Wench. Maxine Kaplan. 2021. [January] 400 pages. [Source: Review copy]
First sentence: Tanya was good at many things, but her most useful gift was breaking up bar fights. The skill was one she had honed from her earliest days at the Smiling Snake, the biggest tavern in Griffin’s Port. When she was very small, all it had taken was stamping her foot and scowling. This stern-little-girl routine so amused the brawlers that they’d stop fighting to laugh, at least long enough for Froud to swoop in with a warm back-clap and a free round.
Premise/plot: Wench is a fantasy novel for young adults. Tanya, our heroine, loses her inn/tavern--the Queen and Her Council supposedly at least have taken it away from her--after her guardian, Froud dies early in chapter one. She sets off with the corps (led by Kiernan Rees) to the Capital to try to gain an audience with the Queen and the Council. But the trip is not an easy one. For the soldiers are hiding a secret...
Wench is action packed with some twists and turns (think the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie).
My thoughts: I have thoughts and opinions, I do. If I was rating this one based on the first half, then it would rate higher. I enjoyed the first half of the novel very much. The book kept introducing characters, and the characters weren't flat or cardboard-y. The plot seemed interesting--not particularly unique, but solid enough.
I did think it interesting that Tanya's supposed greatest strength--her
fierce stubbornness that she can handle all situations completely on her
own without any help or interference, because she is WOMAN--is her
But the second half slowly but surely disappointed. Once she reaches the Capital, well, let's just say it goes downhill from there.
Mainly because of the villain introduced....
If the big villain she was showing up against in battle was not sludge from a volcano, I do think the novel would be much easier to enjoy/like/recommend.
I think some readers will appreciate the main character's bisexuality--she's attracted to both men and women. And this is not a big deal or a "thing" in the story.
© 2020 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews