I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review
"Englishmen flooded the castle and I was up to my wrists in the blood of one of them, trying to push his insides back through the eight inch gash in his stomach."
I'm a great fan of the middle ages, and so when I saw this book and got the opportunity to read it, I was unable to let this go.
As some of you might know, I really like a good first sentence of the prologue or first chapter. In my opinion it sets the bar for the rest of the book and hold a promise of being either great, or horrible. This first line gave me some sort of promise, but I'm not sure if it was made true in the end.
Most important here is to mention that this book is set in 12th century England, during the time that John Lackland became king after the death of Richard the Lionheart. As always, a time like that brings trouble and so there is a lot of arse licking at court and battles fought at the borders of the realm. History wise, I think the author did a good job in portraying a reality of life at the time, one of them being marriage. Marriage wasn't always for love, most definitely not for the aristocracy, and this was one of the major subjects in this novel.
Even though this is a love story, there is also villain who has to be brought to justice.
Seren, the protagonist, is only a sixteen year old young lady at the start of the book. As a reader, you're introduced to Seren in a bloody scene: a battle is roaring around the castle she lives in and there is death all around her. It is more than a rumour, it is a fact, that she is able to see and speak with the dead. I will not spoil too much about her, but I think that it is obvious that she is to be married. As is made clear in the synopsis, there is unfortunately no love between her husband and herself. Instead, she falls in love with a spirit guide, George. Only she, out of all the living, can see and touch him.
This book was written from Seren's point of view, and it might be a personal issue of mine, but I really struggle with first person point of views. There's usually to much time spend in the mind of the protagonist, while I want to know more about what happens around the protagonist. That was exactly the case here. I liked it for a time, since the descriptions were good and it was interesting, but then this pov lost my interest. There was such a limited view, I think I would have liked it more if there was less time in Seren's head, and more time getting to know the time period and things about the spirits/spirit guides.
However, even though I may have had my problems with the first person pov, the writing itself was consistent and good. Whatever was described, was described well. I also think that, in a way, Seren grew throughout the book. She lost some of her naivete and learned to live in the world as it was.
The author was consistent about the amount of detail in the book. There was no ranting about everything for pages on end, but there was just enough to get a couple of images in my mind. There was no single thing that deserved more attention than another and I really appreciated that.
One small thing that I have to mention is this: I'm not sure of it's just me, or if anyone else felt the same way, but I felt like the end was just suddenly there. In my opinion it could have been worked out differently so that, perhaps, some things would make more sense and there would have been closure on multiple things. No, I'm not going to spoil anything here, I'm just wondering if anyone has had the same experience. Apart from that the 'timeline' and the pace was consistent.
Now, it's rating time and I have decided on a three star rating. I liked the idea of the book and it was interesting. In the end, however, I'm not quite sure if this book was what I had expected it to be after reading the first few pages. Even though I think the ending was a little abrupt, I think the rest of the book was quite alright. Maybe, I'm just not meant for paranormal romance. In any case I liked the book, therefore I'll give it three stars.