Monday, August 9, 2010

Queen's Own Fool by Jane Yolen & Robert Harris


Y.A. Historical Fiction (390 pgs.)


Now called La Jardiniére, a resourceful and clever jester to the queen's court, Nicola was a most unlikely person to end up "fool" and friend to Mary, Queen of Scots. But Nicola isn't an ordinary comedian tumbling and clowning before the court; her quick wit and sharp tongue are rare amongst the fawning nobles. As fate takes Mary from France to Scotland, and into confrontations with rebellious lords and devious advisors, Nicola remains deep in the queen's inner circle. But when the Scots start to turn on Queen Mary, Nicola struggles to find something--anything--that she, just a fool, can do to save her friend.


The Elizabethan/Tudor time period in English history is one of my favorites. I really, really tried to like this book just for that fact, and for Mary, Queen of Scots. But I really just couldn't.

This novel hardly merits the name of "Historical Fiction." It was very, VERY lax in that area. Besides the place names and the people, it was hardly historical at all. I don't know if the authors were just too lazy to do good research or what, but it showed, and not in a good way. No real sense of the "presence" of history whatsoever.

Mary, Queen of Scots, the person for whom I was so originally interested in this book, remains aloof and distant. I mean sure, Nicola is our main character, but it's Mary Queen of Scots!! Queen Elizabeth I's counterpart! In this book, she does alot of agreeing, shows some strength at times, but not as much as I would have liked her to. I almost think maybe this was due to an unreliable narrator?

Moving on to our heroine Nicola. She started off great... full of witty quips and lovely vivacity. But she definitley didn't age well. As the book moved on, she really lost all of her wit and charm, which I was sorry for.

This book is emotionally DRY. Imagine leaving a wet sponge out in the sun till it shriveled up. Dry and brittle. I really couldn't feel any sympathy for the characters, except maybe a little for Mary at the end. But wow. VERY little emotion in this novel.

This book is SO plainly written! Again, that just ties into the emotionless aspect of it I think. The only really interesting part is Nicola's dialogue at the beginning.

Many of the Scottish nobles were so similar that they confused me. I couldn't keep track of them. Nothing really unique about them. They all played the same part in the same story.

Like I said before, I really wanted to like this book. Here's hoping that some of you out there might be able to.




Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

Great, honest review! The summary sounds promising, but being lax with history is a sin.;) I love the Tudor period and Mary Queen of Scots as well, but I'm glad I read your review, so I won't have to read a badly written novel about this period.
Thanks for sharing!

Untouchable Treasure said...

Thanks. :) I hate being harsh, but I feel some times, you just have to. It is such a sin!! I really wish this novel was better... :(


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