Sherwood Smith's Reviews > A Brief History of Montmaray

A Brief History of Montmaray by Michelle   Cooper
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Sep 09, 2012

bookshelves: fantasy

This had been recommended to me as a young adult I Capture the Caste. I guess I should know better when someone says something is a X version of Y, but when I really loved Y, I can get suckered in because one can never have new Y again.

There were parts of this story about a fictional tiny island kingdom far off the coast of France (size relative to distance was bothersome), down to a handful of people living in a grim castle, dependent on the occasional boat. Sophie keeps a diary, her writing being important, as did Cassandra. Sophie claims to not be very smart, but the prose swings wildly between adult phrasing and modern observations ('angsty' as a modifier) interspersed between teen emotions fixating on Simon, the servant's son.

The most appealing character was Toby, the brother; the funniest Henry, the violence-craving younger sister. The older sister Veronica was so self-involved she just seemed snotty. Instead of Cassandra's poor dad, who is absorbingly complex in his madness, we get Uncle John, who is thoroughly nasty, and his servant Rebecca, who is just as nasty.

Here and there were glimpses of wonder--to which Sophie was open--which kept me reading, but the whole story didn't quite coalesce for me. It seemed a long, long introduction of the same elements, then a rushing ending that didn't resolve much of anything except (view spoiler).

Apparently it's a series, so maybe this one was a first pancake.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Andrea (new) - added it

Andrea The second in the series is still in diary form, but different in tone. The first book is almost fantasty, a what if this happened in history. But the second is has more story rooted in fact. With day actives taking place in the '30s leading up to the war. And I love the Kenedys, Mitfords and others are used in charcters or mentioned in passing in the story. So the second book is less I Capture the Castle and more I Capture the County Estate.

message 2: by Sherwood (new) - added it

Sherwood Smith Thanks! I will keep an eye out for it.

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