Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Review: Courtship & Curses - Marissa Doyle

Courtship & Curses by Marissa Doyle
Series: Leland Sisters Trilogy #3
Genre: YA, historical fantasy, romance
Published on August 7, 2012
Published by Henry Holt & Co.
Pages: 352
Read From: 9.11.12 - 9.13.12

Sophie's entrance into London society isn't what she thought it would be. Mama isn't there to guide her. Papa is buried in his work fighting Napoleon. And worst of all, the illness that left her with a limp, unable to dance at the Season's balls, also took away her magic. When the dashing Lord Woodbridge starts showing and interest in Sophie, she wants to believe it's genuine, but she can't be sure he's feeling anything more than pity. 
Sophie's problems escalate when someone uses magic to attack Papa at the Whistons' ball, and it soon becomes clear that all the members of the War Office are being targeted. Can Sophie regain her own powers, find her balance, make a match - and save England?


Cover Blurb: I like the colors and the classic look of it, but I must admit that I wish it took after Betraying Season more. I like books in a series to follow a pattern, and while Courtship & Curses can technically work as a stand-alone from the other two Leland Sisters books, it still ties in and therefore ought to fit the theme cover-wise.

What I Liked: Sophie is a sensible protagonist; her self-pity is, thank goodness, only annoying sometimes, and she stops pitying herself fairly quickly. There’s a very wide range of characters, and they were all fantastic. Peregrine Woodbridge was a kind and honorable love interest; Persephone Hardcastle a perfect companion character wish a very big personality; Underwood a wonderful cad - and Sophie thankfully dealt with him the way she ought, which I enjoyed immensely. I was afraid Sophie’s two aunts would grow wearisome, but the Author kept their appearances in the story at a reasonably low number, so they maintained their hilarity.

What I Disliked: I was not a fan of Peregrine’s name, and even less so when shortened to “Perry.” Why can’t any of her characters have more normal names?

Believability: As with her other two books, the Author has managed to make witches and warlocks fit into the Napoleonic era very smoothly.

Writing Style: There was a good amount of mystery surrounding the “accidents” to keep me guessing. But after a short while, the villain’s identity became painfully obvious, and I grew frustrated with the characters for not realizing it quicker - especially when Sophie accuses the wrong person. And since the Author has explored the difficulties of hiding magical abilities from “those closest to you” in her other two books, this plot device just served to irk me. Because we Readers know how it will turn out in the end: Peregrine will find out about Sophie’s magic and he will eventually come to terms with it. One thing I did appreciate, though: when Sophie and Peregrine have their inevitable falling-out (happens in every love story), it is a rather minor falling-out, it is over an issue that is actually important, rather than something trivial, and their reconciliation is blessedly swift.

Content: None.

Conclusion: The ending was exciting, but not overly dramatic. This book had as many pros as cons, and in comparison to Bewitching Season and Betraying Season, this one was my favorite. There was a wider range of characters, Sophie didn’t cause any of her own problems, and the number of annoying names was significantly less.

Recommended Audience: Fans of the Leland Sisters series, and those people who like historical fiction with a dash of magic. A girl-read, appropriate for Readers as young as middle-grade.

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

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