Kelly Harmon's Reviews > Passion Play

Passion Play by Beth Bernobich
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Jan 18, 11

bookshelves: first-reads-giveaway-book, highly-recommended
Recommended to Kelly by: First Reads Giveaway
Read from October 12 to November 10, 2010

I finished reading this a while ago, but am just finding the time to review now. (Sorry, Beth!)

Let me start out by saying, overall, Passion Play is great! The story is superb and the writing is awesome...and the end ties up neatly, but definitely leaves some unanswered questions for a second book in the series.

The story is a bit of a trope: merchant's daughter is to be married off to someone she couldn't possibly live with, so she runs away. But Bernobich puts the merchant's daughter (Ilse) into some really hairy situations - so it's not your usual "fluff" runaway tale.

I don't want to spoil the story for those who want to read, but I want to say that Benobich creates a nasty, nasty situation and describes it with such realism that I felt I was right there beside Ilse. And I was sick. No one should have to put up with that.

It's an excellent read.

I found the beginning to be a tad slow for my taste, but by 50 pages or so in, it turned into a real page-turner. I didn't want to put it down.

Part of the reason for the (IMO) slow beginning, I think, is because of a word game the friends are playing in the beginning. I wasn't clear on the rules, and I spent time reviewing it over and over to see if I'd missed something. I finally just accepted the answers and moved on with the tale.

But two things did bother me: there is much talk of knowing past lives one's experienced and of magic...and neither one particularly manifested itself in the text. Tor's back cover jacket describes, "Lush fantasy, wild magic..." so I was expecting more. IMO, it sets up expectations that just aren't met. Perhaps we'll see more of the magic in book 2.

Still, it's a keeper. I highly recommend it.
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Kelly Harmon Hi Beth! VP is an awesome workshop. I learned a lot while I was there.

Passion Play looks like an awesome read. (It's got great book "feelability," and the cover is fabulous. I'd have picked it up in the bookstore on the strength of that alone.

I can't wait to read it.


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