Has anyone else been having problems with Xanga not linking properly to other blogs and such? I haven’t been having issues with any other web sites, and it’s doing the same thing whether I use Internet Explorer or Firefox, so I won’t blame my browser…but it’s getting pretty obnoxious. >:|
Here is a review of a book I hated.
Selection: Once Upon A Winter’s Night
By Dennis L. McKiernan
Camille’s family is both large and poor. She and her sisters have little hope of being courted and marrying, since they’d have no dowry. Their house is small, crowded, and drafty, and the youngest child and the girls’ only brother is so sick he may die.
Then one night, there is a knock at the door. Camille bravely answers it and finds a polar bear with a message from the Prince of Summerwood. The Prince offers to support Camille’s family if they will give her to him, and despite her protests, her greedy mother makes a deal with the bear and sends Camille off to live in the land of Faerie.
Camille is wary of the magical land at first, especially after trolls and goblins attack her and the bear before they even reach their destination, but the land of Summerwood seems safe enough. Until Camille learns that a dark secret not only prevents Prince Alain from marrying her, but also keeps him from even showing his face in her presence.
Soon enough, Camille’s attempts to learn the prince’s true identity bring a curse down on the whole kingdom of Summerwood, and she finds herself on a quest for a land east of the sun and west of the moon to save her new home and the man she loves.
This book was…awful.
I’d forgotten all about it, but one day there was a crew member complaining that he wanted something to read. I read a lot and thought maybe I’d help him out, and as I questioned him on what type of book he was interested in, it boiled down to “A romantic action story where the guy gets the girl at the end and kicks everyone’s ass. Or maybe the girl gets the guy, since it’s kind of hot when it’s a girl’s point of view.”
(That is as close to his phrasing as I can remember.)
Well…this book fit the bill better than anything else I own, so I lent it to him and he loved it, which I may never be able to forgive him for…but that’s beside the point.
The point is that this book is awful. I thought it was okay when I first read it, but that was probably back when I was about 14-15 and had poorer taste in books.
My first point of dislike is that this story is based on a Norwegian fairy tale, aaaaand he retold it as an American trying to tell a story where the characters are vaguely French. So much awfulness there. I detest most of the characters’ names, and that there are French words tactlessly thrown here and there the way glitter is thrown on a poster made by a tweenager. Gross.
McKiernan’s narrative style also leaves something to be desired. I have always been told that the verb “to seem” is possibly the weakest verb in the English language….well…there is a lot of seeming going on in this story. A lot of adjective-ing and gasping and feeling, too, which are all very weak narrative points.
The plot is interesting, and I can even approve of a lot of the little side-adventures and characters that Camille meets on her journey…but I hate hate HATE the way this guy tells the story. It could just be that I’m picky and being overly harsh to poor McKiernan, but I feel like this would be a great story in the hands of a better author.
Now, having warned you about all that…if you think you can stand shoddy storytelling, I will also note that there is quite a bit of vague sex in this story, which is made extra awkward by the poor narration. There is also a debate Camille has with a servant (which is really awkward when we discover who this servant really is) about whether it’s virtuous to be a virgin or not, and with a clergyman about whether sex is evil, and for a while she considers becoming a prostitute so she can pay off a debt…it’s all very weird when placed against a fairytale backdrop with a heroine who is supposed to be the embodiment of the innocent and devoted young woman.
So, if this sounds like your kind of thing, then by all means, go check it out. Otherwise…there are far better fantasy stories out there, I assure you.