Saturday, July 31, 2010

Book 75: The Serpent's Tale

The Serpent's Tale by Ariana Franklin

This is the sequel to Mistress of the Art of Death, and I couldn't quite get into it as much. Parts of it definitely were engaging, such as all the political intrigue surrounding the murder of Henry II's mistress, and maybe it was just me, but it seemed rather obvious that someone was manipulating all the different characters to get what he wanted. Also, Franklin gives a rather large clue regarding the identity of the man behind the scenes in the first five pages of the book, so the mystery wasn't really that mysterious: the first five pages are told from an assassin's perspective as he is hired to kill a certain person. While he doesn't see his employer, as an assassin, he recognizes the importance of figuring out who hires him since that way he can be assured to get the second half of his payment. Along with the assassin, the reader is searching for clues, and the first is the man's profession when he addresses a servant with the term "my son."

This is definitely a personal issue, but when characters have children, I tend to have a harder time relating to them, especially if they appear to obsess about them too much, as I felt Adelia was doing at points (I'm sure it was normal behavior, but I could have done without the child - I don't feel like she really added to the narrative). I was also disappointed with Adelia playing the abandoned woman role. Apparently, once Rowley became bishop, they (or she) decided to separate and not see each other again (he had offered her marriage and she rejected because she didn't want to give up being a doctor) yet the whole first half of the book she is moping because he never wrote, and acts angrily towards him for involving her in the case with the king's mistress, Rosamund.

Also, it felt like there were too many characters in this one that weren't really all too distinguishable from each other. It wasn't a bad book but there were parts that seemed to be going nowhere, and there was just more angst in this one. However, once I get started on a series, I generally have a need to complete them, especially when they are relatively easy reads, so I already picked up the third one in the series.

No comments: