logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Dreaming
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-10-11 17:52
Author's Agendas Overwhelm an Interesting Tale (Review: Boudica #1- Dreaming the Eagle)

51kvbnxtidl-_sx302_bo1204203200_

 
(This review also contains an overview of the entire quadrilogy.)
 
As a fan of historical fiction I have no problems with creative license and exploring ideas, especially when there is a shortage of reference material on a topic- in this case regarding the woman known as Boudica, who led a rebel campaign against the Roman legions in Brittania in the 1st century AD. Though we know the eventual outcome, as the saying goes: it's the journey that matters, not the destination.
 
This journey feels like a family vacation you're forced to go on with your new step-parent/siblings, so you brought your stash...
 
There's not a lot of factual info on Boudica herself so author Manda Scott flexes her worldbuilding muscles admirably and fashions a layered Celtic society that starts out exploring themes but quickly turns into pure propaganda. Which is a shame, `cause it coulda been a contender.
 
It's easy to see why Manda Scott is considered one of the better crime drama authors in the UK: multiple story threads weave together creating at times a compelling drama but at others can be obtuse, but not overly so.
 
Real characters and events get submerged beneath the author's iron-willed agenda. There's a clear metaphor of Rome as the Great Western Male-Dominated Ordered Society trying to bring the Celts as the Groovy Bisexual Spiritually-Free Goddess-Loving Individuals to heel. Given that the author is openly lesbian and an advocate of Dream Interpretation, you understand why you're being hit over the head.
 
Instead of Druids and Bards we're treated to Dreamers and Singers- and Dreamers never seem to be wrong... about anything. Along with this comes page after page of spiritual mumbo jumbo centered on animal symbolism, mystic interpretations, moonlight reflections on water, hair in every imaginable hue of yellow- pass the bong, please.
 
The main problem I had with the Dreamers is the lack of explanation for their skills. Yeah- there's some divine power at work here, but for three plus books they're infallible, and only at the end when you know things go wrong do their interpretations suddenly become ambiguous- it's like being at the George Lucas School of Revisionism.
 
**SPOILER ALERTS**
 
There's also the subject of sexuality. Lots of evidence has surfaced regarding Celts and their casual attitudes towards homosexuality, and while I expected it as a sub-theme and incidental to the story it almost overshadows it. Boudica herself is bisexual: her first love is her best friend Airmid, whom she's already having sex with when they're both in their early teens. After endless passages about their longing gazes and vows of eternal devotion there's a teenage breakup spat after which she starts to notice boys, especially Caradoc, son of Cunobelin, the most powerful king. Skip to young adulthood and we suddenly meet Ardacos, who becomes a prominent supporting character and happens to be her first male lover, except that she's already kicked him to the curb... No need to bother with all that messy `coming of age character development' crap while your girlfriend is still hanging around!
 
Marriages are deliberately replaced with sexually open relationships regardless of how many children a couple has- it's entirely up to the woman as to what happens. If it weren't for the historical fact that Boudica did have children, I seriously doubt she would have been given any male lovers in this story. The fate of the children's father shows this- the aforementioned Caradoc- another historical figure whose true final fate is uncertain. His removal from the story, while factually based up to a point, honestly felt like the author didn't know what else to do with him, but needed him to leave. You can hardly run back to the arms of your one true gay love with the father of your children hanging around, now can you?
 
'Tagos, a member of the Eceni (read: Iceni) tribe who grows up with Boudica, turns coward in battle and eventually loses his sword arm and the respect of his peers. His emasculation is forgettable until you realize that he's actually Prasutagos, who is historically known to be the Roman client king of their tribe and whom Boudica is known to be married to (here they only shack up for political purposes) and whose death triggers events that lead to the final assaults against the legions. This ham-handed hack job and attempt to shade his identity from readers is a clear author manipulation to facilitate Boudica's rise to power later in the story: no more weak male rulers, here's a real woman to lead us! 
 
Then there's Cartimandua, a queen who likes to play both sides and another pivotal historical figure who's mentioned and never seen. Needing her support the rebels send emissaries, firstly Caradoc, whom she holds captive for the winter. Caradoc never elaborates about his captivity, though there's lots of innuendo. Venutios tries to use his influence to sway her and marries her to cement ties to the rebels, though she still does as she pleases. Given the significance of these events, it would've helped to see them unfold instead of being referred to in passing... but that would've been heterosexual.
 
I read through the entire series and can't recall one single healthy, nurturing straight relationship that survived the story- if someone doesn't die, it just plain ends badly. Whereas every gay/lesbian pairing is of soul-friends and soul-mates and... well, you get the idea. Case in point: Dubornos, an old friend and rival, likes Airmid, Boudica's lifelong lover. After that disaster there's Cygfa- Caradoc's daughter from another woman- who wants him, yet he doesn't reciprocate. When Dubornos finally develops deep, abiding, lifelong feelings for her, she's long over him and well into... wait for it... a lesbian relationship! You can't make this stuff up... but Manda Scott did!
 
The characterization of children of this story had them so far beyond precocious, I had to laugh. Repeatedly. As another reviewer pointed out- are these kids five or forty-five? A pre-teen boy defeats a grown man at a chess-like game like he's a master strategist instead of playing against one. Boudica herself displaces Venutios, a man over twice her age, as the pre-eminent warrior of the times... because she had a good day of hunting. Boudica's young daughter at the tender age of eight is so wise and prescient that the legendary warrior princess actually defers to her judgment on multiple occasions! Trees died for this shit!
 
The final battle was very poorly handled: in the book the Celts outnumber the Romans by about five to one, and have them hemmed in a valley... and they still lose?!? Even though the Romans had to win, this fight simply made no sense!
 
Lastly, there's the death scene that wasn't. Boudica's final fate is open to conjecture- Roman historians claim she poisoned herself to avoid capture (the author argues that this could be a conceit, as that's what a proper Roman woman would do). Here we get another all-too confusing battle scene to save her daughter's life resulting in a fatal, self-inflicted injury(!). After all, no true heroine could ever be beaten in honorable combat by the male enemy, oh no- far better that they die stupidly! We're not even given the payoff of a final scene: after a hell-ride to reach a final resting place for her all we get is another vision where Boudica bequeaths her legacy to her young daughter before crossing over. Pfft!
 
I know it doesn't seem like it, but there's a lot to recommend here. There's a wealth of detail, flavor and feeling to the story and I always enjoy a different take on a subject. And there's times when the imagery is amazing: in the final book there's a symbolic moment involving a hare that was simply a stroke of genius! I just wished there were more moments like that- less propaganda and proselytizing, and more prose.
 
2.5/5 Stars
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2018-07-10 17:08
Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas $2.99!
Dreaming of You - Lisa Kleypas

When shy and secluded author Sara Fielding ventures from her country cottage to research a novel, she inadvertently witnesses a crime in progress—and manages to save the life of the most dangerous man in London.

 

Derek Craven is a powerful and near-legendary gambling club owner who was born a bastard and raised in the streets. His reputation is unsavory, his scruples nonexistent. But Sara senses that beneath Derek's cynical exterior, he is capable of a love more passionate than her deepest fantasies.

 

Aware that he is the last man that an innocent young woman should ever want, Derek is determined to protect Sara from himself, no matter what it takes. But in a world where secrets lurk behind every shadow, he is the only man who can keep her safe. And as Derek and Sara surrender to an attraction too powerful to deny, a peril surfaces from his dark past to threaten their happiness . . . and perhaps even their lives.

Together they will discover if love is enough to make dreams come true.

Like Reblog Comment
review 2018-06-14 00:00
Dreaming of You
Dreaming of You - Lisa Kleypas Lovely, why we read Kleypas still, right? I just thought the pacing was weird or it coulda been 5.
Like Reblog Comment
quote 2018-06-11 14:36
It was impossible, of course. But when did that ever stop the dreamer from dreaming?

By Laini Taylor in her book, Strange the Dreamer

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-06-05 17:32
Review: Dreaming of a White Wolf Christmas (White Wolf #2) by Terry Spear
Dreaming of a White Wolf Christmas - Terry Spear
Dreaming of a White Wolf Christmas

White Wolf #2
Terry Spear
Paranormal Romance
Sourcebooks Casablanca
October 3rd 2017
eBook
320
Bought

 

Tangling with a White Wolf—Best Christmas Ever, or Real Trouble?

 

Romance writer Candice Mayfair never missed a deadline in her life—until an accidental bite from a werewolf puppy turns her into an Arctic wolf shifter. She's forced to isolate herself in the wilderness to cope with her unpredictable shifting while she works on her deadlines. After all, for Candice, Christmas is just another day.

 

Enter private investigator Owen Nottingham, a wolf shifter hired to find Candice so she can collect her inheritance. They have a real problem: she must arrive home in human form, and that's not happening during the full moon. Besides, Owen has a new mission: to convince the pretty she-wolf her best move is to join his pack in time for Christmas...and to prove he's the only wolf for her.

 

Goodreads

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

 

 

Dreaming of a White Wolf Christmas is book two in the White Wolf series by Terry Spear. It’s part of her bigger series Heart of the Wolf.

 

The characters featured in Dreaming of a White Wolf Christmas I remember reading about them in Legend of the White Wolf and of corse they popped up again in another installment in the series, so I have some familiarity with them.

 

This novel was on ok read. It didn’t wow me or pull me into it. Everything was simple and happens very quickly. The major setup happens in the fist chapter, making it feel rushed. The tone of the book is light. Only touching upon things that should have more importance. For example; the introduction to our heroine and hero, is rushed. We don’t get much depth for the characters. Which made me not fall for them or be invested in them. They where just their.

 

The romance between Candice and Owen has just a little spice and sweetness. The sweetness was just a little too sweet and so the descriptions got to be a bit repetitive and straightforward.

 

As for the world building. I’ve always had trouble understanding it. Reading in order would be best, but even then I’m still confused. At the start of the series the world doesn’t know about shifters. They also live very very long lives, but then things kinda change on how long they live, but they are still in hiding from humans. I have always felt like the author wasn’t sure on what direction she wanted to go. Things kinda change suddenly on the life span for the shifters and we still don’t know why this is.

 

After reading Dreaming of a White Wolf Christmas I’m kinda questioning what I saw in Ms. Spear’s wolf series. From what I remember in the earlier books they use to have more depth to the characters and more action, suspense, a dilemma they had to over come, a bad person after them, or some kind of mystery to solve, so that things actually felt like something was going on, but now it feels blasé. From now on if I do pick up Ms. Spear’s I’ll be grabbing the books from my library instead of purchasing. This series and author have lost their appeal to me and I no longer have a big interest in the writing.

 

Rated: 3 Stars

 

Was this review helpful? If so, please consider liking it on Goodreads (Angela)!

 

Challenge (2018): March Take Control of Your TBR

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

I was born and raised in Northern Indiana. I’m an outdoor sun loving reader living near San Fransisco. I’m a mother, wife, dog owner, animal, and book lover. I’m the owner, reviewer, and mind behind Angel’s Guilty Pleasures. My favorite animals are horses & dogs. As for reading I love all things paranormal & urban fantasy. My favorite shifters are dragons!

Facebook Twitter Google+   

 

 
Source: angelsguiltypleasures.com/2018/06/review-dreaming-of-a-white-wolf-christmas-white-wolf-2-by-terry-spear
More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?