Castle intrigue has a certain draw that would make me want to pick up a book. Castle of Lies has a promising plot description and one might think that they would be in for a, as said, an intriguing story of those without power rising up to take it.
Unfortunately, what I found were petty, childish machinations couple with writing that was dull enough to make me never want to pick this book up again.
Published: 7 May 2019
Category: Fantasy/Young Adult
Thelia isn’t in line to inherit the crown, but she’s been raised to take power however she can. She’s been friends with Princess Corene her whole life, and she’s scheming to marry Bayled, the heir to the throne. But her plans must change when an army of elves invades the kingdom. Thelia, her cousin Parsival, and Corene become trapped in the castle. An elf warrior, Sapphire, may be Thelia’s only hope of escape, but Sapphire has plans of their own. Meanwhile, an ancient magic is awakening within the castle, with the power to destroy the whole kingdom. Can Thelia find a way to protect her future–and her life?
DNF @ 12%
This book was not to my taste. It was not enjoyable to read. The writing did not pull me in and I could not connect with a single character. There was no one that I wanted to know more about, nor a plot thread to grab onto if this indeed turned out to be a plot based story rather than a character driven one (some are and that’s what it is).
The characters very exceedingly childish, from the way they spoke to the way they acted. It wasn’t the fact that they were in their teens and acting appropriately to that age group, it was that they seemed to be absurdly foolish even then. Thelia, the main character, especially, had some notions that were painful to read about. She would go through the things her mother had taught her in order to survive in a world where women were seen as lesser, such as how to “cripple a man without messing up my braid”, then in the next moment make sweeping assumptions about how the only thing necessary to change the whole toxic structure of society was her becoming queen. It was baffling to me that she would be built up as having some semblance of preparedness for the world around her but such a lack of clarity regarding real world politics.
Whatever political intrigue was hinted at by the premise of this book did not end up written well. The political “intrigue” read like children playing at politics. Like I said earlier, I guessed that the main characters are teens, but their supposed machinations made them read much younger and made it that much harder to take things seriously.
There were also some choices in setup that had me staring at the page, such as…the elves live on Magic. That seemed to literally be the name of their land, their island/country/whatever you want to call it. Like…what? And the humans lived on Kingdom? Add to that modern linguistic choices such as “dad”, “daddy”, and “mom”, which took me out of the supposed fantasy setting, and the crafting of this world felt overly simplistic and did nothing to endear me to the book.
I couldn’t get much further in this book because, for my part, it was incredibly dull to read. I wouldn’t recommend it based on the writing style alone, much less the detractions I mentioned above, but add in those and this book really comes down the line. I’m disappointed because castle intrigue, magic, and teens plotting better destinies could have been truly epic.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Quotes included are from an advanced reader copy and may not reflect the finalized copy.
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