Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Damsel in Distress Book Review, Guest Post and Giveaway
by Lee French
Date Published: 3/20/2014
Given the burden of safeguarding a precious treasure at a tender age, Sabetia is placed squarely in the middle of a fantastical legend. Swords, demons, magic, a curse: it has everything a great epic tale should. All she needs to do is face the danger that could threaten the world if left unchecked. If only it were so simple. A hero could solve this problem, but she doesn't happen to be one.
A good wife is obedient, patient, obedient, quiet, obedient, doting, and above all, obedient. Sabetia was raised to be a good wife. It makes her perfect prey, a perfect damsel in distress.
Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Damsel-Distress-Ilauris-Lee-French-ebook/dp/B00IQDAKV2
As a teenager, I became enchanted with the story of Arthur and Excalibur and Merlin. The love triangle part didn't really interest me so much (though I am quite fond of some of the related songs from the musical Camelot), it was the part about a king being chosen by a sword that caught my fancy the most. An inanimate object made a king. That object wasn't just anything, it was a sword: a symbol of masculinity, virility, violence, elegance, and threat. It exemplifies exactly what being a king is – or, perhaps, merely should be – about.
When I write, I strive for that kind of symbolism. Not always, as that can be tiring for both writer and reader, but I pick the significant objects in a story for a reason. Sabetia's clothes matter at the beginning of the story, that's why I describe them. Did I have to include something like 'whisperweb' as a type of fabric? No, not at all. The point of it, however, is how much her mother cares about appearance and impressing others, and how little Sabetia's opinions and wants matter. It's a frivolous, unnecessary addition to her costume, yet Sabetia not only has to wear it, she also has to be squished into a corset to fit into it. Which tells you nearly everything you need to know about their relationship in just one scene.
The two most important symbols in the book appear on its cover: the gemstone and flowers. The gemstone is a burden masked by beauty and something others covet, which also applies to Sabetia's life. It's a weight from the past, much like how her mother's treatment holds her back later in life. And, of course, the teardrop shape has an obvious connection. The flower is more directly Sabetia, as I see her like a cut flower in many ways. Her mother trains her to grow a certain way, then she's snipped and tucked into a private vase. She's a possession, kept for her looks and how easy she is to manipulate for best effect. When someone tips over the vase, it takes her a while to learn how to bloom, how to grow wild.
Is that horse just a horse? How about that book? Is any book really just a book?
Even though I enjoy reading fantasy I was not sure Damsel in Distress was the right book for me. Mostly because I usually prefer a stronger female character and not the damsel in distress type. The first half of the book took me a bit longer than usual to read because I wasn't sure I wanted to continue reading. Sabetia was a little boring at first and I wanted more action. I'm so glad I kept reading though because the second half made it worth it. Sabetia gets kidnapped and when she's about to be sold she gets rescued. That's when the action really begins! The world, the adventure and the magic are awesome. I give this book 4 stars.
Lee French lives in Worcester, MA with two kids, two bicycles, and too much stuff. She has written several books, including the Maze Beset superhero novel trilogy. In addition, she is an avid gamer and active member of the Myth-Weavers online RPG community, where she is infamous for finding unexpected ways to use squirrels. She also trains year-round for the one-week of glorious madness that is RAGBRAI, has a nice flower garden with absolutely no lawn gnomes, and tries in vain every year to grow vegetables that don’t get devoured by neighborhood wildlife.
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Posted by Joana Arteaga