A highly imaginative contemporary fantasy, well worth exploring. The first person present tense teenage narrator initially exhibits the usual teenage aA highly imaginative contemporary fantasy, well worth exploring. The first person present tense teenage narrator initially exhibits the usual teenage angst, including profanity, but develops along with the character into a mature voice that speaks with the wisdom of bravely faced experience. Despite the teenage voice, the quality of the writing is remarkably fine. Enticing references to reading, music, and even mathematics. Music is an essential component of the creatively constructed fantasy, with songbirds having the power to bond with characters and together move reality through the power of their song. Authority is respected or rejected according to its merits. One of the characters has two mothers, something expressed as brave and counter cultural. The main character has the opportunity to choose how to act based on what she considers right. The romance is refreshingly slow to start, and although there’s the hint of a love triangle, it is delightfully uncomplicated and genuine. I look forward to the sequel....more
The seekers are a group of powerful warriors, and we are introduced to them at a time when three of their trainees are about to taWhere was the story?
The seekers are a group of powerful warriors, and we are introduced to them at a time when three of their trainees are about to take their oaths. We don't know what they're supposed to do, or who they work for (themselves?), or even what their world is like (medieval? present day?). We are told they seek "truth", but not what this means. Their motto offers no clarification:
"I am a Seeker, as we were in the beginning... What do I seek? The truth. The beginning and the end. Our knowledge began somewhere, sometime. And one day it will end."
Neither does the story enlighten us: it is consumed in a fight between the seeker trainees, the older seekers, and the seeker who wasn't allowed to take his oath. The story is a long, inconclusive and violent squabble. Certainly, it turns out that the good are fighting the bad among them, the selfless rebelling against those who fight for selfishness and greed. But the book feels empty without the hint of something greater.
There is a standard love triangle: physical attraction between the main female protagonist and two different seeker trainees, one bad and one good. Considering the bad one hurts both her and her mother, it's not difficult to guess whom she chooses. That said, even the good one takes most of the story to get his act together, drugging himself rather than face his failures, and attempting suicide for fear of letting people down in future.
One of the rare insights is a rather unsubtle discussion of the harm of seeking a powerful weapon and killing people in order to right previous wrongs, or rather, to take revenge for them. Unfortunately it is diluted by other simplistic assertions such as 'good hearts may only be found by luck.' Forget education to help people know what is good, or even the freedom to choose good at all. You just need the luck of being born with a good heart, and to find others who were similarly blessed.
Unfortunately, though tempted with promises of a hearty steak, one finds nothing but a few strings of meat in a watery stew.
Based upon a paper thin plot and told in the voice of a sentimental thirteen year old, Edenbrooke sags like a pretty rag doll without the hint of an ABased upon a paper thin plot and told in the voice of a sentimental thirteen year old, Edenbrooke sags like a pretty rag doll without the hint of an Austenian backbone. It is Georgette Heyer-lite. The protagonist is prone to climbing a tree when she ‘needs to be held’, and laments that fact that she has not lately felt the urge to twirl.
Overly sweet but lacking the strength of flavour to be cloying, it runs instead to the banal: Heroine: My mother was exquisitely beautiful. My sister takes after her, while I do not. Suitor: I cannot disagree with you more.
The only redeeming point is the easy teasing and conversation between the two. However this also becomes too sweet and lacks the deeper connection of an Elizabeth-Darcy or Jane-Rochester.
Drama enters with the heroine’s obtuseness. Said suitor writes her a passionate love letter while sitting right next to her, under the guise of teaching her to write such. Heroine becomes jealous thinking he must have once felt this way about someone else, but still does not admit to herself that she loves him.
Drama continues with the heroine’s flighty, flirty sister who claims ‘rakes are the best kissers’, and that it is acceptable for a lady to flirt and to allow her husband the freedom to do the same. Sister is naturally on the scent of same suitor for herself.
All ends nice and rosy, however, as heroine writes a blunt letter declaring her love that suitor was not intended to read unless she was in danger, suitor is given said letter, he declares his love, jealous sister suddenly becomes happy for them though she’s been conceited and selfish all the while, and even suitor’s unfriendly sister suddenly turns kind. The reader is smothered in an avalanche of roses.
Lacking a plot that would more subtly allow relationships to flower, Edenbrooke jumps from one sweet moment to the next, ultimately consuming in sweetness even what once appeared unpleasant, thus melting the story into a warm and sweet but unrefreshing puddle.