A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The beasts from Sophia's book that come alive have origins in other myth and folklore that readers can investigate. Also, describes how to defend a castle from invaders.
The large class divide between monarch and peasant shrinks here. The resilience and bravery of the common people is celebrated and most of the monarchs are chided for their warmongering and cruelty. The story also deals with parent loss and finding bravery.
Positive Role Models
Sophia starts out sheltered and naive but hopeful that her people can live in peace and that she's making some difference with her weekly visits to the impoverished village. When she's criticized for not understanding the harsh lives peasants lead, she wants to change. When she's forced to live among monsters, she understands her duty to defeat them and bring peace. She wears a monster's face as she's confronting herself and slowly becomes human again as she grows in awareness of her role as a just, brave, and compassionate queen.
Violence & Scariness
A number of stabbing deaths (human and beast) in the gut and neck and even the eye from daggers and swords, with blood and gore described. One murderer explains how blade sounds going into human flesh with delight. One stabbing death after a sexual assault. Main character loses mother (in childbirth) and father (stabbing). A pig is run through and roasted still squealing. Teen boy is punched unconscious and tortured in a dungeon. Battle with deaths and injuries from swords and arrows. A plague kills many in a village with a mass grave mentioned. A servant is slapped and sent to the dungeon to be whipped. Talk of the slaughter of whole villages in raids.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
A kiss. Sexual innuendo as Sophia's marriage to unwanted suitors discussed.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
"S--t" a few times, plus "damned" and "hell."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Sophia (17) drinks honey wine once. Everyone else around her drinks mostly at meals: wine and ale. The jailer drinks wine in the dungeon.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sophia, Princess Among Beasts is a teen fantasy from the prolific James Patterson and contributor Emily Raymond. Sophia is a 17-year-old sheltered monarch who loses both her parents (her mother from childbirth, her father is stabbed). She falls ill from a plague that kills many from the local village and travels from the living world to another plane with violent beasts. In both worlds, there are a number of stabbing deaths (human and beast) in the gut and neck and even the eye from daggers and swords, with blood and gore described. One murderer explains how the blade sounds going into human flesh with delight. One stabbing death happens after a sexual assault. There's also a battle with deaths and injuries from swords and arrows. Other mature content includes drinking ale and wine mostly at dinners -- Sophia has honey wine once. "S--t" is uttered a few times. Sophia begins the story as a naive princess who doesn't understand the harsh lives the peasants lead. By the end, she embraces her role as a just, brave, and compassionate queen.
Is It Any Good?
This small morsel of a fantasy will get you through family vacation travel swimmingly with warring kingdoms and monstrous creatures and assassins and a trip to another dimension. Sophia, Princess Among Beasts packs a lot in 320 pages. For regular fantasy readers, though, it may not be enough to make the book memorable. A trip into an unknown world seems sketched out rather than filled with the lush detail it deserves, and few answers are given as to how the worlds are intertwined.
Sophia has a nice metamorphosis in the story while other characters feel one dimensional. The beasts, who seem to be from a hodgepodge of various myths and folklore, are also hard to picture. Many get killed off so fast, though, that the confusion passes, the book ends, and you pick up another James Patterson bestseller for the ride home.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Our Editors Recommend
Fantasy Books for Kids
Thrilling Books for Teens Who Love Fantasy
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate