Monday, July 22, 2013
As this is a second book it will undoubtedly contain spoilers for the first book, Spirit's Princess, which I reviewed HERE. I don't think this is a series, I think it's just a duology. But I could be wrong.
I'm going to sound absurdly silly and mildly insane for a moment as I bequeath this, WHY DID THIS BOOK HAVE SO MANY WORDS.
So an amazon summary, "From princess to slave in the blink of an eye. . . .
Himiko's world is falling apart. An attack by a rival clan, the Ookami, has left many from her tribe dead or enslaved. Amid the chaos and fear, Himiko hatches a plan to save her people. But just when it seems that she will outwit Ryu, the cruel Ookami leader, she is captured. Held against her will, Himiko starts to realize that not all of the Ookami are her enemies. Though she may not see her path as clearly as the spirits seem to, there's more adventure (and even unexpected love) for this princess turned shaman-warrior.
Readers who love strong girl-centric adventures are eating up Esther Friesner's Princesses of Myth books, finding the mash-up of historical fiction and fantasy adventure irresistible!" AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE
It's taking me so long to write this blog post. Then again, it took me forever to read this book because it was so thick, and now I don't really know what to say about it.
I'm going to save myself from summarizing the book in depth because I'm so against the wall with this book.
Let's talk about aspects of the book.
The writing of the book was simplistic, but there was so much to get through between any sort of character development, plot, or even action. Then when the action happened, it almost seemed slow for action. I had to prevent myself from skipping paragraphs in the book just because it took so long to get through. The book is only 475 pages long. The writing seemed very repetitive to me and Himiko wasn't characterized very well in relation to her age in this book. I wanted to believe her age was somewhere around 18, but how she spoke and interacted betrayed her as someone who might be twelve to fourteen. The 'adults' and 'elders' in the book were also simplistic in their speech and it was off-putting as reader. The voices all sounded too similar.
The relationship between Lady Badger (her best friend, who's real name I cannot recall, probably because she was called Lady Badger for most of the book) was well done, but I had a hard time believing the character of Lady Badger herself. It didn't seem to me that women were particularly oppressed in the book's world as women were shaman and could be chiefs of their clans as well. In the context of a marriage, there seemed to be a lot of male dominance as men could have multiple wives and etc. For Lady Badger to be able to hunt and do 'manly' things as well as, if not better than the men in the book was good to see, but I'm not sure what the intended reaction was. As a reader, was I supposed to find Lady Badger courageous for being herself? Or admire her for asserting her equality? Should I have been upset that the other women in the world didn't seem to have as strong or stubborn personality as Himiko and Lady Badger? There were not a lot of indicators besides 'shock' and 'acceptance' to Lady Badger's abilities.
Himiko. OH MY GOODNESS HIMIKO. I can't stand her anymore. Absolutely cannot stand her. She is an unreliable narrator as she portrays herself as clever and knowing what to do, yet undermines herself constantly. She wafers back and forth on a lot of stances such as being good at being a Shaman, yet she won't assert or defend herself to the other characters. Also, her spirit powers seemed to be almost tossed to the side in favor of concentrating on her ability to make medicine. I wanted to see more Spirit world stuff as that seemed to be a HUGE DEAL at the end of the first book.
There wasn't a whole lot of growth to the richness of the story. I could see where the story was headed early on in the book, but I could not stand how long I had to wait for events to unfold to get to that point. I had lost hope that the central plot wouldn't be resolved in some fashion so that I would have to read a third book.
I'm really at a loss with this book. It's being marketed for young adults, but seems to only do so in the sense of the simplistic nature of the writing and then age of Himiko. Other than that, there isn't enough concepts present for me to consider it to be a young adult story. There isn't a whole lot of 'growing up' or 'coming of age' present in the sense of character growth. It seems that Himiko makes a lot of headstrong decisions and then can't handle the consequences of those decisions.
I didn't care for this book, I would not read the third book if this series continues, which kind of sucks because I did enjoy the first book and was curious about the continuation of the story.
Now it just seems like a daunting headache.