I had a huge Tudor book phase 4-5 years ago. I read everything about Henry the 8th and his wives, watched any Tudor show/movie (ahem, The Tudors with Jonathan Rhys Myers…swoon) and thought about what it was like to live during that era. My phase ended when I moved out of my apartment and into my boyfriend’s (he didn’t care to watch The Tudors 800 times) so it’s been awhile since I’ve picked up a Tudor book. I jumped at the chance to get an ARC of The Phantom Tree by Nicola Cornick. The premise of the novel seemed like something I could dive into.
The book starts with Allison peeking into a gallery window and seeing a painting of Mary Seymour. However, it’s labeled as Anne Boleyn. She becomes curious and walks inside, and to her surprise, after speaking to the gallery owner, finds out that the man who is claiming the portrait is of Anne Boleyn is her ex boyfriend, Adam.
To make the story even more crazy, Alison is a time traveler. She knew Mary Seymour as a girl. Alison has been trying to get back to her own time and find out what happened to her son. She tries to figure out the clues left by Mary and struggles to find the answers to where her son is. While all this happening, her romance with Adam is rekindled… but he still has no idea she’s a time traveler. Allison struggles with her relationships, knowing they are completely built on deception.
I really liked the premise of this, however I found some issues with the story. I felt really confused as to how Alison could spend just 10 years in modern times and not slip up, or have anyone be suspicious of her. There’s no way she knew how to navigate the world that easily. She works a normal job, had a boyfriend, etc and never had any issues. Whaaaaaaaaaaat?
The book went back and forth between Alison and Mary Seymour. Mary, at first, was a super awkward character. She was beyond naive when it came to men. but I guess that can be expected due to her life at that time. She did grow out of it in the end, thankfully. However, she had an “imaginary friend” who didn’t make a ton of sense at first. Even after his true identity is revealed, the connection lacked development.
Overall, I love love loved the idea of the story, but I couldn’t really vibe with Mary or Alison.
3.5 stars from me.
One of my goals this year was to read NEW books, not just books that have sat on my shelf since 2005. One of my most anticipated (and notably hyped on booktube) reads was The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. Now, I’ve been a fan of the fae since Lord of The Rings (helllooooo Orlando Bloom) so when I heard that Holly Black was the Queen of Faeries, I couldn’t not pick this up.
Luckily, I wasn’t too disappointed, but I doubt it will be my favorite book of the year. Here’s why…
Jude is a human child born into a family that includes a half fae sister. When the kids are young, Vivi’s father, Madoc, shows up at their door and wants Vivi to come back and live among the fae. Except Jude’s parents won’t allow it, and they are promptly murdered. Yes. Right in front of the kids.
Now, that’s not the weirdest part to me. The weirdest part is that Jude and her twin sister Taryn are cool with it eventually. They know Madoc murdered their fam, but they are eventually like “whatev, he raised us”. However, Vivi refuses to live like the fae and could care less about being cool with Madoc, which I completely resonate with. The relationship with Madoc was just awkward to me.
I was really into this book for the first 3/4 of it. The world, the description of the different faeries… if I ignore the weird relationships, I was here for it. However, the last 1/4 had me a bit bored. The story seemed to loose steam and was definitely lackluster compared to the rest of the book. And somewhat predictable (for me at least).
What I DID like was the conflict between Cardan and his friends and Jude. Totally believable and actually made me uncomfortable. That was powerful writing.
I’d be interested in reading the next book, but hope we can get some clarification on parts of the story.
I’ve been reading everyone’s bookish goals for 2018 and decided I needed to give it a go. These goals may be super optimistic (I’m getting married this year) but I’d rather have a reaching goal than a lackluster one! Comment or link your goals in the comments!
1. Read one to two classic novels a month.
Well, this is probably going to be my biggest challenge. Classic books tend to be huge (ahem, War and Peace, which will arrive this week) but there are some that aren’t that long. War and Peace, House of Mirth and some Jane Austen will definitely be read this year. All these classics will hopefully make me a better Jeopardy competitor 😉
2. Read four books a month (including classics).
This goal should be doable. I tend to get through 300ish page books rather quickly, and that’s a typical novel.
3. Use NetGalley more.
With or wedding coming up, I’ve been working on being “financially conscious” and not spending on things I don’t need. Which typically includes books and coffee. I’ve vowed to use our local library and NetGalley when I can. Unfortunately I was a bad NetGalley user last year (I didn’t review some books I received) and I will need to redeem myself somehow.
4. Read half YA and half adult.
Last year I jumped into some YA and some fantasy and I really enjoyed them. I’ve spotted some awesome new books for 2018 in both genres so I’m really excited.
5. Do monthly wrap ups.
I’m hoping to really start utilizing this blog and writing better reviews!