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Customer Review

84 of 91 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and Original Viewpoint, August 16, 2012
This review is from: The Kingmaker's Daughter (The Cousins' War) (Hardcover)
Phillipa Gregory has handled a muddled history with unexpected orgiginality. When The Kingmaker's Daughter came out, I was excited but equally hesitant to read it. From reading Philippa's other books, I felt she would handle the story of Anne and Isabel in one of two ways. The first was to make Anne and Isabel anachronistically independent, and the second was to make them absolute pushovers. While Philippa did make use of that worn-out anaology of medieval women acting like pawns in a chessgame, she also made Anne and Isabel seem realistic, with a few exceptions. I was also impressed by the way Philippa treated such characters as George of Clarence and Richard III because her characterization of them was, if not totally new, at least different from the majority of Wars of the Roses novels on the market these days. Overall, my chief complaint in regards to this novel was, in my opinion, the poor writing and a certain lack of consistency which hindered an otherwise enjoyable story.

In Kingmaker's Daughter, Gregory's writing seems almost like a parody of itself. The simple, slightly ominous and foreboding style that served her so well before became heavy-handed. In one sentence, she describes Edward IV as "glorious" twice, and this is only one example of her constant repition of overblown adjectives and phrases. Despite all these adjectives, I felt the writing did not serve to set an atmosphere or setting for the novel. It was clunky and amateurish, and since I know Philippa can do better from her other novels, I can't help but feel that the writing in Kingmaker's Daughter is simply the product of laziness, either on Philippa's part or her editor's. In general, the caliber of writing seems to decrease with each of her releases, specifically the books in the Cousin's War series.

For me, the second half of the book was what made it a worthwhile read. Despite the writing even, the second half was suspensful and exciting,even for someone who knows the history and can therefore be considered "spoiled" as to the events in the novel. As I mentioned before, Philippa's take on George of Clarence, Richard III, and what happened between Warwick's death and Richard III's kingship, was refreshing and unexpected. I wish this had been so throughout the novel, for the first half seems to be an entirely different novel than the second! George of Clarence from the first half is a totally different character from the second half. Isabel's characterization was also confusing and the proposed motives for her behavoir lacked the ring of believability. I also don't think that Warwick, for being such an important figure, was given enough space on the page.

All things considered, it wasn't a bad novel. I liked it infinitely better than The Red Queen. I finished it in a day, and it held my attention, but I think there was a greater potential here that failed to be met. 3/5
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