After being so frustrated with this book as I covered in my “Vocabulary” post, this book actually turned out to be a good read. In my review, I will simply write about the main character as either “the main character” or “the protagonist” due to the story being about discovering the identity of the character.

My main issues with this book are the ungodly long beginning, and the over-zealous use of ridiculous vocabulary.

I understand that it takes time to set up the background of a book well enough to start the plot rolling, but it should not take 120 pages to do so. I do not jest, or exaggerate. There is 120 pages of plotless background. Except for the fact that there isn’t much background, because the main character is a mutilated mute who has amnesia in a foreign environment. The main character has no backstory to tell, simply because their identity is unknown. There are no bonds with other people to explore, because the protagonist does not know anybody in the castle. Also lacking are the forming of bonds with other characters, because of the protagonist’s scarred face and inability to communicate. There are minor skirmishes, where the protagonist falls out of favor with one of the tower’s lords and gets a whipping for it, but nothing that overall affects the plot. The character does some minor exploring of the unfamiliar surroundings, but not anything that is worth mention or noting. Again, this part of the story has almost no effect on the plot. By my check, the first point where things begin to move is page 114, but nothing actually happens until page 125. If you can suffer through this insanely long, drawn-out beginning, the book is well worth the read. The plot flows quickly and smoothly, always entertaining.

My other point of contention is the vocabulary. Usually I find more advanced vocabulary refreshing and adding to the story, but in this book it was too complex, and over-used. Rather than recognizing the medieval word for a very specific type of pot used in a kitchen for making porridge, and losing myself in the scenery, I had to look up the word, discover it was a pot, and go back to reading, wondering why it wasn’t simply labelled as a pot or saucepan. There were also some very specific plants (commonly used in the middle ages; not commonly known nowadays) that left me wondering. She used about a dozen different words for ‘food’ that I was unfamiliar with, and could have sufficed with one or two rather than using a different word every time. There were the technical names for medieval/renaissance-age garments, from the proper name for the inner and outer petticoats, to what the pont on their hoods (taltries) are called. There were even words I could not find the definition for online. I tried google, wikipedia, dictionary.com, and many other search engines and could not find anything about the word at all but a suggestion that maybe I had spelled another word wrong. All in all, I love the use of more advanced vocabulary when it lends to a book, but there is a point where it hinders the writing rather than helps it. This book jumped well over that point, with both feet, and kept sprinting.

I loved finding out more about the protagonist as the story wore on. It’s a very unique idea, having to discover the identity of the character, rather than knowing the character from the beginning. I very much enjoyed this book, and will recommend it to you to read, given that you are patient and stubborn (and maybe have another short book to read before you reach page 120), and don’t mind checking the dictionary every 15 pages.

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