hidden at a very young age. Growing up with a secret like that is not easy, and it is one of the things that causes George to be insecure about himself. When George is 17, he is betrothed to Princess Beatrice, from the neighboring country. He has heard rumors about her, the strangest of which is that she keeps a hound with her at all times - they even sleep in the same bed. Many people of her kingdom think she is odd. George doesn't expect to love his queen, this marriage is simply for political reasons, but when he meets Beatrice, he realizes they may have more in common than either one expected.
I really loved this book. The tone was beautiful throughout the whole thing. Some ideas of the animal magic were a bit hard to take, but I guess that could be the case with any sort of magic. I also found two very obvious typos, which always bugs me. But, it was wonderfully written and I devoured all 410 pages in about 24 hours. It was completely clean and I highly recommend it.