FeaturedMiddle Grade

The King's Decree


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Engaging and deeply heartfelt. As young Princess struggles with depression her new friend offers an unwavering act of kindness.

Inspired by the Russian folktale The Princess Who Never Laughed, The King’s Decree alternates its chapters between two young female protagonists – Princess Devina who suffers from depression and Yasmin a kitchen maid who befriends the Princess. Although initially surprised by the inclusions of dual narrators, I quickly warmed to both characters and I found their journeys through the story to be equally compelling.

The King’s Decree is a short story that covers many important topics. These topics include: depression and mental health, grief and loss, loneliness and isolation, and friendship and love. What is most impressive however is how these topics fit and flow together effortlessly within the story. At no point does the plot feel forced or the pacing rushed. Devina and Yasmin’s stories come together and lead naturally into the exploration of these topics.

Aimed at older children and teenagers, author Torina Kingsley wrote The King’s Decree in the hope of bringing awareness of mental health to young people through literature. The short story depicts both sides of mental health – what it can be like living with mental health issues (Devina’s story) and how it can feel when someone you care about is struggling (Yasmin’s story). This story is impactful because it normalises both having and talking about mental health issues. Kindness is encouraged and the importance of being there for others is discussed. Crucially, The King’s Degree explains to its younger readers that mental health is a complex thing that takes time to heal. There is nothing wrong with not feeling alright all of the time.

The longer I read this story the more I enjoyed it. The King’s Decree is easy to read with an engaging narrative and realistic protagonists. I wish Kingsley every success in reaching younger readers with her work however I also feel readers of all ages could find meaning in the message of this short story.

Reviewed by

I have always been fascinated with fiction, especially fantasy and sci-fi. In 2020 I set up my own website called: Lair of Reviews where I publish reviews on books, films, and plays. I have degrees in both English Literature and Creative Writing. I currently work as a freelance writer.

Chapter One

About the author

Torina Kingsley has always dreamed of becoming a published writer. It is also important to Kingsley that characters, such as the princess in her chapter book, are diverse characters who can fall in love with anyone, not just those who one might expect. view profile

Published on March 08, 2021

10000 words

Genre: Middle Grade

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