In last year’s Cannonball Read I didn’t review books that I didn’t particularly like. I tend not to give up on books (except Twilight) because I obsessively like to finish things, but I couldn’t bring myself to write a few of those reviews. This year I am going to do a full Cannonball if it kills me, so here is my first negative review for CBR5.
Generally I don’t mind Philipa Gregory’s books. She doesn’t write particularly good historical fiction compared to some other authors, but her books make for nice escapes if you like history. They aren’t horrible bodice rippers and they do have some truth. They also don’t make you weep too much for the state of fiction (unlike Twilight). So, yes, I’ve read a few of her novels.
The Kingmaker’s Daughter (The Cousins’ War #4) continues a series on the women of the Wars of the Roses. They do not need to be read in order as each book tells the story from one woman’s perspective. Honestly I think it is a really cool idea, but the books are a mixed bag. The White Queen is the best so far. The Lady of the Rivers and The Red Queen were fine, but had issues. This one might frankly be the worst.
Part of the problem might be the lack of source information for the main character, Anne Neville, who marries King Richard III. Gregory’s attempt to fill in the blanks mostly falls flat. She tries to make it exciting by having Anne victim to overbearing parents, including a mother who inexplicably forces Anne to deliver her sister’s baby in a storm on a boat, but I was really bored with most of it. The character isn’t interesting enough to make the slow times around her more engaging.
In addition, Gregory just blasted this novel out without any concern for, well, the reader. There are continuity issues that even I noticed (Anne steps down from a mounting block twice in one paragraph). The narrative is repetitive and grammatically problematic. Every sentence ends in a comma, what do you think of that, this writing style gets annoying, seriously. And did I mention repetitive?
Finally, the series phenomenon is killing me. Between Pure, The Century Trilogy, All Souls Trilogy, and the ongoing Cousins’ War (a fifth is in the works), I have my reading lists locked up for the next few years. The obsessive side of my personality is having a hard time disengaging (except Twilight, nixed that one early on).
While you don’t have to read these books in order, I had to rack my brain to remember what the heck happened with the other women. Part of this is my fault. You know you read too much fiction about a historical time period when they all start to run together. But much of this is the publishing industry’s laziness. They capitalize on a good thing and keep it going whether it should die a quick death or not (die! Twilight!). That’s not Gregory’s fault really, but it is yet another reason I disliked this one.
Anne was dull dull dull and Philippa seemed to phone this one in. Meh, back at ya.