Sophia, Princess Among Beasts

Book review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
Sophia, Princess Among Beasts Book Poster Image
Fast-paced, exciting, but often sketch-like fantasy morsel.

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Kids say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

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.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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.


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.


A kiss. Sexual innuendo as Sophia's marriage to unwanted suitors discussed.


"S--t" a few times, plus "damned" and "hell."

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.

What 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.

User Reviews

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Teen, 13 years old Written bysoph7549 July 25, 2019

It’s pretty good

Sophia, princess among beasts it a good book. The one negative comment I have on it though is that it is kinda similar to a lot of other books and be read. That... Continue reading

What's the story?

In SOPHIA, PRINCESS AMONG BEASTS, Sophia is roused from her daily grooming routine by a maid's frantic declaration: The ruthless King Ares and his army, who have already conquered and destroyed many kingdoms, are headed their way. Sophia's father, King Leonidas, doesn't want Sophia to worry, but he still outfits her with cavalry when she makes her weekly trip to the impoverished village. Despite all this protection, there's nothing the soldiers can do about what Sophia finds there: people dying of a plague called the Seep, and a teen named Rafael with a good throwing arm. He pelts Sophia with dung and yells about the poor treatment of the villagers until he's thrown in the dungeon. That night an assassin sneaks into the castle and kills the king just as Sophia falls ill with the Seep. When she wakes up, she's in a carriage driven by ghoulish creatures. She's suddenly in a world populated by beasts, including the fearsome King Ares, with no idea how to get home again.

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Sophia's transformation in Sophia, Princess Among Beasts. What did she look like in the living world? How did she change when she crossed over? What made her change back?

  • What answers does Sophia get about the world of beasts she's entered? How do the worlds cross over? What's left unexplained?

  • Most fantasies turn into series. Would this book make a good series?

Book details

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