Kell Andrews's Reviews > The Wicked and the Just

The Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats
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May 05, 12

bookshelves: debut-authors
Read in May, 2012

A gripping story of a 1293 Wales with two strong-willed, but deeply flawed main characters -- displaced Cecily, who longs for her genteel English home but has accompanied her burgess father to the walled castle town of Caernarvan, and her angry, wounded servant Gwenhwyfar, whose own father was hanged and left to rot on the castle wall for fighting against the English king. J. Anderson Coats conveys the history very vividly. More remarkably, she made me care for two adversarial characters who were not terribly likeable but grew to a tenuous understanding and maturity through the course of the tale.

It's refreshing to see serious historical fiction published for young adults without a strong romance or fantasy element. I was not familiar with the Welsh uprising in the story, but I've read adult historical fiction of subjugation and revolution, and this is a tense, violent, frank story that ranks highly within the genre. Because straight historical fiction is more common in middle grade, this may be shelved with MG, but it doesn't belong there. I'd say it's suited for ages 14 to adult.
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