A review in progress, since status updates have little space and Goodreads doesn't have a draft function.
The usual disclaimer: I obtained this book when it was offered as a free Kindle download. I do not know the author nor have I had any contact with her about this book or any other subject. I am an author of historical romances.
Am I allowed to say I found the cover . . . . creepy? I really didn't care for it at all. And unfortunately, a cover makes an immediate and powerful first impression.
So does the front matter of the book. I'd have preferred all the history of the writing be at the end of the book rather than the beginning, and the pages of gushing review quotes -- virtually none of which had citations and so were not verifiable -- really turned me off. Enough already! I got it. A lot of people really loved this book. But I want to read it for myself and make up my own mind, if that's okay?
By the time I got to the story itself, I was a bit peeved. I was hoping the narrative would make up for all the crap I'd had to slog through (even if flipping Kindle pages isn't exactly "slogging"). Alas, it wasn't to be.
Block paragraphs -- you know, the kind without an indented first line but a full blank line between paragraphs, as in this review -- stop many readers cold. They certainly do me. I find that sudden blank line halts the flow of the prose for just the tiniest fraction of a second as my eye and brain coordinate that skip down to where the action starts up again. It's like when movie film comes off the sprocket and you're able to see the individual frames instead of the illusion of a "motion" picture. Block paragraphs destroy the illusion of the story's flow.
Okay. I can get past that. I think.
By the end of the first page, I'm lost.
I don't know who the people are. Names aren't associated with gender, and pronouns don't help.
And Leinster isn't in the south of Ireland. I know this is fantasy and all, and yes, there's a wee bit of the medieval Kingdom of Leinster that lies on the east-southeast coast of the Emerald Isle, but 'tis far more accurate to say it's in the east o' Eire.
These things break the spell for me. They may not for other readers, and I may be called a bully and a troll and a wretched bitter hag, but all that doesn't put Leinster in the south of Ireland.
I'll be back. I need to sleep on this.