I have never felt so torn over a book and protagonist before. I knew going into this one that I wouldn't *love* it because in all of my Tudor-relatedI have never felt so torn over a book and protagonist before. I knew going into this one that I wouldn't *love* it because in all of my Tudor-related reading, I find Katherine of Aragon to be downright dull. She bores me. But I knew that I wanted to read all of the Gregory Tudor books and wanted to start with this one.
Part of me wants to love Catalina. I think I'm supposed to feel some sort of universal feminist fist-pumping love and support for this woman who just wouldn't quit. Instead, like many stories of overly-driven and self-important women, I was annoyed by her and spent most of the book trying to resolve this irritation. On one hand, I know she was the result of her upbringing and should hardly blame her for the fact that she felt so entitled to the throne of England. Any small child who is told their whole life that they are the Princess of Wales and Queen of England would probably have become the same arrogant teenager she was. On the other hand, it still made for some exasperating reading.
The book gave some interesting insight into the earlier life of the first queen of Henry VIII. I've seen some reviews that criticize the fact that the marriage to Henry, birth of her daughter, Princess Mary, and the King's Great Matter are all quickly covered in comparison to the bulk of the book- which focuses on Catlina's life leading up to those things. This doesn't bother me at all. I think Queen Katherine's marriage to Henry VIII has been discussed a thousand times over, and anyone who remotely knows the story of their marriage doesn't need yet another telling of it in this book. I think the point was to give her background and what led to her that point.
Her childhood in Spain was interesting and thankfully not prolonged. It certainly gives the readers a better understanding of why Catalina comes to England with such a puffed-up sense of self. Her parents, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, were two of the most powerful people in the world at the time and Catalina learned not only how to rule a country from them, but many of their war strategies as well. Her childhood gave her many of the skills that proved vital during her own reign, and in many instances, though I truly don't care for her in general, it was impossible not to admit that she was well-qualified for the role.
Her childhood was also the reason that she became so unbelievably arrogant. I wanted to wretch every time she repeated that her appointment to Queen of England was what "God" and her mother decided, therefore it had to happen. Even after her first husband, Prince Arthur, died of the sweating sickness and she had in all logical ways lost her rights to the throne, she just wouldn't go away. Literally. She just stuck around in England until the King and his mother basically said, "well, she's not leaving I guess." She promises Arthur, on his deathbed, that she will marry his younger brother and become the queen in order to create the England they had planned. Despite loving him so completely (and to the point that it's hard to believe) she promises to tell the world they never consummated the marriage so that she can marry Harry. To her surprise, the queen dies and the king decides he'd also like to, "spend the night in Spain' and asks her to marry him. Well, that just threw a wrench in her plan! I mean, yes, she would become Queen of England, exactly as she has claimed was her entire purpose in life. Yes, she'd be producing heirs for the kingdom and helping to bring some sort of connection between Spain and England. But King Henry made clear that she would expected to rule as the Queen before her and all the Queens of England- by letting him rule. And once he was dead, she'd lose her crown. She couldn't have this. Thankfully for her, her pompous parents also felt her entitled to the throne and wouldn't settle for the aging King's marriage request, resting only when they ensured their daughter would then be betrothed once again to the heir of the throne- young Prince Harry, the new Prince of Wales.
The Prince could been betrothed to ANY eligible princess in the entire world, but somehow, Catalina felt that she was destined to marry not just one, but two English princes in line to be the next King. The elder Henry and current King of England was not good enough for her- his request was met with dismay. It would have given her the ultimate goal she felt she deserved- to be Queen of England. She wasn't happy, however, that he had no intention of letting her rule the country the way that she had imagined, and that upon his death she would have to step down from that role and become Dowager Queen. She wanted more control over things, and set her sights on the young and impressionable Harry after her first husband was dead.
After her betrothal to Harry, Catalina's story basically skips the 7 years of waiting for her marriage to to place. And thank GOD for that. Even the summary of those 7 years of waiting felt like it took 7 years just to read. Of course, the way she described her waiting as patience through the terrible times contradicts the actual words you read. She certainly complains quite a lot for someone who describes their waiting as patient, stoic and necessary to fulfill her own destiny. I won't even go any more into that- just know it was a lot of whiny droning about how miserable she was that the court wasn't paying her the attention she thought she deserved. Word gets out that Prince Harry's betrothal to her is no longer even valid, claiming he was forced to do it under duress or some nonsense. Even after hearing this, Catalina STILL stays.
Finally the King dies, and Prince Harry miraculously still wants to marry the pestilential princess despite the previous belief that he was no longer even betrothed to Catalina, but now to a distant relative of hers from Spain. 'Lo and behold, they get married, Catalina feels she's finally fulfilled her destiny and promise to her first husband. Who- by the way- she apparently loves so much that she doesn't go to church to pray to God, but to Arthur. I'm not even religious, but Queen Katherine's relationship with religion is probably the most hypocritical, annoying things in the entire book. First- she compares her mother to God on every other page. I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure that it's some form of blasphemy to raise any human being up to the level of God and claim that they're one in the same. She believes her Mom has some sort of special ear to God, and her mother's decisions are never questioned because of this. She also justifies her 'one little lie' about consummating the marriage with Arthur by saying it was what God wanted her to do. Isn't lying frowned upon in the eyes of God somewhere? And she keeps the lie up over the course of her entire time, despite knowing and hearing often how horrible it would be for her to marry Harry or anyone else claiming to be a virgin when she wasn't. It means nothing to her. Whenever she goes to pray she doesn't pray to God, but speaks to Arthur. And during all her suffering she claims that God must have forsaken her because she can't hear him, but then when things go well for her it's all- "SEE I TOLD YOU GOD WANTED IT." Ok, well that's not a direct quote- but the general idea is that she claims how little faith she has in God while things aren't working out well, questions her belief, and then suddenly when things turn around for her, she and God are BFFs.
Before I read this book, I always sympathized with Queen Katherine. I never really believed that her marriage to Arthur wasn't consummated, so the idea that she lied wasn't surprising. This book makes her seem not just driven or ambitious, but arrogant, conniving, and self-serving. While I am actually glad to have read it for the sake of another perspective to consider (and of course, if I'm reading the rest of the books my OCD tendencies wouldn't have handled skipping the first in the series), it makes my sympathy for the poor, displaced, long-suffering Queen Katherine disappear almost entirely. ...more
As stated earlier, I just really liked this book for some reason despite what bothered me about it. The dialigue was bad. Pretty horrid in some cases.As stated earlier, I just really liked this book for some reason despite what bothered me about it. The dialigue was bad. Pretty horrid in some cases. But I have a problem with a lot of dialogue in a lot of books. It makes me appreciate a book where the characters can speak with inducing douche-chills. And Elise, the main character, was dense. It took her 900 pages to work out "Marla did it," when as the reader you realize that on page, I don't know, ten. If there is a bad choice to make, Elise will make it, but at the same time it was nice reading about a female with some vague inkling of a spine. This isn't great literature, but there's something about it that I enjoyed. I will definitely be reading the next book....more
First of all, I need to get this off my chest. ThisOh, this disappointment is just all-encompassing.
Have I read the same book as all of my friends?
First of all, I need to get this off my chest. This is the biggest Twilight rip-off I have ever read. I'm not even a die-hard Twi-hard, and I'm disgusted by how similar these books are. Seriously, at least Twilight has vampires, albeit sort of silly ones.
Characters: Female protagonist- Isabella Swan- Prefers to be called Bella. Pale, dark hair, sort of nondescript so that most young women can easily put themselves in her shoes. Awkward, clumsy, socially defunct, sexually inexperienced. Two divorced parents, sort of sweet, hare-brained mother who lives with stepfather in the south. Has tastes that are not common for her age. Likes to read classic literature. No self-esteem. Apparently living in 1995 because Email is her main way to keep in touch over, say, text messaging. Emphasis placed on her researching online to learn more about Edward. drives a rickety old car that causes edward concern.
Anastasia Steele- Prefers to be called Ana. Pale, dark hair, sort of nondescript so that most young women can easily put themselves in her shoes. Awkward, clumsy, socially defunct, sexually inexperienced. Two divorced parents, sort of sweet, hare-brained mother who lives with stepfather in the south. Has tastes that are not common for her age. Likes to read classic literature. No self-esteem. Apparently living in 1995 because Email is her main way to keep in touch over, say, text messaging. Emphasis placed on her researching online to learn more about Christian. drives a rickety old car that causes christian concern.
Male Protagonist- Edward Cullen- Drop-dead gorgeous. Copper haired. Wealthy. Controlling. Adopted by well-off parents, one whom is a doctor. Likes a variety of music, much of which is classical. Plays piano. Has several adopted siblings. Likes fancy cars. Has never brought a woman home before, and everyone was worried about him for it. Talks about 'his world' being separate from the normal one. Christian Grey- See all of Edward Cullen. Except he's not a vampire.
Other- Mia- see Alice Cullen. Ray- see Charlie Swan Kate- arguably comparable to Rosalie Cullen- although not a sibling to christian or anatagonist to ana, she is used as a foil for her just as Rosalie is to Bella. Also, she's romantically involved with Christian's brother ( just as Rosalie is with Emmett). Elliott- see Emmett. Jose- see Jacob
Plot- Twilight- Self-proclaimed uninteresting and not-attractive Bella Swan, (Who apparently IS attractive to other people) somehow manages to catch the eye of over-the-top gorgeous rich dude Edward Cullen. Edward tells Bella to stay away, but finds he can't and their strange fucked up relationship ensues. About 1 week into their even knowing the existence of each other, Bella is forever in love. Fifty Shades- Self-proclaimed uninteresting and not-attractive Ana Steele, (Who apparently IS attractive to other people) somehow manages to catch the eye of over-the-top gorgeous rich dude Christian Grey. Christian tells Ana to stay away, but finds he can't and their strange fucked up relationship ensues. About 1 week into their even knowing the existence of each other, Ana is forever in love.
Have I covered it? Hardly. This book, almost verbatim in some places, mimics Twilight so much that it was distracting. I kept expecting Ana to throw out that now practically legendary line about being 'irrevocably in love' with stupid Christian, or maybe for the Volturi to pop out from around a corner and start chasing them down. From the overly warm welcome of Ana to Christian's family to the fast comment about needing 'bathroom time', this absolutely stinks of borderline plagiarism or copy write infringement or something.
On to this book on it's own. Horrible. Fifty shades? FIFTY? Because really, all I could see were two- asshole with a messed up childhood who now likes to beat his lovers, and playful, lovable normal dude who was quite enjoyable. That's about it. Fifty shades, though. I'd like to know the other 48.
Ana is one of the least likable characters I think ever written. She's more spineless and annoying that Bella Swan, equally needy and ridiculously, unhealthily willing to comply with a man she met only very recently. I give Bella Swan benefit of the doubt in her case, but Anastasia Steel just stumbles on forward with her relationship while this STRANGER continuously treats her like a child or an object... then is surprised or confused when his personality shifts dramatically. Which is does on every other page. This woman is a total moron.
Also- let's take one moment to enjoy a definition of a word used repeatedly in the book. Subconscious- existing or operating in the mind beneath or beyond consciousness: the subconscious self. Compare preconscious, unconscious.
STOP REFERRING TO YOUR INNER MONOLOGUE AS YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS. If it was subconscious, you would not know what it was saying. People pay good money to figure out what their subconscious is trying to tell them, but apparently, Anastasia Steel has hers on a two-way radio at all times. Don't get me wrong- my favorite part of the entire book was the reaction of her 'subconscious' and her 'inner goddess', and a couple of times I even laughed aloud as she describes her subconscious calling her a 'ho'. I believe we're confusing subconscious with the boring old inner monologue.
Speaking of repeated words- Without a doubt, had I read about the smell of Christian's body wash one more time, I think I would have actually lost my self-control and thrown the Nook across the room. I get it. He smells like his body wash. Maybe we can talk about that again in ten pages? And while we're at it, why not use the word "heady" or "intoxicating" some more. Or how about we have another sex scene that starts with Ana being entirely shocked that it's happening at all, and be sure to somehow include the word, "wow" as evidence of how she feels. So very descriptive. Really takes me away.
And so we're clear, I'm rolling my eyes, because every eye roll apparently is something worth discussing for several pages.
This book as absolutely no point. None. It's just reading so that you can get to the next sex scene. The characters are awful, the plot is non-existent, and the entire thing is one giant Twilight rip-off without the somewhat engaging story line. I wanted to give Ana some credit for being the one to break things off with Christian, but then she's devastated, "numb", and clearly pulling a Bella now that Christian's not in the picture.
This was just such an, oh my god, terrible, terrible book. I kept wishing that I could reach into the pages and punch the characters right in their horribly described faces, but then realized that would probably turn them on.
I'm all about a fun, sexy romp, but for now I'll just stick with the Black Dagger Brotherhood books when I'm looking for a smokin' hot read. At least there's also some semblance of a plot in that series....more
this was just odd. i got it for free, so i won't complain that much. i love a raunchy, sexy-fun-time read, but this book made me feel a little icky. athis was just odd. i got it for free, so i won't complain that much. i love a raunchy, sexy-fun-time read, but this book made me feel a little icky. and my normal gripe about sort of douchey dialogue applies here: worse, because pillow talk is always at risk of amplified douchiness. well, at least it was a fast read....more
The book, overall, was good. It was engrossing and fast-paced, and I managed to finish it in one day. But the end was frustratingDid I just get saved?
The book, overall, was good. It was engrossing and fast-paced, and I managed to finish it in one day. But the end was frustrating and a little confusing. (spoliers)
1) So many little subplots were left unanswered. I know it's a series, but I don't even know if I want to bother. This book wound up leaving me unsatisfied. I can't imagine investing another few hundred pages.
2) Somewhere along the line,this took a religious turn. I know it's slightly hypocritical that a book on a Satanic cult is a fun, scary thriller, but adding it's logical counterpart of Jesus and God makes it Christian fiction being shoved down your throat. I can't help how I perceived it, I just did. Regardless, I felt like after a while I shouldn't be reading it.
3) She freakin' dies? After all of that?
4) He comes crashing into their sacrificial ceremony, throws himself in front of her body, and the thirty hooded men let him go? With the instructions not to say anything. I find it hard to believe our protagonist should have even lived to see a second book.
I do feel badly for not giving this a higher rating. most of it was entertaining and i enjoyed the writing style. but the end just felt odd....more