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Weekly Book Round Up #28

21 February 2014

This is a series that I really don't have a lot invested in to be honest. I'm a big fan of Philippa Gregory's books for adults, but her young adult novels are awful! The main reasons I'm continuing with these books are I can get them from the library, and I don't like to leave a series unfinished. The story follows Luca Vero and his companions Frieze and Brother Peter as they travel around Italy solving mysteries on behalf of the church. Along the way, they've picked up Lady Isolde and her servant Ishraq. Lady Isolde's brother has cheated her out of her inheritance and is now searching for her to put her back into the nunnery she escaped from, whilst she's trying to reach one of her distant relatives to get him to assist her in regaining the castle of Lucretili. The books have the potential to be interesting, but I find the writing style to be condescending. Just because these books are aimed at young adults, doesn't mean you have to explain or describe every single historical reference in painstaking detail. I know that I'm not the audience these books are aimed at, but I can't imagine my teenage self would have enjoyed these much either.
Nicola's rating: 1.5/5

I had really low expectations for this book, but was pleasantly surprised. Rachel Caine is one of my favourite authors but I'm used to her writing about vampires, not rewriting one of Shakespeare's most well known plays. This is a reimagining of Romeo and Juliet from the point of view of Benvolio, Romeo's cousin. I really thought that this was going to be terrible, but Rachel Caine has been very clever. There have been little tweaks to the tale, involving witchcraft and some Assassin's Creed style robberies, but nothing too extravagant. She's included a few of the original dialogues, but the majority is written in a much easier style to follow, whilst still maintaining a Shakespearean feel. I'm sure there will be people out there deeply offended by it, but I found it engaging and interesting. I came away from it wanting to dig in to the actual play, and if it has the same effect on a few teens, then it can't be a bad thing.
Nicola's rating: 4/5


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