I'm looking for a novel that I read in the early 2000s, about a normal girl who is transported into a magic kingdom.

Chess is a big part of this world, and it's somehow tied to magic. The girl has to go through trials and adventures in a court, and defeats the villain in the end with a chessboard. I believe at the end of the story, she's also able to travel back and forth between the real world and the magic one.

I think it was a standalone book at that point, but I am unsure if there are any sequels since then.

  • Hi, welcome to SF&F. Do you happen to recall the cover of the book or any character or place names?
    – DavidW
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 20:42

1 Answer 1


Might this be The Princess Pawn (2003) by Maggie L. Wood? (Note that both Amazon and Goodreads give this a 2003/09/25 release date instead of ISFDb's March 2004.)

Quoting from the book's summary on Goodreads:

Willow Kingswell thinks of herself as an ordinary fourteen-year-old. Although she has been hearing her grandmother's stories about the enchanted realm of Mistolear for as long as she can remember, being a princess is the furthest thing from her mind. What's worrying Willow these days is finding a way to get accepted by the in-crowd at her high school without betraying her friend Abby. Suddenly, Willow finds herself magically transported to the real Mistolear, where it turns out she actually does have a large family--and a royal one at that. Willow's courage and intellect are put to the test as she attempts to save the kingdom from a terrifying spell that turns people into chess pieces. Willow must decide the right course of action before the spell that threatens her newfound family takes away all her choices.

Cover of "The Princess Pawn"

  • Yes, that's the book I'm looking for!
    – LSee
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 21:00

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