This book I really hated to give a low mark to, since there wasn’t any one thing that stood out, and that was part of the problem. I just found it dull. It was trite, cliched, and lacked any characters that I really cared about. The story is set in the near future, in London, after a “17 day” event of natural disasters that has led to most of the world’s population gone, and for some reason, unexplained, leaving England reasonably better off. Food is scarce, and bands of Roamers have taken over the wooded areas, hunting the last of the animals and taking to eating people, and then there is a man who is intent on overthrowing the current monarchy and making himself king. He claims that the Royals are doing a Marie Antoinette thing, which they sort of are. Our heroine is the second daughter of the King, and as this mysterious cult leader and his army of recruits gets larger, she gets drawn into the quest to save the royal lineage. One of the things that bothered me was the callousness in the beginning that she felt towards others. She and her siblings seemed oblivious to the world around them and the fact that most people were starving. While some things were in short supply, they were eating well, and living in comfort, if a trifle cold, up at Balmoral castle in Scotland. Another thing that bothered me was three separate incidents of animal cruelty in the first half of the book. Not hunting, but just plain cruelty, to show how someone is becoming a bad person, or to show the callousness of the new army, etc. I just found it excessive and it bothered me, but then I an am animal lover. All in all, it’s not a bad book, just dull, cliched, trite, and mundane. i couldn’t get excited about anything, and nothing was described in enough detail, including the characters, to make me get involved. Just bored. The fact that the premise of the book meant it could have been good made it that much more disappointing. Another book in the series is planned for 2013, but I will pass.
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