It is while I stitch together the Queen’s gown, on the night her eldest daughter is to die, that I first sense an uneasy power.
On the eve of Princess Sophia’s wedding, the Scandinavian city of Skyggehavn prepares to fete the occasion with a sumptuous display of riches. Yet beneath the veneer of celebration, a shiver of darkness creeps through the palace halls. A mysterious illness plagues the royal family, threatening the lives of the throne’s heirs, and a courtier’s wolfish hunger for the king’s favors sets a devious plot in motion.
Here in the palace at Skyggehavn, things are seldom as they seem - and when a single errant prick of a needle sets off a series of events that will alter the course of history, the fates of seamstress Ava Bingen and mute nursemaid Midi Sorte become irrevocably intertwined. As they navigate a tangled web of palace intrigue, power-lust, and deception, Ava and Midi must carve out their own survival any way they can.
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Not for a very wide audience
I picked up Kingdom of Little wounds because it had made several "best of" lists and won a Printz Honour this year. I had been wary of this title because opinions on this title have been mixed, and I finish the book finding my opinions on the title are mixed as well.
The writing throughout this book is wonderful. However, the subject matter is harsh. Many of the characters are sick or diseased in some way and the author describes lesions and medical procedures in detail. There's also a rather graphic rape scene. Furthermore, the first three quarters of the book don't seem to be really going anywhere. The main characters have misfortune after misfortune piled onto them and we hear a lot about court intrigues but there doesn't seem to be an arc to the narrative. Then the book rallies in its last quarter with the main characters working together to save themselves and the book becomes vastly more interesting and entertaining. I spent the first 75% of the book wondering why I was listening to this and the last 25% of the book not wanting to put it down.
I'm not a fan of this narrator. I've listened to one title by her previously and I find her heroines a little too flimsy and breathy. You get used to it after a while, but it's jarring at first.
There are going to be people who love this book, but I think that there will be more who don't manage to stick around for the finale.
- Sarah Dumoulin