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The Kingdom of Little Wounds Hardcover – October 8, 2013
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Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
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Top Customer Reviews
The author self-describes this book as a fairy tale about syphilis (which I wish I would have known before I decided to read it) and that is pretty much what it is. The story is set in the 1500's and mainly follows two girls in their late teens, both are servants in the castle. Ava Bingen is a seamstress who accidentally pokes the queen with a needle during a gown repair and as such finds herself in the role of either facing death or agreeing to spy for the King's Secretary. The mute Midi Sorte is a nursemaid for the ailing children of the Queen and King. Both women struggle to survive in a dark atmosphere and find themselves closer to goings on of royalty than they ever wanted to be.
I think this is dubbed as YA but it should definitely be adult. There is a ton of deviant/violent sexual behavior including rape and self-mutilation. The two main young girls are repeatedly raped and abused. Although they are in their late teens, all the surrounding characters in the book are adults...so this is a very adult read. For example in the first 10% of the book we meet a man who has sewn jewels into his penis so he can keep his wealth with him and he enjoys the side effect of how much pain this gives the women he rapes.
The descriptions of things are gross and disturbing. I am talking about descriptions of the king's bowel movements, details about the queen's gynecological exams, and wonderfully (I am being sarcastic here) detailed descriptions about lesions, boils, and general disease.Read more ›
Overall, one of my favorite reads for fall, The Kingdom of Little Wounds is a beautiful dark fairy tale. Comprised of little vignette style chapters focusing on various characters (the aging queen, the wronged seamstress, the devious count), that are almost stand alone little short stories in their own right. Cokal's prose weaves an amazing tableau for the reader; I found it easy to envision this kingdom on the verge of downfall as I devoured the pages.
Definitely not a fairy tale for children (some violence and disturbing scenes)-- think along the lines of Gregory Maguire's Wicked trilogy, I appreciated Cokal writing something that straddled the line between outright fantasy/sci-fi and historical fiction. As I want to avoid giving away too much of the plot, but needless to say this one was difficult to put down. Don't expect heroines who need saving, or any other predictable scenarios!
Make sure to check out my other reviews at [...]
And then I started reading The Kingdom of Little Wounds and I was so pissed that I had wasted $10 on this book. The first 25% of the book is horrific. I wouldn’t be comfortable handing this book off to a friend’s daughter who is a senior in high school. There is sex, rape, slavery, jeweled penises, strong subject matter and language. As a 29 year old woman it was still hard to read but damn it! I spent $10 and I was sort of disgustingly interested in where the story would go.
I can’t tell you how grateful I am that I stuck with this book! If I had to classify this book I’d call it adult historical fiction. My biggest issue with The Kingdom of Little Wounds was going into it expecting young adult and getting a whole bunch of adult thrown in my face. Once I reconciled that fact I was able to really enjoy the story. There is palace intrigue, servant rivalry, insanity, court politics, life and death, and almost anything you can imagine in between.
I would recommend this book for adult readers who enjoy historical fiction but can stomach the atrocities that occurred in history.
First reviewed at Once Upon a Chapter
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Too dark and perverted for my taste. NOT for young adults. Wish I'd read the reviews before digging in. Read morePublished 4 months ago by VW Smith
When my mom said this book made her uncomfortable I had to read it, and I couldn't put it down. The structure of the book with two main characters, stories within stories and the... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Lara Dunning
I tried to read this right after it came out, from our library's new title shelf. Gorgeous cover, labelled as a young adult fantasy / fairy tale. Read morePublished 5 months ago by P. F. Anderson
Guys seriously. Young adults? I'm 32 and I don't have kids, but if I did I wouldn't let them read this - so much that I wish I didn't read this myself. Read morePublished 9 months ago by A.R.
This is the perfect combination of dark and fairy tale. Not in the way of the redundant efforts of others to rewrite classic stories, but a perfect melding of beautiful written... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Kelly
I was a little uncertain when I started reading this book because other reviews had mentioned the graphic content and violence. Overall, if you've read anything by George R. R. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Lauren Roth
The plot drags on at parts and makes you think want to skip entire chaptersPublished 13 months ago by Chrissy Wimberly
In this fantasy/historical fiction novel that the author herself describes as a “fairy tale about syphilis,” the reader is treated to a sickeningly realized portrait of court life... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Liz W.