Top positive review
5 people found this helpful
Amazing historical fiction, well researched, well written!!!
on May 9, 2016
I enjoyed this book, and the two that follow it, so much I am considering revising some of my other 5 star reviews. Penman's books are so much better written I feel bad giving her the same number as stars.
Things I liked-
I love that she chose an extremely interesting, but not commonly referenced period and place (12th & 13th century Wales and England). God save me from ANOTHER book on the Tudors... I thought my self well read, and well-versed in English history but quickly realized I am neither and appreciated the history lesson in the form of a truly entertaining novel.
Liked the use of period words. Thank goodness for the Kindle edition though, since Penman constantly uses obscure Medieval words (and obscure modern words my hsband did not even know). Although I actually appreciate expanding my vocabulary some people may find it distracting. I also was not bothered by the use of period language as some people were ("mayhap" this and "for certes" that). For me, it makes for a richer more believable novel. I was frankly more distracted with her occasional use of very modern words and analogies since I could not envision the characters speaking that way.
Her research was amazing. I love historical fiction and believe her trilogy to be some of the finest I've ever read. Every time I wondered whether an event really happened and went online to check it out- yep, sure enough it had! Unfortunately I also spoiled the ending of not one, but all three books with my online research since she so closely follows actual events. I came to love some of the characters so much I HAD to know what happened to them. Trust me- don't do that, just read her books.
Could the character development have been better? Possibly, but each book is over 700 pages. She chose to tackle a complex period, with many interesting people involved. I think she did an admirable job of portraying that world and the people in it. Rather than spending hundreds of pages developing a single character she gives us a glimpse into the main characters' background, and let's us infer from the information she provides possibly why they make the decisions they do later on. I think her books are more on the historical side of historical fiction, than the fiction side. By that I mean she seemed more interested in portraying the history, less so in character development, although I personally did not find fault with it.
Length of the books. Normally I'm disappointed in books I love because they are too short. Her are just right- long enough to be very satisfying, but don't drag on for an eternity. (George RR Martin, anyone?)
Things I didn't like-
Haha, can't really think of anything but if I do I'll update my review. I'm reading the trilogy over again so maybe I'll find something. I'm sure my husband would say he's sick of hearing about 12th and 13th century Wales, so I guess there's that. :-)