The Exiled Queen

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This is one of those books where you feel very strongly that the author has a whole story intricately woven in their heads and they are feeding the readers a scrap at a time. Even though we want it all at once to gorge on, we take the bits and are hungry for more.

This story has characters with a strong foundation, a good setting, and a deep seated history that propels forward the current events.

The main protagonists are likeable and sympathetic. You really feel like they are friends and understandable. The villains are appropriately loathsome and threatening. It has been a joy watching characters grow.

The whole thing is turned into a remarkable experience listening to the audio book. The narrator is truly marvelous at each individual character, accents and patterns of speech. She is consistent with pronunciation, and has wide range and a smooth voice. I’m SO glad she narrates the whole series.

Excellent narration notwithstanding, I’m a disgruntled reader. Even though some scenes were wonderfully vivid and quite suspenseful (especially in the Shivering Fens), as a whole, I felt mildly impatient with the pedantic writing style, annoyed at the romantic developments, and irritated at the ending. Ends on a major cliff. Hanging on for dear life.

“Leave-no-thought-unwritten” writing style: Infernal internal dialogue. The author uses a character’s thoughts to reiterate things gleaned from the actual events and dialogue, to be totally sure we totally know what’s going on. Totally. As if we can’t catch the nuance from the story itself. Chima’s mental asides occur within conversations even, interrupting the flow. These thoughts offer nothing new — they are usually obvious and/or repeated info. Sometimes they restate previous passages, italicized. Emergent plot twists are hinted at too strongly, making the twist obvious even before the reader could possibly play the prediction game. Boo! Nuff said. Forgive the rant, but I felt cheated of the joys of puzzling out the plot.

This one reminded me too much of Hogwarts, complete with a Snape doppelgänger and a nasty trio to replace Malfoy and friends. I don’t mind reading that same trope again, if it’s well written and engrossing.

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