Emma's Reviews > The Burning Chambers

The Burning Chambers by Kate Mosse
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bookshelves: netgalley

What I wanted from this book was a historical mystery, what I got was a historical romance. Now, it's a decent romance, if a bit sappy for my liking, with the Romeo and Juliet style dividing line provided by the French Wars of Religion. As a fascinating and dangerous period, it effectively sets up the Catholic/Huguenot conflicts that are layered through the story, both in smaller character motivation and the larger social framework. This is done exceptionally well, the feeling of threat and uncertainty faced by ordinary people on both sides more than just a backdrop for the main plot- from les oubliettes to tortured confessions and street violence, it's a precarious time when anyone could be your enemy and every word you say might be monitored for blasphemy. One step awry, one wrong person trusted, one insult given to a vindictive neighbour...and you might be taken away, never to be seen again. It's making me wonder if Nazi Germany will be a step in this story.

However, the mystery aspect of the book is minimal. Clearly this is something that's going to be spread out over the series, but what it means is that you're going to get three romances with a side of somewhat flimsy (at least in this instalment) thriller. The prologue and part of the epilogue are the only two sections which relate to the larger series, the only bits which tell the reader there's more than this book as a standalone, and it's not clear that this is what they're for. On top of that, there's a lot of repetition of language and imagery, which is supposed to provide connection between the varying POV storylines, but which feel annoying and lazy. Especially as it's used to link that add-on future storyline (of the prologue/epilogue)- one more tenuous connection to make it seem like it should be in this book at all.

After a slow start, it's pretty pacey, and I have to give props for the seriously dark suggestion that those alive at the end of this book might visit Paris for the wedding of Henri III and the feast of Bartholomew. Yet the next book needs to seriously downplay the romance and up the excitement.

ARC via Netgalley
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Reading Progress

April 15, 2018 – Started Reading
April 15, 2018 – Shelved
April 15, 2018 – Shelved as: netgalley
April 20, 2018 – Finished Reading

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