P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast
Published 2012 Novella - 147 pages
Reviewed by Georgia
Summary (from the book jacket)
A great journey… A new love… A dark secret revealed
Evreux, France, 1788: Before she becomes Zoey’s favorite professor and the House of Night’s fearless horse mistress, Lenobia is just a normal sixteen-year-old girl – with enough problems to last a lifetime. As the illegitimate daughter of a powerful baron, she has never quite belonged, and instead has to watch her spoiled half-sister Cecile, get anything she wants. As if that’s not enough, her remarkable beauty draws unwanted attention wherever she goes. For once, she would just like to fit in.
But when fate intervenes, Lenobia suddenly finds herself surrounded by other girls on a ship bound for New Orleans, where they will be married off to the city’s richest Frenchmen. And they’re not alone. An evil bishop who is skilled in dark magic makes the same journey. His appetite for lovely young women makes him dangerous – most of all to Lenobia, who caught his eye back in France. So she remains hidden, making secret visits to the ship’s stables, where a handsome young man and his beautiful Percheron horses soon capture her attention.
Will they make it to land before the bishop discovers her true identity and a powerful evil breaks loose? And will Lenobia follow her heart, even if it puts lives at risk? Find out more about one of your favorite professors in the next heart-thumping House of Night novella.
I would like to begin this review by making a small comment on the above-mentioned description: usually a back-cover or inside-jacket description aims to incite the reader’s interest in the story, to sink them in. She is also proportional to the length of the main story, namely the longer the story the more elaborate the description. Consequently, it was surprising to read such a lengthy description for a 147-page novella. Not only does she give away important clues, it kills the thrill. So I hope that readers will continue with enough enthusiasm, because after all it is a good novella.
As far as the book goes, this time around the authors focus on Lenobia –the horse mistress in the House of Night – and tell us about her life before and shortly after being marked. In order to do so successfully they change some of their narrative style and they use the third-person narrative. The background is closer to that of a historic novel rather than just a story told in a certain place and time. Nevertheless, most of their trademark thematic is also to be found here; this story debates morality, loyalty, free choice, understanding, tolerance and of course bravery.
There is no doubt that the authors have set the bar high and that they have put their efforts in achieving their goal, i.e. writing a thrilling, rich and moving story about a beloved character in the House of Night Series. The story is not flawless, there are a few clichés that just make the older readers sigh in condescension (evil bishop? Poor mistreated illegitimate daughter of a nobleman? One gets the picture undoubtedly), but apart from that, it shows that the authors have done enough research relating to the customs, the society’s perceptions, the behaviour patterns and the morals of the time in which their tale is being set. Thus, they intrigue the readers to contemplate matters more thoroughly or even do a little fact-finding about the respective era themselves.
Furthermore, the authors pay particular attention to character development, since they set the majority of action on a ship. Lenobia takes centre stage and it is very exciting to read about her. The way she is presented has a gentility and fierceness at the same time, which makes her a loveable and engaging heroine. Their side characters are also well developed, with some vivacious dialogues and some really touching scenes. The story evolves gradually and reaches its crescendo at the very end. This way the reader does not lose interest nor his/hers excitement about the book.
It is a good novella that will attract both the fans of the series and probably new members to her ever-expanding fan club. Finally, one does not need to know the background of the House of Night in order to read this book. It is enjoyable of its own accord.
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