I went back to work this week, a bit of a shock after 10 weeks off.
This will be my new normal now I live in the Scottish Highlands: a 5 day clinic, almost solid teaching and a LOT of driving, which I undertook in my little horsebox which is equipped with full living facilities, so no need to mingle with anyone else. We sold my mum’s house last week, so this trip also doubled as a last visit to remove the final items I still had there, mostly gardening bits and bobs, and this lovely maple tree that I began as a bonsai 15 years ago, and then decided to grow on instead.
This afforded me some more reading time in my solitary evenings, but was also exhausting! Today I’m catching up on some weeding (boy, can those weeds grow in just a week), and I’m happy to report that the tree is now safely planted in the border in front of the chicken run.
And so to my latest review. I’m reading Richelle Mead’s Dark Swan series, with my review of the first book a couple of weeks ago. This review is for book #2 of 4.
I’ve found in recent years, since I became an author myself, that I tend to gauge my reads by whether I do, or don’t, notice the writing. If I don’t, then that tells me I’m fully immersed, and I class that as an excellent read.
In this case, the books are really well written, no question about it, but I do find myself noticing the plot structure.
Now, this book is over 10 years old, and it’s traditionally published. I’m wondering if I’m being influenced by the many excellent indie published books I’ve read recently, that perhaps don’t stick quite so rigidly to this formula? Or if I’m just more aware of structure these days in general.
I’d be interested in other authors’ opinions on this.
So without further ado, here is my review:Thorn Queen by Richelle Mead
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In book #1 of this series, Eugenie Markham made a rather alarming discovery – she’s the daughter of a powerful faerie king, who kidnapped and raped her mother. She also found out that the girl, Jasmine, she was hired to rescue from a similar fate is her half-sister, on the faerie side, and they are both fair game for every male out to father Storm King’s grandson, to fulfil the prophesy that he will conquer the human world.
Just to complicate things further, while attempting to extricate Jasmine from the clutches of another faerie king, Eugenie not only killed the guy, but in doing so, inherited his kingdom. Now she’s stuck with a half-sister who wants to beat her to fulfilling the prophecy, and is queen of a land that has shaped itself to her ideals – a desert, like her home in Tucson – causing her subjects to believe she has cursed them, as they have no idea how to live in such harsh conditions.
The plot and the writing are fantastic, I just found Eugenie rather prone to making poor decisions. I can sort of see why she makes them, and the way she steps up to the task once she realises the misery she’s inflicted upon the ordinary people who’ve been affected by her choices is laudable, saving my respect for her as a character when I was fast becoming annoyed by her immaturity. I realise characters need room to grow, but I didn’t find much sympathy for her at the start of this book.
Book #2 reads very much like the middle part of a story – largely about character development and setting the scene for the big showdown (admittedly there are 2 more books, not just one), and once again, although I understood her reactions at the end to the awful experience forced upon her, they didn’t endear her to me.
Perhaps this is more like real life and I’m at fault, looking for that stylised, awesome heroine. I really did appreciate the story, and the vivid writing, and Dorian, the Oak King is just divine, in a rather kinky sort of way, so despite my feelings about Eugenie, I’ve gone straight on into the next book.
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