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Pathways (The Kingdom Chronicles Book 1) Kindle Edition
|Length: 330 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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|Age Level: 12 - 18|
- Book 1 of 6 in The Kingdom Chronicles
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- Publication Date : February 3, 2019
- File Size : 5109 KB
- Print Length : 330 pages
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Publisher : Rosewood Publications (February 3, 2019)
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B07ND2GB48
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Simultaneous Device Usage : Unlimited
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Page Numbers Source ISBN : 1795829427
- Text-to-Speech : Not enabled
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #8,117 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Like many princess stories, the main character in Pathways starts out as a peasant girl. Eileen is a skilled artist, a lot like Elaine from Goldheart, another "Rumpelstiltskin" adaptation. However, Eileen feels more like an outdated Rodgers and Hammerstein heroine. She starts out by saying she will never fall in love and winds up doing just that. Back in the '50s, that used to be a traditional character arc for women, but today, princesses make it pretty clear whether or not they want to fall in love and stick to their decision, no matter how much other people try to convince them otherwise. Not only that, but for someone who is so mistrusting of men, Eileen lets Aiden get away with some pretty shady stuff, but Eileen continues to forgive him over and over in spite of her stubbornness about love.
Romance aside, the first half of the book is incredibly slow. Eileen spends most of her time in an enchanted forest that continuously morphs its paths akin to Pan's Labyrinth. Even though the forest is different every time she goes there, she feels safe within its trees and trusts them to always guide her home. The forest guides her to beautiful areas that she draws in her sketchbook. She thinks that she was the only one who knows its secrets until she meets Aiden. Her encounters with him in the forest go on for much longer than they should with absolutely nothing of interest happening in the story. Rosie, Eileen's best friend, tries to convince her that she is in love with Aiden even though she never actually sees them together. It starts to feel as though the story is forcing Eileen to fall in love with Aiden in spite of her own wishes.
The second half of the book is inspired by "The Princess and the Pea," but without the pea or the tower of mattresses. The forest leads Eileen to a castle where she is mistaken for a long-lost princess and must compete for the hand of the prince against her own will. She soon learns that Aiden lives in the castle as well, and the rest is painfully predictable. By this point, the lack of a villain really starts to hurt the story. I saw every plot twist from a mile away, and there were no obstacles between Eileen and her happy ending. In fact, Aiden felt more like a villain than any other character, including the mean-spirited princess. I was so angry with Aiden for his actions by the end of the story that I felt like he was entirely undeserving of Eileen.
Pathways is a forced love story and very little else. It doesn't work as a fairy tale adaption because it does absolutely nothing to enhance the fairy tales that inspired it. Eileen could have been a stronger heroine if she had stayed true to her word of never falling in love, but everything in the book seems to revolve around proving her wrong. Her relationship with her parents is more interesting than her relationship with Aiden, but it never gets explored, even though she obsesses over her father's mysterious disappearance. I think I would have enjoyed it more if it had focused on Eileen learning the truth about her father instead of on a relationship that she never wanted in the first place.
Aaaand now I'm done fangirling like a teenager. ;)
***Minor Spoilers Ahead***
At the beginning of the story, it's clear that Aiden is moody and entitled- he's used to getting what he wants without question and no one tells him 'no'. He's nicknamed the Dark Prince for a reason; not the Sweet Prince or the Charming Prince. He meets a beautiful girl in the forest and wants a lock of her hair to remember her by, so he pulls out his dagger and he takes it. Done. He feels his action is okay, even though it's clearly not. He didn't mean to cut her skin in the process. That's why Eileen is so great for Aiden: she humanizes him. Even though he accidentally hurt her, Eileen is intrigued by the mysterious stranger in the forest. Why does her heart pick up every time she sees him? It's not like she's never met a handsome man before. The forest trees and pathways keep leading them to each other for a reason, no matter how long Eileen tries to resist its call. Now it's time to find out if she's brave enough to pursue a relationship with him and if he can soften his heart enough to win her love.
I think that if the author had worked the forest into its own story without introducing the palace/princess selection plot halfway into the book, the story would have read more smoothly. As it was, it lacked cohesion.
I found the heroine difficult to understand as she is hostile toward the hero from their very first meeting without provocation. And then, when he reveals the Big Secret (which the readers guessed a looong time before), she suddenly switches from hostility and resistance to acceptance and docility.