Sunday, February 3, 2013

Book Review: The Perilous Gard

Yep I'm a bit behind again and honestly I think I'm going to have to permanently move Monday's anime reviews to Tuesdays or Wednesday since I'm going to be busy every Monday this semester. Regardless, I have no idea how this book ended up on my to read list, since I don't have a lot of current titles to read right now I decided to start going down my to-read list from the top and this thing dates back to my livejournal days (2006-ish is when I think I made this). So yeah, no idea how a book a couple of decades older than me (and my copy certainly looked that old) ended up on my list, not that that has ever stopped me from reading something before!

The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope, illustrated by Richard Cuffari

Summary: After an unfortunate letter by her sister Kate Sutton has been banished to a far off keep of Elvenwood where the lord is mourning the death of his daughter and his brother is a grief-filled young man who says he killed her. But Kate soon notices that the local legends around the place seem to have a grain of truth to them and maybe more than that....

The Good: One thing I don't find as much in middle grade/young adult fantasy these days is historical fiction fantasy, normally it's just fantasy with the rarer historical fiction (yes I just read Grave Mercy which is also technically both but I still don't find it that often). In fact this book feels like historical fiction first with a bit of fantasy towards the end, mostly due to the character's attitudes towards the supernatural (it's almost Elizabethan England so superstitions don't seem quite as silly as they do now) which was a nice change of pace. However, it takes more than a little change of pace to make me enjoy a story.....

The Bad: This book is illustrated and my cover, the one above, seems to be done by the same man who did the pictures instead which, ehhhhhh. They didn't contribute anything and they were rather ugly as well, I didn't care for them and they made it a little awkward to try reading this on the bus or in public. Other than that, well, this book just didn't do anything for me. I have to give it a bit of a pass since, like I alluded to earlier, this is a book from 1974 so of course I'm going to think that people have done this kind of story (character is pulled into the fairy world and needs to be saved by the main character, a Tam Lin story) better since then*, especially since this book reads a little younger and young adult books didn't really become big until the 1990s (three guesses why there). While Kate was fairly developed Christopher felt a little flat and that made their relationship feel a bit flat and I felt like Geoffrey wasn't as rounded as he could've been either. So I found both the characters and the story a little simple, that combined with a setting that I've seen simply too many times just meant that I didn't really get anything out of this book.

So only 2.5 out of 5 stars for this book, it's not terrible but after reading so much I just didn't see anything in this book that made it worth reading for me, onto the next book on my list!  

*heck, I didn't realize it until the book started talking about the ballad of Tam Lin, which around here is a lesser known fairy tale, that Diana Wynne Jones' Fire and Hemlock was also an adaption of it which I liked a bit better (and came a decade later).

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