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Review of Pale Queen’s Courtyard by Marcin Wrona

Review of Pale Queen’s Courtyard by Marcin WronaPale Queen's Courtyard by Marcin Wrona
Series: Moonlit Cities #1
on 2011-04-23
Genres: Epic, Fantasy
Pages: 323


Kamvar, a soldier, has lost his way. Leonine, a thief and sorcerer, has forgotten that he had one to lose.

When the daughter of a High Priest finds herself exiled and hunted across the entirety of conquered Ekka, both men will remember who they are, and the country’s invaders will learn that memories, unlike temples, are not so easily torn down.

Pale Queen’s Courtyard is the first novel by Canadian author Marcin Wrona, and a finalist in SciFiNow’s 2009 War of the Words.

This was a huge surprise for me. A huge one! I figured I would like this. The story sounded interesting, and right off the bat I found myself sucked into it. About a quarter of the way in, I was in love with Leonine and was warming quickly to Kamvar. A good start. By the middle, I had cried and become obsessed with Leonine and loved Kamvar. The rest is history.

The world was confusing at first; a lot of names thrown at you with little explanation. You need to pay attention to context or, like I did, just bull through it. For those who love history tidbits, you’ll like this book. For those who hate them, you’ll like this book. The whole story seemed to blend world and characters perfectly. For me, since I’m a character reader versus world, it satisfied everything I want in a book while at the same time gifting me a Middle East type setting that made it unique enough for me to take notice.

As for the characters, Leonine was my favorite. He’s got a past that had me shedding a tear here and there. When he meets the little girl, Illasin, his true character shines and enraptured me even more. Kamvar doesn’t have the tortured past I usually love to find in characters, but his growth throughout the story is what draws one to his side. Because we stay with Leonine and Kamvar, two men on opposite sides, it allows us to see their different viewpoints and understand where each is coming from. I especially enjoyed how religion and prejudices were explored by each character. I love how the backstories for all the characters rolls out and how well the story lines come together in the end. Illasin was a great character in her own right and I found myself as equally invested in her as I was Kamvar and as I was with the Hounds, Kamvar’s best friend . . . Well, all of them! In my opinion, Wrona did a great job fleshing out the characters.

I loved Wrona’s writing. It flowed beautifully and I found myself lost in the story. I read that the other books in the series focus on different characters, which makes me a sad, to say the least. Especially since I won’t see Leonine anymore. I would have loved more time with him. However, because Wrona wove such a wonderful story, I’m definitely going to pick up the next book. I guess the plus side is that my character obsession ended after one book instead of tormenting me for an entire series. Not to mention a new author to follow!

Overall, I can’t recommend this book enough. Great pacing, nice writing, intelligent characters, and a fun, interesting story.

About Marcin Wrona

I was hooked on phonics even before I caught a glance of the other end of the Berlin Wall.

When my father read to me, I pointed at this combination of letters and that and asked what sound it made, in the hope that I might eliminate the middle-man and read at my own monomaniacal toddler pace.

When my mother took me with her to the store, I would stand ramrod straight, puffed up with all the gravitas of a three-year-old who has something important to say, and would recite to all and sundry the poems that I, armed with my new knowledge of ‘rz’s and ‘ci’s, had learned.

I devoted myself to words and their placement in sequence well before I knew that I’d done so, and though there have been times when this love has waned and times when it has waxed, it has never faded away.

Thank you for allowing me to share it.

Marcin Wrona is a Polish-born Canadian author, a multiple immigrant, a mustachio-twirling financier, and many other things besides. He lives and works in Toronto.

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