THE QUEENS CURSE by Natasja Hellenthal,
Reviewed by Rex Sumner
Synopsis: The magically enforced laws of her country have kept it stable for many years, but now Queen Artride needs to lift the enchantment to modernise the country. A classic quest story ensues with some interesting twists. The Queen and her bodyguard travel to the neighbouring country to seek a sorceress to lift the curse and have various challenges to overcome and peoples to save. What’s different is that the protagonists are all women, with the odd man turning up as either a villain or a god. Or a non-human slave. New creatures, wood and wind children are introduced. The story is told from a very different, feminine perspective, with conversation and love more important than fighting and violence.
Characterisation: Quite good for the main characters, poor for secondary ones. The lesbian love affair is pretty obvious and very long in coming to a conclusion – the entire book.
Narrative: It’s quite a good story, and keeps you turning the pages, wondering what will happen next. However, you do need to suspend critical faculties. Fighting is not the authors forte, nor travel and survival in the wilds.
Conversation: very feminine. It does jar when the men speak, which is not much, but the girls are talking realistically and in depth on how they are feeling.
Overall, it is clear that English is not the author’s native tongue and there are unfortunate errors, not least with syntax. It is actually a little hard to read, but stick with it because it is an interesting perspective on a different viewpoint.
Recommendation: if you are looking for traditional male dominated fantasy, pass it up. But if you are interested in reading from a feminine perspective, read the book. It’s different.
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