weewarrior: (Are you thinking what I'm thinking?)
[personal profile] weewarrior
This is literally a work in progress since I've been stuck at the eve of one specific battle for months now, and have read two other books in the mean time. I do like the book itself, although the constant battles get tiring after a while - must have been lots of fun to live at that time, both as a noble and as one of the rest - but so far, I'm sadly not seeing the appeal of our illustrous hero, Richard Plantagenet, last king of the York line and future Shakespeare villain. Given that the author is a Ricardian, he is thankfully not a cackling schemer, but he really goes into the direction of a bland, just hero a little too much. Granted, he is overshadowed by his older brother, King Edward, who is a very ambiguous and fascinating figure, and very much larger than life, so this is probably on purpose; I'll wait how he develops once Edward is dead.

As for the rest of the characters, there are some nice, complex female characters (Edward and Richard's mother, Cecily Neville, and Edward's wife, Elizabeth Woodville, are great) and a good villain in the Earl of Warwick, as well as several well-drawn supporting characters (I'm especially fond of Francis Lovell and - sniff - John Neville). Penman does her best to present Marguerite D'Anjou, the chief villainess of most of the novel, in a somewhat balanced way, but she is still rather stereotypical, as are the Duke of Clarence, Edward and Richard's sniffling evil brother, and his depressed and spiteful wife. Anne Neville, Richard's future wife, is so far as bland as her beloved, but she's only fifteen and might grow out of it. (I don't think age is a good excuse in case of Richard, given that he's already a military commander and Governor of the North at 17; besides, his brother Edmund is a whole lot more interesting at almost the same age, and he's not in the novel all that much.)

As far as characters go, I find it almost amusing that my favourites tend to die in rather spectacular and tragic ways; I'm rather relieved that Lovell is going to outlive the whole lot.
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