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Probably more of a 2.5 star, I didn't like it as much as some, but I like it better than others. (view spoiler)[While the corrupt politician did improvProbably more of a 2.5 star, I didn't like it as much as some, but I like it better than others. (view spoiler)[While the corrupt politician did improve upon the storyline, I didn't as if it was set up enough to not feel rushed. (hide spoiler)]...more
The cover advertises the idea that this book is Jane Austen with magic. I would stop well before saying this book is close to Austen's style, but I wiThe cover advertises the idea that this book is Jane Austen with magic. I would stop well before saying this book is close to Austen's style, but I will concede that it appears lovingly inspired by her works. I definitely see comparisions with Pride and Prejudice (it is, however, the Austen novel I am most familiar with), but I wish I hadn't seen that quote before picking up the book. One of my main distractions while reading was determining the parallels between Austen's and Kowal's characters, and, to me, they are there. Specifically, I was trying to determine the Darcy and Wickham characters given all the possible suitors that are introduced.
(view spoiler)[The story is a pleasent one, and I did enjoy the world Kowal built within the story by incorporating elements of regency novels that keep the romance genre successful with the subtle intracacies of everyday magic that don't overtake the world. I like the fact that the magic appears limited, and is used in practical matters, such as designing frocks or keeping things cool, as well as being seen as the height of art and womanly skills. Glamours, as they are called, provide a full immersion experience, influencing the eyes, ears and nose in the piece of art.
The story is ... predictable in a way. Since I was drawing comparisions to P&P, I couldn't be surprised by any of the twists the story takes. In fact, I found the book a little slow waiting for Melody to cause the scandel that would allow for the book to resolve. I wasn't interested in Beth's mysterious past, or who was the latest suitor du jour. Once the reader began to encounter more of Mr. Vincent, it was rather obvious that he was the Darcy character that Jane would end up with. Melody was Lydia, Captain Livingston was Wickham, and Mr. Dunkirk was Bingley with Darcy's sister. Jane, to me, is meant to primarily be Lizzie, of course, with Jane's demeanor and Mary's skill and appearance.
Overall, the story is simple and the resolution a little rushed. I am glad that Kowal continued the stories of Jane and Mr. Vincent rather than leave the reader with the summary of their lives together that ends the book. What kept me intrigued with this book was the world that Kowal built throughout the story. One other minor peeve was the use of spelling changes without any hint of why, which threw me out of the story. (hide spoiler)] ...more