Sunday, February 12, 2006

February TBR Challenge

The month is not yet half over and I have already read my TBR challenge book for AngieW. This month's theme was to read a new-to-you author. So I got out my spreadsheet to find one and looky there, the first book at the top fit the bill.

Title: The Secret Swan

Author: Shana Abé

Year published: 2001

Why did you get this book? I saw the review at AAR which gave it an A and a Hot sensuality rating. Plus a bonus... it's a medieval romance.

Do you like the cover? Eh. Green and blue... Seahawk colors was my first thought. Cover is by Alan Ayers and he has done some beautiful covers but this one is not.

Did you enjoy the book? It was okay. I have to disagree with AAR's grade and sensuality rating. Definitely not an A and definitely not Hot. I had several problems with this book.

Was the author new to you and would you read something by this author again? Yes, I'll try one more. I checked out Abé's latest, The Smoke Thief, from the library because so many people have raved about it (Keishon recommended it, too).

Are you keeping it or passing it on? Passing it on to the book trading group.

Anything else? I have mentioned before that secrets that go on too long make me twitchy. I think the secret in this book went on just a smidge too long. Tristan and Amiranth marry when she is only fifteen. She has secretly been in love with him for years while he is not too thrilled with the marriage. He dumps her at a secluded estate and leaves her to go off to war in France where he gets himself immediately captured and imprisoned for the next 8 years. When he finally escapes from prison he goes back for her and discovers the plague has decimated the population and Amiranth is one of its victims. Her cousin, Lily, is living completely alone at the estate and of course she looks EXACTLY like Amiranth. It won't take much brain power to figure out her secret. Despite this I actually enjoyed Abé's smoothly flowing prose.

I really liked Tristan and how he slowly falls in love with 'Lily' and when he finally tells her I actually believe it. Amiranth took a long time to tell him of her love and seemed to hang onto her anger and resentment but it was understandable and realistic. The secret of Amiranth's identity was revealed at three-fourths of the way through the book, a bit later than I like. The rest of the characters were sort of flat and seemed like wallpaper to me. My last complaint was I felt ripped off with AAR's Hot sensuality rating . NOT HOT. There was one sex scene and some sexual tension leading up to it, but it was pretty tame by my standards. Update: After thinking more and more about what irritated me about this book last night, I changed my mind and my grade. I'll give it a C+


Avid Reader said...

Aha - strange things are happening here, Renee. I agree with you on The Secret Swan. Abe' seemed to NOT be my cuppa but then AAR gave The Smoke Thief a grade of D and that made me want to read it because if they give The Secret Swan an A...then - anyway, The Smoke Thief wasn't a book that I loved like other readers but I did enjoy it. It was a B+ read for me.
I think you might enjoy it. Other readers found the The Smoke Thief boring, btw. So - fair warning and plus your getting it from the I won't feel guilty if you end up giving it an F ;-)


Kristie (J) said...

This wasn't one of my favourite by Abe either. And I still have to read the Smoke Thief too.

ReneeW said...

Keishon & Kristie: I picked up The Smoke Thief from the library and will start it this week. Keeping my fingers crossed that I will like it better than TSS.

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