Friday, March 23, 2012

Wisdom's Kiss (YA)

Wisdom's Kiss. Catherine Gilbert Murdock. 2011. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 304 pages.

Trudy's sight revealed itself one warm summer night when the child was no older than three.

Wisdom's Kiss is good example of an almost novel. Perhaps I would have enjoyed this one more if I'd read Princess Ben. Perhaps I would have known more what to expect from this fantasy novel by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. Perhaps I would have cared more going into it, connected with the characters more. I don't know. I haven't read Princess Ben, though I've been meaning to read it for more than a few years now.

It is an almost for me because while I almost cared about the characters, I didn't quite. And I almost cared about the story, but I didn't quite. And I almost found the writing wonderful, but I also found it a little much.

There are many, many, many narrators in Wisdom's Kiss. (Would I have loved it more if they'd been fewer?) The narrator we meet first is a maid named Fortitude, "Trudy." She's head over heels in love with Tips, a "soldier" with a secret who doesn't really want to come back home just yet even though that's not what he's telling her in his (messy) letters to his childhood friend. This maid, for better or worse, is made a "Lady" when the Queen Mother, Benevolence, and her second granddaughter, Wisdom (Dizzy) travel through their mountain village. Wisdom is getting married soon, and the oyster-disaster at a previous inn leaves her much in need of another lady in waiting. Ben also appreciates Trudy for who she is. So reluctantly Trudy joins the royal procession on their way...

Wisdom's Kiss is a fantasy novel. And it feels like it. Which is a good thing, I think. I think I would have preferred this one if it had been presented more traditionally. While this one wasn't a difficult read, I discovered as I kept reading that I just didn't care about any of the characters. And I'm not sure I was 'liking' the right characters, the characters I was meant to like. (Was Dizzy supposed to be so....unpleasant?! Was I supposed to feel sympathetic towards her? Was I supposed to be happy that she got Tips instead of Trudy?! Because I just found her to be selfish and spoiled.)

Read Wisdom's Kiss
  • If you're a fan of fantasy novels for young adults
  • If you're a fan of romance-fantasy novels
  • If you like your fantasy to be a little quirky

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Cleo Li-Schwartz 11:27 AM  

I loved Princess Ben, and I'm disappointed to hear that the sequel wasn't as good. That's sometimes the case; the sequel is weaker.

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