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Elske: A Novel of the Kingdom (Tales of the Kingdom #4)

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,237 Ratings  ·  114 Reviews

Two Women Elske -- a girl with no future, until her grandmother's sacrifice saves her from certain death Beriel -- an imperious princess, determined to claim the kingdom that is her birthright Fate brings them together, both exiles, one servant to the other. To Beriel, the mistress, Elske offers steadfast loyalty and courage -- hard to come by in her dangerous quest to re
Hardcover, 312 pages
Published October 1st 2003 by Turtleback Books (first published October 1st 1999)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,135)
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Dec 15, 2009 Sps rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle, setting, fantasy
Yawn. Voigt is skillful, but this book felt like a combination of Redwall-esque obsessions (gowns and tankards of ale, kingdoms and guilds), wannabe girl-power, and a sort of steamy romance novel without the romance. Elske's character was both fearless and humorless, making her flat and unsympathetic. We're told that most of the male characters want to marry her or otherwise install her in their bed, maybe because she doesn't want them back? We're told that she's proud and skillful with babies. ...more
Mar 05, 2010 El rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comfort-reads, loved
I think this is Voight's best book. It's like a beautiful fairy tale.

(NOTE: you do not have to read the other Kingdom books to read this - it stands alone)

I've found that some of Voight's other books tend to drag on and cause me to loose interest in the characters and their challenges. I think her writing can sometimes be a bit too removed when what I really want to know is how the characters feel and what they are thinking. This book is more focused. From cover to cover it is a joy to read. Els
Sep 05, 2009 Summer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Really Elske you are just dull. Yes your earing is enchanting but you're just dull. Maybe in another time, another place. But not today. I'm sorry.

Elske is the story of a girl who grows up in a barbaric wolf man society. She officially belongs to the king and when he dies, she will be sent into his tomb and will be abused by wild men, then burned alive with the dead kings body. It's put in more tactfully in the book but that's basically the deal. Ya I know. Yuck. So her grandmother takes her pla
Jan 18, 2010 Heather rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rejects
Ugh. Dry, dry, dry.

I found this and read it because I'd remembered liking Jackaroo (the first in the Kingdom books) so much as a kid. But either because my perceptions were a lot different then, or that was just a better book, Elske did not live up to my expectations.

The book does depict a cleverly imagined kingdom, and the various nations and people within peaked my interest. But almost everything else -- Elske, Beriel the future queen, their adventures (or lack thereof), and the brief descript
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elske escapes the cruel, savage Wolfer society of her birth, and takes up a position as servant in a merchant town. There she is swept up in the world of a difficult and cold princess who is in desperate need.

I wanted to like this, because I do love Voigt, but ... it's not anything special. It's set in the same world as Jackaroo, On Fortune's Wheel and The Wings of a Falcon, and the protagonist's grandmother, Tamara, seems to have been a character in one of the other books, but I can't remember
Oct 02, 2010 Kelli rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I give two stars for the superb use of words and unique writing along with the world building. However, the story lacks heart and more importantly it lacks an ability to make me care about the characters. What Jackaroo had, this story doesn't. I thought the themes of abortion, poor taste, as well as the many times rape was mentioned as the cultures way of life. I understand that this is a barbaric society, I just don't want to read about it when I care nothing for the motives nor did I think it ...more
Nov 14, 2011 LauraW rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
I didn't realize this was the fourth book in a series, until I came to Goodreads to add it. So, I guess that means that, for the most part, the story stands by itself well enough. There were some references to Jackaroo at the end that rather puzzled me - and now that I know that the first book in the series was called Jackaroo, that makes a bit more sense.

The book drew me in with the character of Elske. Beriel, on the other hand, mostly annoyed me. In some ways, the story reminds me of the book
As I was reading this, I felt very detached from the characters, especially Elske, from whose POV the story was being told. I also felt like something in the pacing was off, that too much time was spent on some things (like setting the scene in Trasdad - it takes about 100 pages before we finally get to the main event, her service to Beriel) and not enough on others - for instance, the romances, squeezed in at the end, didn't feel believable at all.

That being said, this book did have a very capt
Jul 08, 2014 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The last book in the series. And like the last one - this starts completely differently. This book begins with Elske, a child of the Wolfers. She has been raised by her grandmother, a woman stolen by the Wolfers, and freed by the sacrifice of her grandmother to the big unknown world.

Elske has a worldview that matches no one. She is without most of the angst and neurosis of main characters. Instead, she simply lives her life as it unfolds - without guile and remorse. And because of that she finds
Katie M.
Bah. I adore Cynthia Voigt on principle. But this one just didn't do it for me... dark and grim with a weirdly happy ending, it was full of stereotypical "ethnic" clans and mostly unlikeable characters. I couldn't muster up much emotional investment in anyone, not even Elske. Give me On Fortune's Wheel any day over this one.
Cindy Dyson Eitelman
Gosh, I love Cynthia Voigt's books so much...and I just didn't like this one. I don't think this is her genre--it's like a Conan the Barbarian fantasy complete with made up peoples and made up places. Heroic fantasy, is that what they call it? The heroine, Elske, starts the story as the Death Maiden attending at the king's funeral. It's her job to be raped by all the king's top-ranked warriors, then be buried with the king to serve him in the afterlife. What kind of servant that might make her i ...more
Carin Meerdink
I have really enjoyed most of Cynthia Voigt's writing in the past. I loved the Tillerman series, and I love Jackaroo. When I taught 6th grade, I read Jackaroo (with some slight editing) from this Tales of the Kingdom series to my students, and they really enjoyed it as well. This book cover suggests it's for readers 12 and up. I would really urge parental guidance here because of the very mature and prevalent themes of rape, infanticide, and abortion. There are some horrifically violent scenes. ...more
Feb 17, 2014 Danika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elske is a delightful tale of two strong heroines, the title character and the queen she eventually serves, Beriel of the Kingdom. The travels Elske undertakes, first when she leaves the Volkaric and her fate as Death Maiden and walks to the city of Trastad, then as she sails with Beriel to the port of Pericol and thence to the Kingdom, highlight Voigt’s worldbuilding talent—she describes distinct cultures vividly as Elske encounters them. Elske herself is a fascinating character, with a brutal, ...more
Sep 18, 2015 Emma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up the copy from my library and it depicts a girl being eaten by a wolf on the cover which is much more suiting than this cover.....actually that is what drew me to this book. anyway I had no idea this was a series until I looked at it this morning. As a stand alone book this one is quite good. It starts out in black and white with a lot of darkness. as the story progresses the story of Elske comes to life. Recommended for those over 12 and those who just enjoy a tale or two.

Age recomme
To be clear, Elske is the fourth book in Cynthia Voigt's loosely tied together series called The Kingdom. The other three (Jackaroo, Wings of a Falcon and On Fortune's Wheel) are all set in the Kingdom that Beriel hails from, while Elske is set in Trastad, a small country to the north of The Kingdom. You don't need prior knowledge of the other books, except perhaps to understand the truth behind the 'legends' that Beriel mentions. The legend of Jackaroo for instance is covered in depth in the bo ...more
Nov 17, 2008 Rebekah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Although a young adult novel, this read as well as any adult literature. The story of an adolescent girl, Elske, who's grandmother gives her life so that Elske can escape their heathen clan to find a life among the civilized Tradsters in a village to the north. Here, Elske learns a different way of life, weighing it against the customs and traditions she has grown up with, and uses her knowledge to her benefit to eventually serve as handmaiden to a would-be queen. As she continues to learn from ...more
I first read this in 2003, after learning it was a conclusion to one of my favorite series as a teenager. The genre is fantasy only in the made-up medieval "Kingdom" setting; think wooded journeys and Robin Hood figures, and that's what I loved it for. I reread this now because I wanted to give it as a gift to Amy, and I was curious to revisit its themes. The first time, I was stunned by it being one of the most overtly feminist novels I'd ever read -- and for teenagers.

It is, producing not one
Jul 15, 2009 Nicholle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book for the first time in my teens, drawn to it by the cover (who really thinks that judging a book by the cover is a bad thing?). I remembered loving it, so I picked it up at the library last month and I had to read it twice before returning it. And THEN I bought it, just in case I wanted to pull it off the shelf some random evening.

It is a story about Elske, the death maiden (essentially the virgin sacrifice to the Volkaric king) when he dies. She grows up among the Volkaric, a b
Vivian ♪(┌・。・)┌
I read Elske a long long while back, and through the years, though I had forgotten the name, author and such, I never forgot how the plot of this story, and how wonderful it was reading it. I finally rediscovered this book after exhausting various search engines, joining dodgy websites, and asking around.

Reading this book, it hit me all over again how dear it is to me (despite only having it read one time before) and why it was so memorable. It's quite a breathtaking journey, and, like one revie

Interspersed with gentle references to the mythical protagonist of a previous novel, JACKAROO, this story continues Voight's predilection for resourceful heroines. Set in an unspecified medieval world of fictitious geography this book presents a very young heroine who barely escapes rape and immolation as the chosen Death Maiden among the heartless Volkaric horde. Raised as a Wolfer this daughter of a gentler clime and culture avoids both fates thanks to the wisely int
Apr 29, 2012 Paula rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With immense power and compassion, Cynthia Voigt, Newbery Medalist, depicts the quests of two extraordinary young women. As Elske seeks to find her true self and Beriel battles to reclaim what is rightfully hers, both discover the value, and the price, of reaching the journeys end.

The fourth book in Cynthia Voigts Kingdom series. Elske offers a heroine who is very much her own person. Even though Elske has been chosen to be the Death Maiden of the Volkking, she escapes to begin life. Elske make
May 28, 2014 Melanti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, 2014
I'm sad to be leaving this series behind. I've really enjoyed the "this is how myths are made" themes throughout and watching the events of one book become the legends of the next has been a LOT of fun.

And while there's no real reason that the series couldn't continue since each book is only loosely connected anyway, this volume ends with a epilogue that summarizes the next couple hundred years of Kingdom history, which in my mind is Voigt's way of saying "I'm not writing any more of these books
Jessica Rawden
The other two books I read from Cynthia Voight's Kingdom series, I recommended for ages 12 and up. However, the Elske book is a little different. It spans topics including racism, rape, the idea of incest, abortion, and pre-marital sex. While these ideas are explained and not presented in a pro or negative light, they are present, and children might have questions. Elske has to travel from one Kingdom to the next, eventually landing in The Kingdom. Her experiences are unique to the series, but a ...more
Mailee Pyper
This book was both delightful and dreadful. The world and many of the things that happen are so harsh, cruel, and brutal. It was painful to read about the evils that occurred in the lives of the characters knowing that they truly were a reflection of the evils in our world. Seeing the characters move past and above these things is what made the book good. I am glad I read it once, I think, but I would like to never read it again.
Feb 17, 2010 Carolynne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Melody; CLM; Becky
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 03, 2016 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I love On Fortune's Wheel and reading the other books set in the same Kingdom, I have never been disappointed. Elske was just as wonderful as I had expected and hoped. Cynthia Voigt has been one of my favorite authors since I was in elementary school, and that has yet to change.
Ana Maria
I was a huge fan of the first three books in this series when I was younger so was thrilled when I found out there was a fourth. Unfortunately, this was my least favorite out of all of them. I found it really hard to connect with or care about any of the characters. Elske is fairly one-dimensional and rather boring and I found Beriel to be whiny and unsympathetic. The story seemed super rushed at times and didn't really slow at others. The 'happy ending' with both women finding love seemed very ...more
Amelia Rockliff
Jul 15, 2014 Amelia Rockliff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my all-time favourite books. Elske is a super strong character, and so is her eventual mistress. Strong women rock. And just to be clear, the goodreads cover is AWFUL and not representative of the book at all. This is the cover I read it with, and the cover that speaks for the book much more, has Elske naked but draped in a blue cloak standing in a small boat on a lake at night. Badass.
Jan 28, 2009 bookczuk rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookcrossing
Sheer impulse buy because I love the Vermeer painting on the cover and like the author. Apparently this is part of a series written by this author- though it stood alone quite fine. The story has stronf medieval overtones- and it's kind of surprising to realize the lands talked about aren't on any map of our world. It is the story of a very strong young girl, who withthe help of a strong and cunning grandmother, escapes a fated death to seek a new life in a new world. She is independent, intelli ...more
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Cynthia Voigt is an American author of books for young adults dealing with various topics such as adventure, mystery, racism and child abuse.

Angus and Sadie: the Sequoyah Book Award (given by readers in Oklahoma), 2008
The Katahdin Award, for lifetime achievement, 2003
The Anne V. Zarrow Award, for lifetime achievement, 2003
The Margaret Edwards Award, for a body of work, 1995
Jackaroo: Ratte
More about Cynthia Voigt...

Other Books in the Series

Tales of the Kingdom (4 books)
  • Jackaroo (Tales of the Kingdom, #1)
  • On Fortune's Wheel (Tales of the Kingdom, #2)
  • The Wings of a Falcon (Tales of the Kingdom, #3)

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