Heather's Reviews > A Brief History of Montmaray

A Brief History of Montmaray by Michelle   Cooper
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's review
Jan 23, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: ya

Good, interesting - not mesmerizing, and the pace lagged a bit in places, but I liked it. I'm not sure Cooper's doing anything revolutionary here. The characters are unfortunately all a little stock (wild tomboy little sister, lazy playboy-older brother, bookish big sister), and I found the whole idea of Nazis looking for the Holy Grail on a tiny island to be a Deus Ex Machina out in force - in drag, wandering down a busy street holding a large sign that says "Hey! See this book! I'm its god-of-the-machine! Yeah, ME!" But ok, despite that, I liked the atmospheric tension Cooper built in that creepy old castle. Something about those orphans hanging out in it, fending for themselves with no real adult supervision, took this story from a fairy tale to something a bit more grim, which I liked. And if most of the characters are a bit stock, I liked that Sophie, the narrator, may not be. Time will tell, of course (and yes, I plan to read the sequel), but her claims at being more shallow/boring/uninteresting than her siblings and cousin of course just raises the flag that she might, in fact, end up being something more. The lagging pace was really just that much of this book felt like a set-up for either the end, or the second book. But I'll give it three stars for the compelling descriptions of that cold, windswept island, for a surprise ax attack I DIDN'T see coming, and for a journal-scribbling narrator I generally liked.

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