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An anonymous person has given me some paid account time on DW. Thank you! I look forward to playing with some features. If you feel like telling me who you are, awesome, and if not, it is up to you and thank you again.

Obligatory disclaimer for this review: [personal profile] sartorias is a friend of mine, which does not affect the content of the review in any way.

It was kind of an odd experience reading this book when I have never actually read The Prisoner of Zenda. I mean, I know the approximate content of The Prisoner of Zenda, because it is one of those things I have picked up through pop-culture literacy as it is referenced a lot and retold a lot and put through a blender a lot. But I haven't read the original. I got the impression that this book kept a lot more about its predecessor than many things which just keep the central conceit, but I can't tell you how close a retelling this actually is, or even whether it's a retelling or a based-on or a direct descendant or what. The Prisoner of Zenda is referenced in-text, let's put it that way.

And this is a perfectly respectable Ruritanian romance, with worldbuilding that feels vaguely more plausible than many Ruritanias and a lot of fun food and clothes and trappings and weapons and political intrigue, and that very specific pleasure one sometimes gets to have in books nowadays where one says to oneself 'I've seen this exact scene before, but it totally wasn't the female protagonist holding the sword, and I like it this way better'. If you like women who fence and sorting out minor branches of the Hapsburgs and know something about the life of Grace Kelly-- in short, if you are a person who likes Ruritanian romances, which I am in certain moods-- this will meet your needs. It was a lot of fun.

I did not, entirely, buy the actual romance part of the romance, but then honestly I am a tough sell on that in most fiction ever. Besides, it did not strike me as the point. I also found the ending oddly paced, but not enough to be actively annoying. Fun is really the active word here, the kind of book that does not desperately engage me emotionally but also does not insult my intelligence and is simply entertaining. Every so often you just want a good swashbuckler. This is one.

possibly minorly spoilery )


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March 2017

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