☆Eiko's Reviews > Masque of the Swan

Masque of the Swan by Rebecca  Ashe
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As a person who has never read any books or seen any films about The Phantom of the Opera, Masque of the Swan is a book that had me mystified and anxious through the entire story. It begins with the heroine Caralisa whom we're told, is an orphan living in a boarding school. The time setting is never told, so we're left to assume one according to the clothes the characters are described wearing which leads me to think around the 1500's, as this book has a lot of religious overtures which were quite common back then. She has no dowry and her godfather won't let her go out in Larissa society, so she is left behind only with her hopes and dreams. Caralisa can hear the songs of the wind, and she interprets them when she's by herself until one night, a masked man finds her singing and dancing by herself. He introduces himself as the Count of Samothrace, enigmatic and aloof, he proceeds to take her to a masquerade where she meets two men: one a cavalier with dubious intentions, and a young beautiful marquis who expresses his undying love for her. She runs away from both men with the help of Samothrace, and is soon pursued by the marquis in hopes of learning her name and place of residence to ask for her hand in marriage. Events occur that lead to the excommunication of Caralisa and the Church, threatened to be killed by a hired assassin, raped by a mad man, and is constantly rescued by a large black swan whom she dubs 'Lancelot'.

[SOME SPOILERS ALERT]

I find that Count Samothrace was certainly the only reason I continued to read the book, otherwise I would've given up before I even read the third chapter. As most stories go, this one moved a bit slow, however, halfway through the book it began to show more development and the tension between Caralisa and Samothrace is blatant. The fact that the Marquis fell in love with Caralisa when she had a mask and a costume on the entire time was unbelievable, but we're later told that, apart from being a shallow man/character, the marquis only loves beautiful things so I suppose it makes sense that he would want Caralisa. What I didn't understand was the love between Samothrace and the heroine. I felt she was a tad shallow, and undeserving of his love, but then again this could simply be me being jealous of a made up character :p. All in all, I rate this a 5/5 because of Samothrace's character, the swan 'Lancelot', the story behind these beautiful creatures and the way the author put it all together. I always enjoy books with gracious creatures be them dragons, elves mermaids or swans so of course this book won me over.
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