First, I want to say that the damn description on Goodreads lies. This is not for fans of George R.R. Martin or Philippa Gregory. This book has one perspective and is told in a period-appropriate way, so it’s not like Martin, although it deals with the time that inspired him. While this book isn’t completely historically accurate, it has a purpose to it. Oh, and there’s no sex scenes. Or people pitted against each other to create drama with women. So, not like Gregory.
The only knock I have for this book is that the beginning was a bit confusing and it took a bit to get into. But, once it started off, it really got going and I wound up loving it when I was worried about it being shitty.
So, why did I love it?
For one, I adored the theme of magic and how it really spoke to the period feeling like magic was alive in their world. It was accurate to how most people were religious, blending Christian theology in with folklore and the great romances. It was a huge theme of the book, and I loved how Irwin dealt with the themes.
It also showed the Burgundian influence on Edward’s court that lasted through to Henry VIII. Then, it really talked well about the Arthurian revival that started during this time and, again, extended far into Henry VIII’s reign. Uhm, then the writing style was authentic and fantastic.
But, what really did it for me, were the themes. Reality v. fiction and how there’s a very thin line between them. History and the influence of fiction on it, which is common through all periods but especially in this one since there was a huge difference in what people considered factual. Magic being alive and an active influence in the world. The feeling of magic dying away as you grow older. Aging in general. Death. I could go on.
This story was just so rich on so many levels that I adored it and the half star off is just because I wasn’t a fan of the beginning. But, on a reread I’m definitely going to do, it’ll probably be bumped up.