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The Kingdom of Little Wounds Paperback – February 23, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 11 Up—Cokal here paints an unflinchingly grim portrait of 16th-century palace life as experienced by both servants and royalty. Something is rotten in the fictional Scandinavian city of Skyggehavn as doomed Princess Sophia prepares to wed a man nearly twice her senior. During the celebration, royal seamstress Ava Maria Bingen accidently pricks Queen Isabel during an emergency gown repair, but instead of facing the requisite dismissal (or worse, death), Ava is recruited by narcissistic Lord Nicolas. Stationed in the royal nursery as a spy, Ava's destiny becomes entwined with that of mute nursemaid, Midi Sorte. Betrayal, murder, and political intrigue abound as these women struggle to survive in an environment that uses and abuses them in horrific ways. Cokal's prose is lyrical and beautiful. Characters—even minor ones—are exquisitely rendered, each with complex and often heartbreaking backstories. Reader Susan Duerden is exceptionally versatile. The story and its inhabitants spring to vivid life through her expert touch. However, some caution: frequent and explicit accounts of sexual acts, abuse, disease, and death make this one inappropriate for all but the most mature listeners. It is a superb audiobook, but consider the limited teen appeal before purchasing.—Alissa Bach, Oxford Public Library, MI --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Skyggehavn, a fictional sixteenth-century kingdom, is a desperate place plagued by madness, disease, and mercury poisoning. Political intrigue, murder, and manipulation abound as Cokal wends the troubling tale of Ava, an aspiring royal seamstress, and Midi, a mute foreign nursemaid, who together orchestrate a daring gambit to ensure both the continued power of the reigning queen and the downfall of the cruel man who sadistically took advantage of them both. The author seamlessly interweaves crooked fairy tales throughout her dark story, which only serves to underscore the grim realities of the women who suffer terrible violence at the hands of brutal men. The graphic depictions of sex and rape make this a difficult read—and reserve it for the most mature readers—though Cokal gives a powerful and poignant voice to both Ava and Midi, whose indignation simmers until they enact a gruesome form of revenge. Despite the challenging content, the book’s lyrical writing, enthralling characters, and compelling plot will give older readers lots to ponder. Grades 10-12. --Sarah Hunter --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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
Not a constructive sort of horror, like in Of Mice and Men or Sophie's Choice. There is no real point other than "well, that's how it was." I was bored by the time I got halfway through and would have stopped there except that I hoped it might get better. It did not.