Friday, January 4, 2013

The Kingmakers Daughter by Philippa Gregory

Poor Anne Neville, daughter of Richard, Earl of Warwick, the Kingmaker - one of the most hated characters in English history.  She was used as a pawn in her father's game of power in the War of the Roses, also known as the cousins war.  Her sister Isabel was married off to George, Duke of Clarence in her father's bid to get George on the throne.  When that didn't work out, he switched sides from York to Lancaster, marrying Anne off to Edward of Westminster (son of Henry VI and Margaret of Angou), hoping Edward would displace King Edward and take the throne for himself.  (Confused yet?  There are many Edwards, Richards, Henrys, Annes, Margarets and Elizabeths in this time in history). 
Both Warwick (her father) and Edward (her husband) were defeated and killed in battle.  Her mother abandoned her and claimed sanctuary at an Abbey.  Her only protection was Margaret of Angou (whom she referred to as the Bad Queen).  Anne was taken in by her sister Isabel and husband George, who held her not quite captive, but not quite free either.  They wanted legal control of all of her inheritance. 
Anne did escape their captivity (though the official historical facts of where she went remains a mystery) and married Richard, Duke of York (later Richard III), brother to Edward VI and George, Duke of Clarence.
Yes, it's a confusing history but a very interesting one.  I'd never much thought of Anne before, just the quiet, pale wife of Richard III, who lived in the North and was sickly.  There is much more to her and her history than that and I'm glad for Philippa Gregory's take on that.
I quite enjoyed this book and am enjoying the Cousin's War series much more than the Tudor series. 
In publication order the books go:
1) The White Queen - 2009
2) The Red Queen - 2010
3) The Lady of the Rivers - 2011
4) The Kingmakers Daughter - 2012
5) The White Princess - TBA
6) The Last Rose? - TBA

In chronological order the books go:
1)The Lady of the Rivers
2)The White Queen
3) The Red Queen
4) The Kingmakers Daughter
5) The White Princess
The Last Rose?

Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory

Jaquetta, Duchess of Bedford was a character from Philippa Gregory's previous "Cousins War" books that interested me the most.  Ms. Gregory doesn't write her series in chronological order.  Jaquetta was the mother of Elizabeth Warwick (wife of Edward IV), who in turn was mother to Elizabeth of York (wife of Henry VII, mother to Henry VIII).  She intregued me for several reasons.  the first being that her first husband was a Duke, much older than she, their marriage meant to strengthen ties between England and Luxembourg.  Her second husband was Sir Richard Woodville, the Duke's chamberlain.  They fell in love and had a secret marriage without permission of the king.  Jaquetta went on to serve in the court of Margaret of Angou and was a prominent Lancastrian at the beginning of the War of the Roses.
I really enjoyed this book.  It didn't disappoint.  I find Philippa Gregory's books to be hit or miss, this one lands at the top of her offerings for me.  It was well written about an interesting character in an intriguing time in history.  I am quite looking forward to her 5th book in this series, the White Princess about Elizabeth of York, I find that that is the missing piece of the story.

Rebel Heart by Moira Young

I really looked forward to this book after enjoying Blood Red Road as much as I did and it didn't disappoint.  I was back in the world I loved so much in a few pages.  It was so enjoyable to revisit this world and these characters.  Ms. Young is a gifted author and I hope more people discover and enjoy this trilogy she is writing.  I fully look forward to her next offering.
This book (while still action packed) found another, more emotional side to Saba, which I wasn't expecting.
Of all the dystopian fiction that is out there right now, this is by far my favorite series.  My only complaint is the wait I have until the next book is out!

The Kill Order by James Dashner

This book was the prequel to the Maze Runner series.  None of your known characters are in this one (with a few exceptions of mini flashbacks that hint of Thomas and Theresa).  The new main characters are Mark, Trina and Alec.  This starts where the Flare began.  And I just found it repetitive, confusing and full of zombie disgustingness.  It doesn't really answer any of the questions remaining left over from the Maze Runner books.  It is full of flashbacks.  A lot of this book is depressing and violent.  I had a difficult time getting through to finishing. 

The Death Cure by James Dashner

The Death Cure was the final book in the Maze Runner Trilogy.  I did continue reading the series, but I found it increasingly difficult to do so.  I finished it mostly because I wanted the answers that began Thomas's journey to the Glade.  As with The Scorch Trials, I found this increasinly violent and depressing.  I'm sure those who are into the Zombie stuff that's popular now wouldn't find this nearly as gross to read as I did, but I really did find it gross and had a difficult time finishing.

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

The Scorch Trials is the sequel to the Maze Runner.  Once I started the mystery of the Maze Runner, I knew I would be reading the sequel.  Dashner leaves the Maze Runner leaving a lot of unanswered questions and I really just wanted to know the back story of what was happening.  I didn't like this book as much as the Maze Runner, in fact I found the Maze Runner to be the best of the 4 books in the series. 
The story was still interesting, following the Gladers in life after the Glade.  I just found it increasingly violent and depressing.  I know people who have really loved this series, it just wasn't for me. 

The Maze Runner James Dashnel

When I bought Divergent last summer, the book store manager and I got into a conversation about us adults who are loving the YA dystopian fiction that's out right now.  She asked if I had read the Maze Runner, which I hadn't at the time.  She said it was good, more geared towards males (her husband really liked it).  So I put it on my TBR list.  Then on Thanksgiving (Canadian) friends of ours and I got into the same dystopian fiction conversation.  They hadn't read the Divergent books, I hadn't read the Maze Runner, so we traded.  (For the record Blood Red Road is still my favorite of this genre and I look forward to picking up Rebel Heart (Dustlands book 2) with one of the Chapters cards I got for my birthday this weekend).
The maze runner centres on Thomas, a young man with no memory of his past.  He wakes up in a dark elevator and enters into the "Glade".  The Gladers are all male, each one having entered the glade a month apart.  They all have a role in taking care of the Glade.  The Gladers that intregue Thomas the most are the Maze Runners.  The maze is an area adjacent to the Glade.  The gates open up each day, but the maze is always changing.  The maze runners are mapping the maze, looking for a pattern to aid in their escape.  The must get back each day before the gates close as there fatal dangers in the maze that come out at night.
The day after Thomas arrives, another glader arrives, changing the pattern.  This glader is female and they know that she is the last one ever.  After this, life in the Glade will never be the same, it marks the end.
The Maze Runner was a book I kept reading because I had no idea what was going on.  The mystery was so big and so interesting, I couldn't put it down.  It is a well written, enjoyable book.