Today’s book is Serpent, by Sarah Fay Olson. I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review. 🙂
Length: 365 pages
Publisher: Soul Fire Press
Released: March 6, 2017
It has been seventeen years since the Asterian Revolution, and all eyes are on Princess Aria and the long expected royal wedding. Having grown up in a world of royalty and wealth, Aria has been unable to imagine anything less than perfect for her life. But when an indiscretion threatens to ruin her reputation, the princess finds herself cast into a world of scandal.
As rumors and heartbreak threaten to destroy her, Aria journeys to a distant seaport and sets sail on a merchant ship, hoping the voyage will give her the freedom she craves. Though the ocean holds promises of adventure and intrigue, the world may be too small for a royal to truly disappear. With her family desperately searching the kingdoms for her, Aria finds herself surrounded by strangers and realizes that her brashness may have been a deadly mistake…
A lack of plot left this book spinning its wheels.
Hoo boy. Serpent and I had a couple of issues.
First off, the plot left a lot to be desired – the main issue being that there really wasn’t an overarching plot at all. Sure, there were subplots that added some action, but overall, nothing was ever at stake for Aria. The result is that she became a very passive character; things just kind of… happened to her. To be fair, there were a few exceptions where Aria does take charge and make something happen. In the end, however, the storyline had no urgency.
On top of that, Olson’s depiction of royalty seemed strange. Lesser lords address the king and queen by their first names. The king casually spends an evening at a tavern with no guard, calling it the only place he could go where “people didn’t care [he] was a king.” Aside from being an assassination attempt waiting to happen, it struck me as incredibly odd, and really broke the immersion.
I would love to see this book reworked to make Aria more of a player and less of a pawn. Olson has the makings of a great fantasy writer, and I’ll be curious to see how her style changes in her future work.