Rating: 3.5 stars
The main character (a nameless teenager) sacrifices herself to marry a king with a terrible reputation (of having many previous dead wives) to save her sister. As she soon discovers, there’s a lot more to this court than she once assumed. She begins to question everything, even her own abilities when visions, and her own power grow.
This was not a book I had on my radar to read, but I’d recently just read “Exit, Pursued by Bear” by the same author and I had a student (a voracious reader) put this book into my hand and told me I had to read it. So I decided to give it a go.
There was a lot I enjoyed about the book. I like books that feel a little different and aren’t so formulaic in their composition. This didn’t feel formulaic. The writing style was totally different from “Exit..”, and there was a lot more focus on the setting, magical explanations, dream sequences, descriptions, feelings etc.
As much as I liked the writing, the ease in which I followed the main character around, I found that there was so much build up, and yet, at the end of the book, the climax w
as rather quick. Even though it was an appropriate ending to the story, it felt a little underwhelming considering there was just so much build up.
Another thing that really bothered me was the fact that the characters didn’t have names. At first I was unsure about it, but in the end, I have to say I didn’t love it. This might seem like a dumb criticism, but the fact that the only character that had a name was the ‘evil king’? It just felt like he was the only one with true power in the book – the only one worth remembering – and he wasn’t even that much of a character.
Recommendations: It has a much different kind of writing style than your typical book. It doesn’t read like an adventure story, so if you’re looking for some gun’s blazing – this isn’t your kind of book. It’s a little more ethereal. Try out the writing style before committing to it. There’s nothing inappropriate or untoward in the book that would make it questionable for younger readers, but its more mature writing style might make the book more appropriate for more mature students.
Themes: sisterhood, friendship, sacrifice, believing in ones self