I love the Jackie Faber books and have enjoyed each of the books in the series. This one was my favorite since the first in the series. It brings the characters from the Lawson Peabody to the sea and allows for excellent character development, particularly of Clarissa Howell and her friends. The plot is more focused than some of the other books have been and seems to have more new elements than the second and third books in the series did.
I was very disappointed in this book. Although there is supposed to be some mystery, intrigue and romance, there isn't enough character development or action to give the story any momentum or to give the reader any stake in what's going on. The book is primarily filled with descriptions of rooms, clothing, and court events. Also, this is apparently the first book in a series, so there isn't any closure or resolution for readers who wouldn't read another by this author.
If you like the narrators on Orson Scott Card's Enders Game and Enders Shadow, you will enjoy listening to this tale. The tale is a unique take on an old tale everyone is familiar with and has a good pace throughout.
The main character, Betsy, is so shallow and so one dimensional that the book is quite slow. It was hard to engage with the characters until about 2/3 of the way into the book. Even then, the characters still lack dimension, but at least a plot begins to develop.
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