Okay, so this is just one more GUSHING review of Quest for a Maid. I think my reasons for loving this are about the same as everyone else's: it is extr...moreOkay, so this is just one more GUSHING review of Quest for a Maid. I think my reasons for loving this are about the same as everyone else's: it is extremely well written (I felt like I knew what life was like in 13th century Scotland). Meg is a strong heroine and very real - she has good qualities as well as bad qualities. Also, the magic and adventure were just the right blend! I can't imagine growing up without reading this story. I read it when I was ten, and was very proud that I could read such a long chapter book by myself that was written with such strange words (Hendry wrote the dialogue/narration in Scottish).
But then I tried lending this to several of my best friends who hated it. This was in middle school, and maybe they were just too old to pick up something written for younger ages? I can also see the dialogue being difficult for some people to get into. I've always loved reading things like Pride and Prejudice or the Scarlet Pimpernel where the writing style is very old-fashioned, but it could be off-putting for others.
So, once again, a GREAT story. Positive message, a little romance, a little magic, lots of adventure, and very well researched historical information.(less)
This is a historical fantasy of how a young peasant monk rose to be the Roman Catholic Pope in the 10th and 11th century. Ms. Tarr based almost all he...moreThis is a historical fantasy of how a young peasant monk rose to be the Roman Catholic Pope in the 10th and 11th century. Ms. Tarr based almost all her characters on real people and real historical events. History also records rumors which said Pope Sylvester II, known to the readers as Gilbert, used magic and the forbidden Arts. Ms. Tarr took this rumor and turned it into a fascinating story of a young monk's rise to power helped by friends, his own resourcefulness and dedication, as well as a little help from his study of magic. The story also emphasizes that nothing comes without a price, as Gilbert is always haunted by death and suspicion. A great story, especially if you enjoy historical fantasy. Anyone who knows the time period would probably love Ms. Tarr's references to historical information.(less)
OK, so I will have to try more of the series (there's only 3). My over all impression of the first one, though, is that Ms. Bray really wanted to write...moreOK, so I will have to try more of the series (there's only 3). My over all impression of the first one, though, is that Ms. Bray really wanted to write a coming of age story about a Victorian girl. For some reason she thought the book needed a supernatural twist, also.
I hated the combination. This is probably because I'm so used to paranormal fiction, even historical, having a strong heroine that I immediately identify with, or who has qualities I wish I had. Gemma Doyle did not have either an immediate appeal for me, or any qualities I liked. She was a whiney, self-possessed 16 year old girl. Which is fine for a coming of age story, because we're all whiney self-possessed girls at 16. And I thought that the Gemma Doyle Trilogy was going to be primarily a paranormal historical fiction.
If I had not started the series thinking I was in for the usual paranormal fiction, I think I would have liked the book better. Now that I know to expect a story about Gemma Doyle's coming of age in the Victorian Era, I think I will enjoy the rest of the series better.(less)
As the last book in the Quest for A Queen trilogy, I was disappointed in this one. The story did bring a couple characters back from the other two boo...moreAs the last book in the Quest for A Queen trilogy, I was disappointed in this one. The story did bring a couple characters back from the other two books, but over all Mary Queen of Scots was in the story less than ever. None of the main characters were very charismatic, and the writing style was confusing. Ms. Hendry often switched points of view between paragraphs, with little indication on who we were reading. Overall the weakest of the three. I'm glad I completed the series, but sorry the story wasn't the best one. Also, knowing the story of Mary, it's hard to have a "happy" ending to the historical fiction.(less)