Friday, April 13, 2012

Review: The Gypsy Crown - Kate Forsyth

The Gypsy Crown by Kate Forsyth
Genre: YA, historical fantasy
Published on July 15, 2008
Published by Hyperion
Pages: 400
Read From: 3.16.12 - 3.24.12

Emilia Finch and her cousin Luka are Rom - Gypsies. For them, that means they live a traditional life, rich with story, music, dance, and magic. To the repressive Puritan government, however, the Gypsies are thieving, fortune-telling vagrants. 

While the Finches have managed to steer clear of trouble, it finds them when they try to raise money by performing on one ill-fated market day. A series of events lands the family in jail, charged with murder. Only Emilia and Luka manage to escape, promising to bring back help. 
The only problem is - how? Emilia believes in the legend of the charms: it is said that the luck of the Rom soured when a long-ago Gypsy matriarch broke her chain of charms and gave one charm to each of her children. Since then, Gypsies have been persecuted, and the families have dispersed. If they can gather the charms from the families, Emilia thinks, the magic of the Rom will somehow bring her family freedom. Luka, on the other hand, is more practical - he wants to enlist the aid of the other clans to help the Finches escape. 
Emilia and Luka must race through the countryside, navigating a hornets' nest of Rom-hating Puritans, Royalist spies, and traitors, if they are to complete their quest before the magistrate delivers a death sentence for their family. . . .


Things begin a tiny bit slowly at first, but despite that I did enjoy this story quite a bit. Emilia and Luka are both intelligent, strong, and courageous young kids, and despite Luka's unbelief in the charms, he humors Emilia rather than quarreling with her, which of course ends up saving them in the end. My biggest complaint is that the characters drag along way too many animals in the beginning. I love animal characters, but in a fast-paced adventure like this one, where Emilia and Luka are constantly having to hide and find shelter and food, the animals bog things down, because of course the children won't abandon their pets, and of course the animals are taken captive more than once. And after a while, it got a little frustrating how many times they had to put themselves in danger to save their bear, or the monkey, or the dog, or the horse. As the adventure wears on, however, they find safe places to leave some of the animals, and that is when things really start to pick up and become more interesting.

I also rather wish that the plotline with the Royalists had been a lot more intertwined with Luka and Emilia's story, but that might have sidetracked the major storyline a bit too much. As it is, the Author does a good job with weaving the political turmoil in with the quest for the charms, and the rescuing of Emilia and Luka's family from a death sentence. All in all, it's a good story.

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