Friday, February 25, 2011
The Peasant Queen - Cheri Chesley
In her debut novel, Cheri Chesley delights readers of all ages with this epic tale of a simple farm girl who discovers that even the humblest of peasants has the potential to change the world. (Summary from book - Image from goodreads.com - Book given free for review)
My Review: *Sigh* I wanted so much more from this book. At just under 250 pages, I hoped to escape into another world for an afternoon or two, but instead spent my time reading what I felt was an interesting, but unfinished manuscript. Oh, the punctuation, spelling, and grammar were perfection (I’m sure the author could teach me a thing or twelve), but the characters, setting, and storyline of the book felt thin and incomplete.
If I could ask Ms. Chesley for one thing, it would be for her to go back and insert some atmosphere and emotion into her story. I wanted to be able to visualize every page of this novel but could not because it rarely waxed descriptive on any level. Most of the book was comprised of he said/she said dialog, and he did/she did action, with little description of settings, characters’ emotions, or their motivations. I’m not asking for flowery mush, mind you, but rather subtle and evocative phrasing that would help me see (and sink into) the story.
If I could ask Ms. Chesley for one more thing. It would be friction. FRICTION. Quite simply, the story went too smoothly -- obstacles were easily overcome, danger skirted, and emotions developed quickly and with insufficient explanation. This perceived lack of genuine sentiment and lasting conflict between characters made the story feel convenient and contrived.
On the upside, this book is full of fighting, courtly intrigue, a dash of magic, a feisty (nigh combative) heroine, and is an always clean medieval romance. I think you will find that books like that aren’t easy to come by. I feel like it fit well into the younger YA category (just above tween) in terms of plot and emotional complexity and could find a delighted reader in that audience.
Ultimately, this story was not my cup of tea (or cocoa). However, I feel I should mention that there are quite a few people who would disagree wholeheartedly with my review. They loved it. I wanted more.
My Rating: 2.25 Stars
For the sensitive reader: One of the characters gets a little friendly, but it's fairly mild.
Sum it up: A story with a good heart that has unreached potential.