Endicott Mythic Fiction discussion

A Princess of Roumania (Princess of Roumania, #1)
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message 1: by Odette (last edited May 31, 2012 10:10PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Odette | 316 comments Mod
The June Endicott book is A Princess of Roumania
by Paul Park - who's reading?

Paul Park interview

Group Members' Reviews

message 2: by Kate (new) - rated it 1 star

Kate | 2 comments Just picked up my copy from the library today, just in time! Am only on the fifth page, but was intrigued enough to walk along the sidewalk without watch where I was going.

message 3: by Odette (last edited Jun 01, 2012 09:25PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Odette | 316 comments Mod
Kate, that's already a very promising review! (Don't get run over or anything, though. :) )

I'm happy to say my library has for-circulation copy of this book.
I'm looking forward to getting my hands on it & digging in.

message 4: by Kate (new) - rated it 1 star

Kate | 2 comments Not sure if anyone else is reading, but does anyone else have a bit of frustration with the main character, Miranda, and more sympathy toward the antagonist, the Baroness Ceausescu?

Melanti | 114 comments Very much so.

I tried to read it last week. I couldn't even finish the book, which is pretty rare for me. I ended up just skimming through the last 50 pages or so.

Odette | 316 comments Mod
I'm still waiting for the library copy I put on hold weeks ago. (The library isn't great about eliminating defunct records, so there's a slight chance that at least one of the copies is MIA.)

I'm hoping it does finally make it's way to me - I've been interested in this one for a while.

Melanti, what made you lose interest?

Melanti | 114 comments To tell the truth, I wasn't all that interested at any point, so it was more losing patience than losing interest.

I think the biggest thing that kept me from gaining interest was how little emotion Miranda displayed. She's sent back to the alternate reality that she originally came from and when she learns she'll never see her adoptive parents or her hometown again, nothing really happens. No real displays of anger, sorrow, rebellion, or disbelief - nothing you'd expect from a teen. She thinks about this reality fairly often but I never got any real sense of emotion when she was doing so. There's a couple of passages where Park is obviously trying to portray her emotions, but they never came across as very deep or believable to me.

As for quitting - there wasn't anything in particular. I was getting pretty close to the end when I suddenly realized that I had no clue what was happening, who was talking or what they were talking about. I ended up having to go back 5-10 pages or so before getting to a page I recognized. I decided that since I obviously wasn't paying attention, I may as well move on to something I liked better.

Normally, I would have finished it anyway, but given that it's the first in a trilogy, it wasn't like finishing the book would have gotten me to the end of the story.

message 8: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (fireweaver) | 65 comments Melanti, i read this several years ago (pre-GR, i assume, cuz i have no review of it...), and that's pretty much what i remember of it too. the story meandered and didn't grip me at all, the heroine was fully bland. i did manage to finish it, but perhaps i was still stuck in my "must finish all things started" phase.

Odette | 316 comments Mod
I finally got around to reading it. I was predisposed to like it because I'm fascinated with countries that belonged to the old Austro-Hungarian Empire, and I was interested to see how Paul Park integrated elements of communist Romanian history into this new fantasy world. Because of the setting, I was reminded sometimes of how much I'd liked The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, although the plots had nothing in common.

I suspect this is the kind of book you have to have some attraction to beyond just trying a new fantasy novel because there is a lot to keep track of and you have to sustain a commitment to that when the plot wanders. I usually need at least one compelling, sympathetic character to keep me engaged & in this it was Peter. He felt emotionally believable to me and I liked to tentativeness of his attraction to Miranda. I liked Andromeda & completely bought her as both a big yellow dog and the pretty boy soldier she once was (& maybe becomes again?)

Miranda's coldness only worked for me because it suited her position as great-ruler-in-the-making. I liked the fact that she made a sacrifice to save Peter's life and that her feelings for him are evolving in such a halting, confused way. That felt very teenager-ish to me, even if her confidence and detachment didn't. (On a superficial level, I liked the fact that the cover art portrait of her looked like a young Angelina Jolie - that would have been perfect casting a decade ago & gave me an instant image of the character.)

The character I had the most trouble with was Baroness Ceausescu. I understood that she was supposed to be a complex villain - evil but sympathetic because of her horrible past, but somehow the disparate elements never fully came together for me. Although there was one description towards the beginning that felt like a key to her personality: "It is a myth that evil people feel pleasure at the pain of others. Often the sympathy they feel is hard to bear."
I finally decided that she was meant to be a deeply damaged character with a personality disorder that made possible for her do terrible things while only feeling a very superficial remorse. I wonder if her character will keep evolving or if this is pretty much who she is throughout the series.

My library has 3 of the 4 books, & I'm curious enough to want to find out how the story turns out.

Melanti | 114 comments I can see how it would be more interesting if you knew about or were interested in Romanian history. Unfortunately, most of those alternate history details went right over my head.

If Miranda had started out normally and became colder as she began to rule, I could have accepted the lack of emotion. I'm sure ruling any major country takes some detachment. But it doesn't work for me when she's a "normal" teen in the begining.

Odette | 316 comments Mod
That completely makes sense.
I think I was allowing for a suspension of disbelief in the idea that her royal blood endowed her with inborn traits. This is not an idea I hold with in real life, but since I'd been warned by multiple reviews that Miranda's coldness was a problem, I was probably looking for ways to accept it as a natural part of her character. And the fantasy universe context made it even easier for me to accept.

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