Review – Bloody Queens – India Harper
I am easily distracted by shiny things, and this is a book full of glitter. There’s an ex-soldier, a character called Mordecai, and a historical setting. And theatre. This is a very good start, so this novella had a lot to live up to for me.
The best part is that it did so. It’s written, as my mum would say, so you can see everything that’s happening. It’s richly descriptive and maybe treads the purple prose lines a little, but I’m not going to complain about that, because I like it. You’re welcome to keep your adjective-less minimalism to yourselves. I also think the style fits the era and the setting; it’s got a lot of stylish flourishes that match up nicely with Mordecai’s showmanship, and I love coming across a sentence and thinking, ‘that was an exceptionally well-constructed sentence’.
The characters, also, were wonderfully vibrant and likeable. Mordecai is fantastic and I love him, and Barrett is lovely as well. There’s a distinct lack of what some might feel is period-appropriate ‘oh no, we’re gay’, and I think that’s a good thing; neither of them are the kind of men who’re particularly self-conscious. They’re sensible, reasonable, realistic people, and you won’t want to do them physical harm. Even the side characters are rich and relevant and tend to react in sensible ways that aren’t just plot-convenient.
If I keep going on about the style and the characters and completely ignore the plot, that’d because the plot isn’t really much to write home about. By which I mean, I was never conscious of being taken through a plot, which I also think is a good thing; there’s a reason I watch murder mysteries, and it’s not because I enjoy the twists and turns. It’s because I like mocking the pretty people. I wasn’t being distracted by events in this story, I was focusing on what the characters were doing, and for a romance, that’s exactly what I want. So. Everyone who likes elaborately complex plots can go stand in the corner as well.
So, no complaints from me. Not a life-changing story, but a great deal of fun and a nice afternoon’s distraction. 4 stars from me.