What a fun, cute book. Although I think the magical world still needs some fleshing out (I trust that will happen in book two), I really loved the chaWhat a fun, cute book. Although I think the magical world still needs some fleshing out (I trust that will happen in book two), I really loved the characters, and even the Kami/Jared relationship. It's very rare for me to appreciate romance in most YAs, so it's all the better to discover a great one here between two well-developed characters. I look forward to the next one....more
This book made me cry. At first, I didn't really appreciate the way it was set up, but I came to realize how brilliant it was. And the ending killed mThis book made me cry. At first, I didn't really appreciate the way it was set up, but I came to realize how brilliant it was. And the ending killed me. Definitely give it a read....more
It happened in seventh grade. I picked this book up and started reading. The first sentence was, "He was a small rat, but bolder than most, with a disIt happened in seventh grade. I picked this book up and started reading. The first sentence was, "He was a small rat, but bolder than most, with a disproportionately long tail which curled behind him on the stone floor, losing itself in the half-gloom of a solitary candle's light." The prologue of the book went onto to focus upon the girl, Elizabeth Tudor, who is sitting in the Tower of London, waiting for the moment her sister, the queen, signs her death warrant.
This book is a page-turner, impossible to put down, treats historical figures as psychologicaly complex characters rather than paper cutouts reenacting documented history, and makes history live and breathe. It's also enviably accurate compared to many, many other Tudor-era novels I've read. The marvel of this book is the portrayal of Elizabeth, though. It's one of the most fascinating psychological portraits of a character I've ever read. Elizabeth is perhaps the definition of a flawed protagonist. She's shockingly brilliant, but completely unforgiving. She has a keen understanding of the needs of her people, yet she's utterly selfish and vain-- and utterly unapologetic about it. See this snippet:
"Is there anything you cannot do?" he asked her at length, stung to a jealous awareness of inferiority. [Elizabeth] smiled demurely. "I can't swim, Your Highness." "If you ever learn," he said softly, "I shall kill you for it." His command of English was still uncertain. It was quite possible he had misused the word. But as she stared into his steady eyes she knew he meant exactly what he said and was amused by the knowledge. After that, she went out of her way to flaunt her talents and charms. p221
I can't be the only one who finds that exchange and her subsequent face-rubbing of it so wonderful?
The Elizabeth of LEGACY is spiteful, she'll lie freely to preserve herself, and as much as she loves certain people, she would destroy them in a minute to preserve her power. This is a real portrayal of a Renaissance Queen. That ruthlessness is so unromanticized, I love Susan Kay for it.
Her thoughts at one point regarding her love interest:
"Men like Robin were never content, and men like Robin were all she would ever love, grasping, ambitious reflections of herself... He would begin to plot and scheme behind her back, building up a court faction... To emerge from that final conflict as the victor, it would be necessary to kill him. And she knew she was capable of doing it-- it was as simple as that." 296
And the greatest part about all these character flaws? The author is completely in control of them. They are not unintentional flaws she tries to disguise, as can be seen in many Mary Sue or wish-fulfillment type stories where the protagonist is too perfect. She writes Elizabeth as a dark, twisted person with a noble and compelling side, and the characters around her are aware of it:
"He saw the Queen and saw her for the first time with the mask of friendship removed, a figure suddenly as ruthless and terrible as ever her father had been... All their dazzling intimacy was an illusion, a mere straw in the wind, for in the last resort he was but a subject, as her mother had been." 305
I have so much love for this book even after all these years. It changed my life....more