The Wolf in the Attic
There are going to be plenty of people who love this one, and I have to admit that I loved the writing, at least the way the author frequently created such visual imagery. It felt, however, as if there were two different books, and the inclusion of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis in cameo roles seemed like name-dropping rather than having a genuine connection (yes, yes--fantasy, both pagan and Christian mythology, language of trees--but still...), and the horned god vs the triple goddess (maiden, mother, crone) seemed more confused than clarifying.
The fact is that when I finished, I was asking, "What was the purpose? What was it all about?" I kind of liked it. There were parts I definitely liked, but the puzzle pieces which seem to fit perfectly--were too loose or too tight. Almost. Not quite.
For me, The Wolf in the Attic was one of those books that kept my attention, but when I finished, the questions were more important than the content. The conclusion seemed a bit open-ended, so there may be a sequel. I liked Anna and Luca, so if there is a follow-up, I might read it and see if I feel differently.
Fantasy. May 10, 2016. Print version: 320 pages.
The Queen's Poisoner (The Kingfountain Series, Bk. 1)
I enjoyed the first two in Wheeler's Whispers from Mirrowen series, but never got around to the third.
This new series feels different, but in a good way. An alternate history mixed with fantasy and magic, The Queen's Poisoner follows eight-year-old Owen when he is taken from his home as hostage to the king. King Severn is an alternate version of Richard III, who has survived his version of Bosworth Field, whose brother (like Richard's) was supposedly drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine, whose two nephews' deaths have been laid at his door.
Oh, the similarities are all over the place--and connect with both Shakespeare's version of Richard and with Josephine Tey's revisionist version. (Sorry, Will, I'm with Josephine on this as far as the real Richard goes).
In addition to the alternate history plot, there is a similarity to Robin Hobb's The Assassin's Apprentice, one of my all-time favorite fantasies. I noted it, but it did not keep me from enjoying this fantasy.
As I mentioned, I liked the first two books in the Whispers from Mirrowen series, but The Queen's Poisoner seems to flow better and the characters have more punch, more complexity, more vitality. I'm not really sure how I feel about the alternate history aspect, but I thoroughly enjoyed the first in this series.
Kindle First choice
Fantasy/Alternate History. April 1, 2016. Print version: 336 pages.