|Digital List Price:||$14.95|
|Print List Price:||$14.95|
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Bohemian Gospel: A Novel (Bohemian Gospel) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 379 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Bohemian Gospel proved to be far different than I was expecting. I went in expecting a historical fiction with a fantasy element but got some great horror elements, too. Those combined with a great main character makes the book, yet it also suffers a bit in its latter half.
The shifting alliances of medieval Bohemia, and to a lesser extent the Catholic Church in that land, were a fascinating subject to explore. I googled Ottakar and glanced through Wikipedia before reading so I had a rough idea who was who, but Carpenter really brings them to life. She also incorporates Bohemian/Czech folklore and details of daily medieval life to really bring forth a vivid world.
The fantasy and horror elements were great individual story points, if Mouse’s abundant powers did seem unbelievable at times. The pit and baby cemetery scenes are great examples of the horror: creepy, eerie, and just not right. I loved the imagery the author used in these scenes; they raised the book to a whole new level.
The amount of powers that Mouse employs did seem a bit much at times. I mean, dang! That girl could pretty much do anything. The explanation for those powers, her father, also seemed over the top. Like another reviewer I read, I too rolled my eyes at that detail once it was revealed. So while they did add a great fantasy element to the historical struggle of court intrigue and a father-son relationship from hell, she seemed too powerful by far in the story.
I loved Mouse as a character, despite her crazy amount of powers. She has courage, pluck, and grit to spare, especially with some of the crap that Mouse goes through. Her journey from sheltered monastery “Mouse” to a more worldly and darker woman kept me intrigued. I liked how flawed she was too; that helped balance out the whole powers thing. There were times where she wish-washed back and forth in her courses of action and she tended to let look at the pessimistic side of things more often than not. It made for a very balanced character.
The one biggest problem with this book was the lack of a focus for the plot in the latter half of the book, at least for me. After Mouse arrives at court, “saves the day” with the whole Ottakar/father relationship, and boxes in the horrors that were plaguing her, it seems like the story didn’t quite know where to go. Mouse would wonder through different relationships, landscapes, and tragic situations before arriving at a conclusion that just seemed confused. I frankly got bored with this latter half and was glad once I was done.
I enjoyed our lead, her journey, and the world in which she inhabited. All were attention-getting and vibrant. Yet, a lackluster, weak latter half and Superwoman-level powers keep this book from reaching awesome levels. I enjoyed the expedition into a historical period/place I’m not familiar with, though. So in the end, this was still an enjoyable read, and I look forward to what they author comes up with next.
A strange child, Mouse sees and hears things others can't. Some know fear her powers while others fear for her. As she is reaching adulthood, Mouse finds herself pulled from the only home she's ever known because of an act of kindness to a boy king.
The imagery in the story is superb. Carpenter breathes life into the mundane and the fantastic alike. The fear and horror Mouse faces as she learns more about the gifts and curses laid on her, are stark and evocative. Equally so, the gentle and sweet romance between Mouse and Ottakar is poignant and engaging. As Mouse struggles to understand her place in the world, she must war with what she sees her purpose in life and what she truly desires. She was born with fantastic gifts but does a fluke a birth mean she con't pursue her own dreams?
My only complaints are superficial at best. I thought the story moved a bit fast at times, jumping quickly from scene to scene without giving me enough time to catch a breath. But the story covers a good span of time and since the setting is medieval Bohemia, it's reasonable for the author to skip traveling scenes and simply move characters from place to place.
I also found the scene where Mouse drives the old king mad a bit contrived. It was well done. But I thought it unlikely anyone at this time would have the knowledge or understanding of mental illness to drive a man insane.
However, neither of these issues detract from what is a really lovely and beautifully written story.
It is fascinating to me that someone, for their first effort, can produce something of this magnitude, depth and originality. Well done.
PS, it's different. It's not for everybody.
Mouse has known she was different since she was very young. Given up by unknown parents and raised at Teplá abbey, Mouse has special healing gifts. The Sisters and Brothers whisper prayers and make the sign of the cross when they pass her, but largely ignore her. She's gifted and lonely, unsure of her place or purpose.
That all changes when the Young King enters her life, dying and in need of her skills. As Mouse rises from healer to friend to lover, her life grows darker and her purpose less clear. What does God want of her, she wonders?
Until one day she realizes that it's not God who gave her life, but something else entirely.
Romantic and fascinating, a story about the darkness we all fight, and the questions many of us wonder. A great read.
Most recent customer reviews
The characters are well rounded. Mouse garners sympathy and apathy in spades.