Janelle's Reviews > The Hedgewitch Queen

The Hedgewitch Queen by Lilith Saintcrow
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's review
Jan 30, 15

liked it
bookshelves: i-can-t-even-with-this-book
Read from January 05 to 06, 2012 — I own a copy

Okay, really, I want to give it two stars, but I've been reading all the nonsense going on with Julie Halpern freaking out over a bad review, and I'm kind of feeling like taking it easy on YA authors. (No, it doesn't make sense, however, it is making me wonder if I need to go back and bump up the Mythos Academy books another star, so there's that.)

It's easier to start with the flaws in the book. Vianne is tiresome. She is about as useless a heroine as I've ever had the displeasure of reading in a book. And she's dumb. Not Elle Woods-yeah-she's-fluffy-but-she's-smart-too kind of way. No, Bella Swan of Twilight is a member of Mensa compared to Vianne. (And can I drop in a moment of "girl, please" for yet another heroine who thinks herself plain but is really unbelievably beautiful? Let her be plain. There's no harm in it.)

Vianne spends the entire book doubting her situation that a) she's the rightful ruler of Arquitaine and b) Tristan is in love with her. The entire book. Which might not have been so bad if the book weren't so long. Two-thirds of the way through it, Vianne says to herself, "For the love of every god that ever was, I thought, desperately, stop whining, Vianne." I concurred so hard, I might have hurt myself.

Saintcrow goes overboard doing that thing that authors sometimes do when they create these mirror it-looks-just-like-ours-but-it-isn't worlds: she changes the spellings of words to emphasize that This Is Not Our World. Aquitaine is now Arquitaine. Turkey is Torkai. Earrings are ear gems. My personal least favorite, dungeon has become donjon (which, of course, I read as DON JOHNSON because my imagination goes off the rails like that). At first, I thought perhaps the author's spell check was broken. It took a while before I realized this was a deliberate choice. The number of instances of these substitutions far exceeded my general tolerance.

So, what do we have thus far: insufferably weak heroine with a Walter Mitty-esque resistance to reality and a lot of goofy spellings. Add to that the book is far, far too long and the twist at the end is uninteresting. (To me. You might love it.)

On the upside, I was drawn into the story, and wanting the resolution carried me through the dull slog of a middle. Vianne and Tristan are two-dimensional characters, but the rest of the Guard show signs of being interesting figures. The mysterious figure who appears in the chapel was an interesting element that I wanted to know much more about. I'm interested in the world Saintcrow has crafted, despite not particularly liking Vianne as a character/narrator.

I change my mind, it's a solid three stars.

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