Grace's Reviews > Summers at Castle Auburn

Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn
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F_50x66
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Jun 14, 12

bookshelves: fantasy, friendship, magic, romance

Read a lot of reviews before I started reading. It started out really well, with illegitimate Corie (Coriel) at age 14, who spends her summers at the Castle b/c of her father, since the royal family only marries Halsing women. I didn't agree with some of the other reviews stating that Corie shouldn't have liked Bryan so much since he was such an @$$. I've never experienced it myself, but I'm sure impressionable young women probably liked boys just because they were out of their league, gorgeous, and liked by every other girl. I didn't think the worse of her for it.

She did bore me with her idealism and her inability to grow up. But that's a bit unfair as well, since she's about 17-18 when the book ends. The plot was very predictable, a la Sherwood Smith style, but the writing is MUCH better. [Spoiler] You see miles away that the aliora will be freed, that she ends up with Kent, and that Elisandra ends up with Roderick. That last bit could have been built up, but we don't see any of that, which is disappointing, since those two are the best characters.

I thought it was also a bit tiresome and annoying that we have yet ANOTHER character who's beloved and makes friends up and down the castle stairs. Really, again? And yet this person is going to be the queen??? I just don't buy that. I don't see her as a queen. Kent, I can see being a good king, but I definitely don't see Corie as the queen. Furthermore, she's set the aliora free, which represents a significant investment on the part of the nobles. I don't see how anyone would support her as the queen after that (aside from Kent, that is). I didn't think that was that believable, but just a way to tie up the story.

The best two characters were Elisandra and Roderick. Roderick is awesome. I know Kent is supposed to grow on you, but instead it's Roderick that really takes the show. He's mature, he's ambitious, he's considerate, he's really easy to love -- and yet he's not forced down your throat, so you like him better. And it's sort of even better that he kind of keeps his emotions in check. You're sort of kept wondering if he likes Corie (of course), but I like it better that he didn't.

And I am surprised at how it ends with Elisandra killing Bryan. Not that it's a surprise she kills him -- that was seen miles away. It's a surprise that Corie believes Kent right away when Kent comes up with his flimsy belief how Elisandra did it b/c "she had the most to lose." Really? Really? Like some of the nobles who would lose all their holdings didn't have more to lose? I am not really buying that. Also, although it makes Elisandra more likable, it also makes her slightly unstable, since she had NO reason to kill Bryan, and she didn't even have the personality (previously set out in the book).

All in all, it was nice light reading. Don't expect that you're going to get court intrigue and mystery, b/c it's not like that. This is written for maybe 9-13 y/o. It is VERY young reading. It's very safe to read; like I said, it reads a bit like Sherwood Smith, but not as stilted and irritating, with the author using the same grammatical structure and telling the reader what to think. Just wished it could have been more complicated, and the main character less toted as being popular. If so many readers are finding her annoying, it should be that her characteristics (stubborn naivete) would have made her annoying to people at Castle Auburn as well.
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