Sunday, August 14, 2011

Review: In the Coils of the Snake

Miranda was raised by her human family, but she always knew she was destined for greater things.  The goblin King, Marak, spent her childhood grooming her to be the next queen, the perfect wife for his son Catspaw.  But everything goes wrong when, inexplicably, the enemies of the goblins reappear in their traditional lands.  The elves, long thought extinct, have returned under the leadership of a mysterious and powerful man called Nir.

Caught up in events that spiral out of their control, Catspaw finds himself forced to trade Miranda for an elf bride and Miranda finds herself a captive of Nir.  The new arrangements upset everyone involved, and tensions quickly rise between the two races...

Entertainment: ★★★

I loved the first book and liked the second, so I had high standards for this book.  Unfortunately I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as I did the first two, and so I was a little disappointed.

Plot: ★

I'll be frank: I didn't understand the romance.  In the first two books, yes, there was imprisonment and coldly calculated reproductive interests involved in the romance.  Here, though, the "romance" just reads as very misguided Stockholm syndrome.  While the Catspaw-Arianna romance was understandable, at least, maybe even a little sweet, the Nir-Miranda romance was just outright weird.  I didn't like it.  Also the plot itself, romances aside, was a little predictable.

Characters: ★★★

Previously in the series, the heroines were strong and vibrant and interesting.  In this book, though, things changed a lot.  Miranda goes all starry-eyed, mushy, and helpless around Nir, even though by all rights she really should resent him at least a little for imprisoning her.  Arianna was slightly better but still so timid and mousy that I really couldn't connect with her either.  Nir I was completely lost on.  Catspaw, though, was nice.  He was the only character I really liked.

Writing: ★★★★

Issues with the plot and characters aside, Dunkle delivers another beautifully written installment with lovely descriptions that really bring the story to life.  I really do enjoy her writing.

End Result: three stars.  A decent book, but not amazingly excellent.


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