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Group Read Discussions > March 2016: Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran // Spoilers

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message 1: by Becky, Moddess (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) | 3683 comments Mod
Hi all! It's that time again! This thread is for discussion of the book which contain spoilers.

Please remember to uncheck the "Add to my Update Feed" box so that you don't spoil your friends and followers! :)

message 2: by Jasmine, Gatekeeper of Giveaways. (new)

Jasmine | 1246 comments Mod
I started this last night and I a really enjoying it. It's an easy read and entertaining, however I am a little bothered by the relationship between a few of the characters.

The initial interactions between Sita and Kahini remind me a little too much of the way she had the characters of Nefertari and Iset play out in The Heretic Queen. I don't like how predictable their interactions are because I have read previous Moran books. Other than that I am enjoying this, but I am hoping that the author moves away from the same protagonist/antagonist female interactions that seem to color a few of her books.

message 3: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen Freeman | 256 comments I read this book when it came out last year and found it an engaging read, I really liked the perspective of the story. I am looking forward to her new release later this year.

message 4: by Christine (new)

Christine | 27 comments I just finished this last night and the relationship between Sita and Kahini bothered me also. For some reason the initial tone of the book (and the relationship between Sita & Kahini) reminded me of Memoirs of a Geisha. As the book went on though, I found the story very interesting. Overall, I really enjoyed the book and would read other books by this author.

message 5: by KMac (new)

KMac | 5 comments Just finished this tonight, and although I certainly enjoyed it overall, I agree with Jasmine; the character interactions were predictable. I particularly found the deep friendship between Sita and the rani a little forced, I think. They don't have terribly much in common to begin with, which usually works for me, but I feel like their conversations were so short and unremarkable. I'm not sure how their friendship kindled. But I still definitely liked the book on the whole, and it's motivated me to find more set in "historic" India!

message 6: by R. (new)

R. Patrick (goodreadscomuser_richardphughes) | 20 comments What did I like about this book?

I thought the main character Sita was a caring and humane person, and that came through well.

I liked the authors style of writing. It was gentle.

I liked the way the author displayed the way people lived and the things they believed in India back in the 1800s. It was kind of shocking the way the Indians were treated by the British. This was news to me.

What I didn't like.

I thought there would be a lot more fighting action by the Durgavasi. But, really, there wasn't much. Most of the fighting was offstage.

While Sita was fairly well shown, hardly anyone else was.

I was a little puzzled by what Kahini was doing with the raja when she visited him most every night, being that he was homosexual. There were innuendos, but it wasn't very clear.

I would like to have known a little more about the adopted son, how that came about.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. This is the first book I've read by this author.

message 7: by Ashley (new)

Ashley (nvyfacepaint) | 6 comments I was very excited to start reading this book as a part of the monthly read, but my excitement quickly dropped from there. I blew the first 100 pages, and then all the scenes became repetitive. Underdog!Girl has a rivalry with Uptown!Girl with a little forbidden love thrown in their... with a happily ever after. It just seemed too formulaic for me.

I haven't read any of the author's other books, but I'm wondering if her other books are like that? I'm thinking of reading the Nefertiti one next.

But! I did really like all the new information I learned and will continue to do some more researching and finding more books set in this time.

message 8: by Jasmine, Gatekeeper of Giveaways. (new)

Jasmine | 1246 comments Mod
I would say most of her other books are similar to that. It has been a little while since I read her other books, but I found some of the female relationships repetitive. Her first book, Cleopatra's daughter, was not quite like that and may be where you want to start if you want to read another book by her.

message 9: by Leonide (new)

Leonide Martin | 88 comments I recommend The Far Pavilions, one of my favorite HF books about India.

message 10: by Melissa (last edited Mar 29, 2016 09:14AM) (new)

Melissa | 3 comments SPOILERS BELOW

I just finished this book yesterday and overall I really enjoyed it. I did not know anything about Britian's takeover of India and I was looking forward to learning about it. I really enjoyed the way the author wrote this book. The writing flowed and was so well paced. Every time I opened the book I was transported into that time and place.

I do agree with some of the other posts in which the character's actions were predictable. I could see that Kahini was going to betray them almost from the beginning. I also wish that there were more action scenes in the story.

I did love Sita though and I felt truly connected to her.

I only wish that I knew which part was fiction and which was based on reality. Because I did not know anything about this historic event I didn't have any information going into the book and since it reads like fiction that takes place in a specific time instead of a moment in history written as a fiction I wasn't able to determine what was made up and what wasn't.

I did wish that there were more interactions between Sita and the rani though - I did enjoy their relationship.

message 11: by Robin (new)

Robin (ukamerican) | 548 comments Melissa wrote: "I only wish that I knew which part was fiction and which was based on reality. Because I did not know anything about this historic event I didn't have any information going into the book and since it reads like fiction that takes place in a specific time instead of a moment in history written as a fiction I wasn't able to determine what was made up and what wasn't."

There's a historical note at the end of the book that details some of the facts from fiction.

message 12: by Amy (new)

Amy | 27 comments I am fascinated by colonial India but everything I had read was from the British perspective, so I was pleased to have the opportunity to read something that told a story from the native Indian point of view. The author did an excellent job giving us the sights, smells, sounds, tastes, and other sensory details of India in the late 1800s - I did enjoy that.

However, I felt the book fell short of its potential. While the story was an enjoyable read, I wanted a lot more from Sita than I actually got. The author spends some time developing Sita's thoughts on transitioning from a village girl to life at court, but what about becoming a female soldier? A trained killer? I imagine the psychological transformation would have to be significant. There is a vast difference between having technical proficiency with a weapon, and being able to use it in battle. The book gives us nothing about that, and I was hoping the author would explore these dynamics a bit more.

The tone, for me, felt like a very abrupt shift once battles do start erupting, and there are terrible brutalities on both sides. I lost some sympathy for the rani here as I felt her statecraft was a little lacking - the situation was far too volatile for her to try to play neutral, and that stance ended up alienating everybody.

The ending, when it came, felt rushed - the tragedy of Sita's sister seemed to resolve a little too easily with her death and the death of her child, and then Sita's marriage seemed almost equally implausible. But I am glad for the glimpses of India that the book gave me, and the historical notes at the end were quite interesting.

message 13: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Dray (stephaniedray) | 48 comments I learned quite a lot from this book. What a great way to visit someplace I knew too little about!

message 14: by J. (new)

J. Else (jelse) | 7 comments I love how Moran brings cultures to life and sees the world through her main character's eyes. I really enjoyed learning about the all-female guard and the customs, the palace, the gods. I felt completely transported to the time and place. I delighted in the observations Sita made about Caucasian people – especially her horror that their skin changed red in color because of exposure to the sun!

Early on in “Rebel Queen,” Moran shows familiar plot building: There’s the hard-working, self-sacrificing, humble main character; the ruthless antagonist; the noble leader they both support; and an epic historical backdrop.

What I felt was missing: (1) Sita putting her training into action. I do not want gory details, but I did want to see her briefly in action. (2) Weapons at this time are much different that modern weapons that easily come to my mind, like the time it takes to load a pistol versus a bow. I wanted a little more battle action just to illustrate the grace and skill Sita had learned and developed. How did Sita’s skills as a Durga Dal manifest in the end? (3) The ending felt a bit deflated after chapters of buildup. Since the book is being advertised as bringing to life “India’s Joan of Arc,” there was an expectation that a good portion of the novel would center around the revolution led by the rani.

I did not like Moran changing the time of the brothel house and making it affect Sita’s sister. I think Moran had enough to work with that she did not have to adjust the time line of other events to add drama. (Moran notes her time line shift in the end notes)

Overall, I love how Moran chooses such interesting people from antiquity and brings them to life. Not my favorite book of hers, but an excellent book nonetheless.

message 15: by Annette (new)

Annette (annetteshistoricalfiction) | 262 comments Leonide wrote: "I recommend The Far Pavilions, one of my favorite HF books about India."

Thank you for the recommendation. I've read only one book The Rebel Queen about India.

In regards to The Rebel Queen, I enjoyed it. For me Michelle Moran is a very consistent writer. The only book of hers I couldn't get into was her last book Mata Hari's Last Dance. But that wasn't because of her writing, but because I just wasn't interested in the subject. Tried to force myself, but it didn't work. My favorite book by her remains to be Madame Tussaud.

message 16: by Jasmine, Gatekeeper of Giveaways. (new)

Jasmine | 1246 comments Mod
I really disliked Moran’s novel on Mata Hari. It is the only book of hers I haven’t liked. All the others have been completely engrossing.

message 17: by Leah (new)

Leah Moyes | 25 comments I have loved all of Michelle Moran’s books but did not read the Mata Hari one because of the onslaught of negative comments about it. Regardless she remains one of my favorite authors!

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