Monday, June 25, 2012

Review: Bewitching Season - Marissa Doyle

Bewitching Season by Marissa Doyle
Series: Leland Sisters Trilogy #1
Genre: YA, historical fantasy, romance
Published on April 29, 2008
Published by Henry Holt and Co.
Pages: 352
Read From: 6.10.12 - 6.11.12










SYNOPSIS
In 1837 London, young daughters of viscounts pined for handsome, titled husbands, not careers. And certainly not careers in magic. 
Shy, studious Persephone Leland would far rather devote herself to her secret magic studies than enter society and look for a suitable husband. But just as the inevitable season is about to begin, Persy and her twin sister discover that their governess in magic has been kidnapped as part of a plot to gain control of the Princess Victoria. Racing through Mayfair ballrooms and royal palaces, the sisters overcome bad millinery, shady royal spinsters, and a mysterious Irish wizard. And along the way, Persy learns that husband hunting isn't such an odious task after all, if you can find the right quarry.

Review

Cover Blurb: It leers, and I really don’t like leering covers. But ignoring the leering for a minute, I love the colors and the dress and of course the title’s font. For some reason, I think if the font was curly, it would detract from it, so I’m glad it’s not.

What I Liked: Lochinvar, the “romantic interest,” is actually a very likable character in every respect. I love how he interacts with Pen and Persy’s little brother, Charles. Pen and Persy’s relationship is very believable as both twins and sisters. Charles, their little brother, is just adorable; I really hope he makes an appearance in the second book. I at first wasn’t sure how I would like a story involving Princess Victoria (the same Victoria who will later become queen) and witches, but it actually worked very well. I loved how the Author worked in Sir Conroy trying to more or less take control of England’s throne through a regency.


What I Disliked: I really cannot say enough about the names. If I didn’t know that Pen and Persy were girls, I would mistake them for boys merely by flipping through the books because of their nicknames. Why couldn’t the Author just call them Penelope and Persephone? And while I realize that Charles is their little brother, “Chucklehead” is still a terrible, terrible nickname, and nothing can excuse its presence in the story. I don’t know why all of the main characters had to have their names taken from legend or books. If witches and wizards are trying to be discreet, one would think that they were adopt normal English names; not ones that scream “I’m a wizard!” like Merlin or Alelei? Then there’s Persy, who I really did like, until she started causing all of her own problems. Her sudden supposition that Lochinvar is in love with Pen is just that: sudden. And irrational. Which leads to a lot of self-created sticky wickets. Being such a well-read girl, I had to wonder why Persy would even bother resorting to a love potion; she ought to know that that never works. And while I enjoyed how the Author managed to keep so many questions unanswered, it really got on my nerves that Persy was always running away from someone right when they were about to tell her something important. That can only happen so many times in a book before it gets tedious. Their governess also clearly suffers from a case of Stockholm Syndrome when she falls in love with her captor. As much as I liked him, it was just a little creepy that she would find the man who kidnapped her attractive.


Believability: Since this is more fantasy than historical fiction, the Author didn’t have to do as much research as other writers might in order to make their story believable. But she did research social protocol, which was a must for her story, since her characters’ world revolves around balls and the Season. She did a good job in bringing authenticity into her magical world; I could see witches fitting into this era.


Writing Style: It’s kind of clumsy and unappealing in the beginning. And the dialogue feels stilted. But as the story progresses, the writing definitely gets better, and soon the Author is spinning vivid and sparkling images of London in full grip of the Season. As far as plot twists go, the Author had lots of good ones, even though I guessed them all early on. The biggest flaw the Author made was her villain revealed his entire dastardly plan to the protagonists. I’m all for villainous gloating, but haven’t they yet learned that if the hero starts asking questions along the lines of, “I’m just curious; how did you plan to get away with it?” that means spilling your entire evil plan might be a bad idea?


Content: Nothing.


Conclusion: Despite the fact that the villain reveals his plan to the protagonists, the end is still exciting and satisfying. I’m glad that Lochinvar and Persy’s romantic relationship won’t span into the sequel. The Author dragged it out long enough in this one the way it is. The end was a little happier than I would have liked, but I suppose for a story like this, it worked.


Recommended Audience: Lovers of historical-fantasy and romance. This is definitely a girl book, and it is entirely appropriate for any age.


Others in the Leland Sisters Trilogy:
1)Bewitching Season
2)Betraying Season
3)Courtship & Curses

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