Tuesday, January 9

Samantha Winston's Angels on Crusade

Samantha Winston's Angels on Crusade is one of those books I normally avoid reviewing, I liked it but it's hard to explain why. I'm not even sure what genre I'd consider this--I'll say fantasy sci fi, not necessarily romance, though there is a HEA, but it's not a really a romance.
A condemned criminal in the far future is sent to the past to try to save the crown of France. Isobel was a carefree student one day, and in prison the next for the accidental murder of a child. Her fate, life in prison. But she's offered a way out - through time. The crown of France is in peril. A young boy, who never should have left Paris, has gone to join the ill-fated 8th Crusade. Isobel's task is to talk young Jean de Bourbon-Dampierre out of joining the Crusade so that he can sire a dynasty. Isobel chooses to go back to the twelfth century, although she knows she will be left to spend the rest of her life there. At least it will give her a chance to redeem herself, she believes. If she fails...it's erasure and certain death, and someone else will be sent. In any case, she will never see her own time again.
I love the concept a 25th Century journalists traveling back in time to interview historical figures. But when one of these time traveling journalists makes a mistake and somehow alters history a convict is trained and returned to the past to correct the mistake. If they correct history they are allowed to live in whatever time they are sent to, which I'm not sure I completely understand because by leaving them there aren't they changing history if only in a small way, if they fail... well, it's not pretty.

When Isobel realizes she's not going to stop Jean from going on Crusade she travels with him in the hope she can change his mind and protect him. He's not as young as the blurb leads you to believe--16 and determined to prove to his father he's a man.

What worked...
  • The story's told in the 1st person and I like this, seeing and feeling what's going on through Isobel's eyes and emotions.
  • The storytelling--it's simply a fascinating tale that starts with the 25th Century backstory. Once Isobel travels back in time the story moves at a quick pace.
  • Sam pulls no punches with the gritty details of history. 13th Century France isn't a pretty place. The dirt, the squalor the inequity of society it's all there in at times grim detail.
  • Isobel is a survivor, she an interesting heroine and the secondary characters are very vivid even though we're not privy to their thoughts.

What didn't work...

  • I wasn't completely comfortable with the details of the 25th Century. I'd like to think society wouldn't go backward that much as to condemn a comatose woman to prison for the rest of her life for the accidental death of a child. And a few other things I wont go into.
  • The trials and tribulations that Isobel goes through are incredible, I realize times are hard but at times it's a little overwhelming and honestly if one more thing went wrong for this poor woman I may have thrown my little eBookMan a la Jane.
  • I found the gritty details of the past interesting until the detailed description of one of the character's death--beyond gruesome, it was simply too much.
  • I don't care if it's historically accurate Jean was too young.

Simply put I liked the story. The first half of the book is sometimes a bit too gritty, but it makes the story seem that much more realistic, and makes it very different from most medievals.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for a fair, balanced and interesting review!

& Sorry about the gruesome part, Honest! (lol.)