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Group Read Discussions > March 2016: Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran // NO Spoilers

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message 1: by Becky, Moddess (new)

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) | 3617 comments Mod
This thread is for discussion without open spoilers. You MUST mark any potential spoilers in this thread. If you've finished the book and want to have at it and discuss openly, please visit the Spoiler thread: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


message 2: by R. (new)

R. Patrick (goodreadscomuser_richardphughes) | 20 comments I've read the first four chapters and I'm hooked on the story. I feel I'm learning about something I knew very little about, the treatment of women in ancient India.


message 3: by C.P. (last edited Mar 02, 2016 04:03PM) (new)

C.P. Lesley (cplesley) | 688 comments Starting this one now—and hoping for good things.


message 4: by Shelley (last edited Mar 02, 2016 06:32PM) (new)

Shelley Schanfield | 27 comments About 2/3 of the way through, and so far disappointed in the lack of depth. It has the feel of a YA novel.

I just read The Strangler Vine, which was another contender for this month's read and absolutely loved it. Complex plotting and characters, effortless incorporation of historical detail, altogether a riveting read. A much better book, IMHO.


message 5: by R. (new)

R. Patrick (goodreadscomuser_richardphughes) | 20 comments I'm about 100 pages in and I tend to agree with Shelley. It's a light read. But it has some charm.


message 6: by Ashley (new)

Ashley (nvyfacepaint) | 6 comments I've had a slow start with this due to midterms at school, but I've gotten up to the 8th chapter. I'm hooked, but definitely feel the YA vibe, and that's okay with me! :)


message 7: by Gina (last edited Mar 03, 2016 07:59AM) (new)

Gina | 8 comments 25% through and I am loving this book. I find it very interesting and educational since I am unfamiliar with this region in the world.

I really do like the characters, I keep cheering and smiling when they achieve.


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

Jasmine | 1236 comments Mod
Finished the book. Overall I enjoyed it. I thought the last part of the book was what really made it worth reading.


message 9: by Kate (new)

Kate Quinn | 564 comments I really enjoyed this - thought it MM's best. There's so little HF with non-European history; India has a fascinating legacy behind it, and this was a fabulous plunge into unfamiliar territory for me. I had no idea female warriors could be employed by the Rani; what a fascinating tidbit!


message 10: by Ashley Marie (new)

Ashley Marie  | 546 comments I read this last year and really loved the glimpse into India that it offered -- non-European history, as Kate pointed out, doesn't get a lot of HF love. I love when books make me want to learn more about world history itself.


message 11: by C.P. (new)

C.P. Lesley (cplesley) | 688 comments I'm having the same reaction as Shelley. Faint Promise of Rain is so much richer in its portrayal of its time and place and so much more nuanced in its understanding of the culture, including the devadasi. Rebel Queen seems to me like a classic outsider's account—admirable for the attempt yet, in the end, shallow. Hoping it will improve as Sita grows up.


message 12: by Shelley (new)

Shelley Schanfield | 27 comments C.P. wrote: "...Faint Promise of Rain is so much richer in its portrayal of its time and place and so much more nuanced in its understanding of the culture,..."

Looks like a great book, C.P.! Thanks for recommendation.

There's also a book that's been on my "to-read" list for a while: The Siege of Krishnapur. It's the same time period as Rebel Queen, but by an English author who casts a cynical eye on the British in India.

I finished Rebel Queen without really changing my opinion about the book's tone and style. However, it did prompt me to read more about Lakshmibai, a formidable woman I'd never heard of before. Grateful to Moran for writing her story.


message 13: by KMac (new)

KMac | 5 comments I'm a little over halfway done, and I agree with the above commenters; a nice, refreshing, light read. I love reading about India (I seem to read a lot of European history, so it's a nice change of scenery), but it's not terribly in-depth, which isn't really such a bad thing, intended as it is for a Western audience who could potentially get lost in the complexity of India's lush history.

One thing I want to talk about is the protagonist. She seems a little, I don't know... milquetoast? For a woman who gives up her whole life to devote herself to becoming a member of the queen's armed guard, she has hardly any fire. Her motivations are all external forces, things she wants to do for OTHER people. What does she want for herself? Why is she so damn quiet?!

I'm really hoping the latter half of the book gives her a chance to grow into her role and really show some initiative and assertiveness. She lives in such an exciting time with so much possibility; I want to see her act for herself!


message 14: by Kate (new)

Kate Quinn | 564 comments It's true Sita is mostly motivated by others - her desire to see her little sister advance, her devotion to the Rani - but that seemed culturally accurate for me as Indian women (especially of that time) would have been encouraged to subsume personal ambition for the needs of their family or the person they serve.

It's an interesting question: is the idea of personal drive or fulfillment a more modern one, especially for a female in a historical setting like this one?


message 15: by KMac (new)

KMac | 5 comments Kate wrote: "It's true Sita is mostly motivated by others - her desire to see her little sister advance, her devotion to the Rani - but that seemed culturally accurate for me as Indian women (especially of that..."

Kate, that is a very interesting point! And I kept it in mind as I finished the book this afternoon. I think the thing I felt I was missing was a sense of Sita's true personality, her individualism, what set her apart. The second half of the book helped to solidify that for me.

It's certainly the noble goal, to serve one's family above all else, but I like characters who act outside the boundaries set for them by culture/society. That's likely just personal preference, though, haha! What do y'all think?


message 16: by Kate (new)

Kate Quinn | 564 comments KMac wrote: "It's certainly the noble goal, to serve one's family above all else, but I like characters who act outside the boundaries set for them by culture/society. That's likely just personal preference, though, haha! What do y'all think?"

Probably that's my preference too. At the same time, there has to be a balance between giving a character boundary-breaking drive, and making them still be true to their time. If they're going over the line right and left then I lose the sense that they're a historical figure, and not a modern character plopped into a historic setting.


message 17: by Gina (new)

Gina | 8 comments I just finished reading the Rebel Queen. MY REVIEW: I really liked the book and was eager to grab an extra 10 minutes to read just a few more pages. I loved learning about India with its culture. I was oblivious to so much to how their history played out and I am eager to read more from this era and region.

You have read all about what the book is about. My take on Sita, she is a very young girl with the responsibility to provide financially for her family, in India where woman are in my eyes considered worthless. She has much to learn about the devils that lay in people, and she grows up and matures before our eyes.


message 18: by Frank (new)

Frank Roach (frandoxx) | 2 comments My first post here but a long time reader and lover of HF. About half way through the book and i agree it is a bit of a light read. But like most Americans I have little knowledge of Indian history and culture. I have seen Jewel in the Crown and the like but that is about it.

So for someone with little knowledge of Indian history of this time the book's carefully explained approach is much appreciated. A good primer for people who know little about India like me.

Will wait till book ends to see if it will satisfy as a novel.


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