Reading this book was a rare experience in which I noticed some fairly significant problems, but still really enjoyed the story. Compared to DauntlessReading this book was a rare experience in which I noticed some fairly significant problems, but still really enjoyed the story. Compared to Dauntless, the first book in the series, Chivalrous seemed rushed. It contains some jolting gaps in the narrative where the reader is set up to look forward to watching certain events unfold because of the attention paid to the preparation for these events, but then suddenly it's 2 days later with almost no mention of what transpired. I suspect the author may have rushed to meet a deadline, or else a decision was made to cut scenes for length or relevance, but not enough work was done to create smooth transitions between the remaining scenes. The author also took a significant risk when she set much of her story in a sort of Renaissance Camelot, right in the heart of medieval England (a good 700 years after the Arthurian legend and 200 years before the Renaissance began in Italy). It was an interesting choice with a fairly original presentation. There were some unfortunate choices made - giving one of the villains a half-sister witch named Morgaine being probably the most glaring. But the author did succeed in creating the sense of a place set apart as a stronghold of hope, despite its problems and its flawed inhabitants and rulers. Another issue was the antagonists, who seemed flat and stereotypical, as though they were plot devices rather than characters with unique traits and personalities. And lastly, a major secondary character, with a subplot running through the entire book, vanishes from the narrative after a tragedy, with no resolution, closure, or follow-up. I suspect her story will pick up in the next book of the series, but it was still unsettling to have a significant character just drop from the story with no explanation. Despite all of that, I enjoyed the majority of the characters, the story, and the overall spirit of the narrative enough to overlook the issues. Additionally, both plot and characters managed to surprise me more than a couple of times, which was refreshing and unexpected. Sometimes, you just like a thing. ...more
At this point in the series, I find the physicality between Jamie and Vanessa eye-rollingly predictable (even in the scenes where it's completely unbeAt this point in the series, I find the physicality between Jamie and Vanessa eye-rollingly predictable (even in the scenes where it's completely unbelievable because of the circumstances) and I finally resorted to skipping over most of it. Additionally, there were some inconsistencies in the plot line. Honestly, though I did like the book, despite the aforementioned detractions, I have to admit I was quite disappointed when I reached the end and realized it wasn't the final book, and that there would be another....more
I wanted to like this book, but was extremely disappointed. First of all, I have to wonder what the publishers hoped to accomplish by marketing it asI wanted to like this book, but was extremely disappointed. First of all, I have to wonder what the publishers hoped to accomplish by marketing it as Christian fiction, because it certainly is not - it's New Age (a distinctly anti-Christ movement). I would never have read it had it been correctly marketed. Beyond that, though, it has a number of significant problems.
The writing is decent, and the dystopian world does have some unique features that add interest to the story. But the author relied too heavily on modern U.S. topography, geography, and culture, rather doing the work of serious world-building. There are inconsistencies and the world is incomplete, as though it was developed only enough to provide a backdrop for the plot, rather than fully developed to seem like a real place. The characters are superficial, trite, and predictable - like paper cutouts with different physical characteristics and abilities to make them distinguishable. They're also flat, failing to develop in any meaningful or significant way.
There are a couple of "romances" which are just plain unbelievable. Characters who don't like each other and have completely incompatible personalities become extremely attached to one another on the basis of physical attraction alone. Sexual tension is hardly any kind of basis for love, nor is it even a significant connection. There were many eye-roll inducing passages I finally just skimmed until I was past them. I didn't care much about the characters, and I certainly didn't care about their tingles and frissons.
It is, at least, pretty clean and the society has a strong morality. The plot is also moderately interesting, and the pacing is one thing I can say is quite good, and the only reason I pressed forward to finish the book (along with hope against hope that the book would somehow pull off some kind of amazing turnaround, which it didn't). There's a place for formulaic, plot-driven science fiction - I just don't personally like it much. If you do, you will probably enjoy this book. But if you want 3-dimensional characters with complex relationships, or are looking for genuine Christian dystopian fiction, I recommend The Restorer (Sword of Lyric series) by Sharon Hinck....more
I actually liked this book quite a bit, but could only give it 3 stars because the key romantic relationships were disappointingly shallow. The pacingI actually liked this book quite a bit, but could only give it 3 stars because the key romantic relationships were disappointingly shallow. The pacing was great, the characters likeable despite their flaws (though Jamie wasn't the most believable of characters), and the storytelling good enough to keep me turning the pages when I should've been doing other things. But the authors missed a tremendous opportunity to portray a genuine, complex relationship between the lead characters. Secondary and tertiary romances fared better, but the primary relationship was essentially hormones, angst, projected fantasy, and sexual tension, rather than love or anything of real depth or consequence. Even at the end, it was heroism and a coming-of-age, blossoming maturity, rather than an act of genuine personal love. Nevertheless, I intend to read the 2nd book in the series....more