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Easy to read and imaginative fairy tale spoiled by the main character talking and thinking like a millennial ("wait... what?") and horrible historical anomalies which distract from the story. Supposedly set in feudal times with lords and peasants (15th/16th Century), the main character, who is supposed to be poor, eats sandwiches (not invented til the 18th Century) and wastes an entire loaf to fill with manure to punish a swan. Not that poor then. The manor house also has hot running water (not a feature til the 19th century) which the lead character uses without a thought. I know this is supposed to be young adult lit but teens deserve better than this, and are perfectly capable of relating to a character who doesn't speak and live like them. It's a shame cos it's a lovely story and with better editing and a bit of thought, it could have been fantastic
I wanted to like this book more than I actually did.
The premise – a 15 year old “peasant” girl named Rhea is a miller’s daughter. She suddenly becomes engaged to a magician/sorcerer who is much older and is a noble, apparently this can happen without her consent. If she turns him down, her parents will lose the mill because apparently that is how things work in this feudal society. She ends up stuck in a magic mansion and finds out that not only is Crevan (her fiancé) a sorcerer, he’s already married to 6 other women (or things?). Ridiculous plot ensues where he gives her “challenges” that if she completes she won’t have to marry him. Rhea also wants to try to save all the other wives from an “unhappy” marriage. Already bizarre. I believe this book is aimed at a young audience, no bad language, nothing “romantic”, and only mildly scary situations.
What didn’t I like?
Throughout the book, the author keeps commenting about how 15 is way too young to be married and have babies. I tend to agree, but some young women choose to be married or end up pregnant at a young age, and the heavy handed reinforcement of this idea is a bit much, especially since a number of young women have children as teenagers and while it may not be an ideal situation, it happens, and their decisions shouldn’t be constantly put down on. Seems a bit too judgmental for a young adult novel. The main problem with Rhea being forced into marriage is that she has no choice in the matter!
Also, at one point one character recommends “waiting to get married and have kids, but don’t wait too long”. I’m not sure what morals they’re trying to get across here? Definitely wait until you are about 20, and then have kids, but ew gross, don’t have kids in your late 20s or early 30s, that’s way too late!
I’m not sure Crevan has any interaction with his wives besides taking a “gift” from them after they get married, but for some reason they all seem terrified of him.
None of the characters were that well written. All I really know about “Crevan”, the main bad guy fiancé, is that he is a sorcerer, he likes to steal one thing from each of his wives, and he can listen in on people’s conversations “magically”. That’s it. All the other wives, we get a little back story but not much. We know a lot of Rhea’s thoughts, but even then, all she wants to do is go back to her job banging on the side of the hopper at the mill and get out of a bad situation.
The ending. I won’t spoil it except to say that it was a let down. There is a lot of buildup and I was looking forward to some strong female empowerment hero moments, and instead… “play sad trombone music here”.
I don’t really recommend this book, but it was a quick read and kind of entertaining in an eye rolling way, I guess.
The Seventh Bride is an enjoyable, if shallow story by Author T. Kingfisher. The book holds a lot of promise with the writing and dialogue, which flows freely and only really suffers from the simplicity and lack of any real depth. Scratch the surface too much, and this book will seem to fall apart, but if you just take it for as it is, the story is quite enjoyable.
From the start the book has this notion of marriage looming over the reader and never once does it let go. This is the prevailing story element and will haunt the lead the entire time. Romance is not to be found and the absence of such is quite deliberate as that seems to be largely the main theme of the story. Problematically though, this theme seems to just sort of delvope without an intent, because while you could recite the plot of this story, it doesn't seem to actually be about anything.
A lot of what happens in this story seems to just happen. For instance the tests that Rhea (our lead) is given seem to ultimately have no point or meaning to the story or to the motivation of the characters, they're just tasks she's told to do. While the characters that do exist have a reason for existing, their motivations seem to be absent of purpose for much of the story beyond a single driving goal. Similarly a lot of the situations that happen resolve due to matters beyond the control of the main that just seem to go her way. For an easy read that isn't a big deal, but it further illustrates why looking deeper below the surface can be disapointing.
The book has some excellent parts going for it also. For example the characters do at least make a token effort at having shades of grey for characters rather than making morality a simple binary. Additionally the story makes no effort at all to entice the reader with a quick fix new relationship excitement, which is a cheap gimmick a lot of stories will toss in. Ultimately this book is fun to read and might be a perfectly find one to read to a young child, but may lack the depth a more adult reader would crave.
This was an interesting fast paced read that I enjoyed more than I thought I would have but wasn't nearly as scary or as haunting as I expected. I thought it would be alot darker than it was but at the same time I enjoyed it. Easy to get through and the audio was well narrated.
I loved the writing style of this story with its wry commentary on magic and common sense approach to ridiculous problems (also, who knew that potatoes were more prone to magical interference than almost any other veggie??), but as others have noted some of the imagery was rather dark and a bit disturbing if you have a vivid imagination. Being a fan of Tim Burton this didn't bother me as much, but I was somewhat disappointed in the ultimate conclusion of the story. The ending wasn't worth the buildup, though I honestly couldn't tell you what I would want as an ending. It's not a fairy tale in the modern sense of the word, with church bells and happily-ever-afters for all concerned, but rather more along the lines of Hansel and Gretel who make it home and breathe a sigh of relief at their close escape. As a lesson in fabulous prose I would strongly recommend this book; as a satisfactory story I'd probably shrug and say there are better stories told worse.
I liked the concept of the book and enjoyed the tail she was weaving, but the grammer and usage was very hard to digest. I kept wanting to re-read passages to see if I missed a key point or detail. I felt like it just wasn't easy to keep going, but I was drawn to find out the final plot and see how it turned out. Once the connections were all made, things got better for a few chapters. Then it was over all to quick let down that there wasn't more information or details of our main character.
What is the best way to describe this? A dark fairytale perhaps. It's a kind of high horror of how a man could take advantage of what's given in marriage (no sex at all, but a woman taking a man's name being twisted into her giving him permission to take what is hers for himself).
On the other hand it is kind of cool how the victim/wives of this man are able to band together through the leadership of a 15-year-old girl who doesn't seem all that remarkable except that she keeps trying. While it does have a fairytale feel, it doesn't have a particular journey other than our heroine is just trying to stay alive & get married.
This is the first T. Kingfisher book I read, and I rather liked it. The imagery, as other reviewers have said, is on the darker side, but the tone of the book is light. It seemed almost casual, somehow, with the main character being a practical girl of the kind so often missing in fairy tales, and much of the plot advancing through conversations. There were aspects of the book I liked, but it did not really all come together, and the ending felt abrupt. Still, this was a pleasant read, and I will read more T. Kingfisher.
The plot was good. A bit slow at the beginning. And too many things make no sense and weren't explained. Why she has to do tasks before the marriage, why not just marry her on her arrival to the house or before? She did nos pass the tasks by herself, why is she receiving help? Either there are too many cliffhangers and they will be explained in other books or you will never get an answer. I am not getting the next book, so I can't help there...