Thursday, September 8, 2011

Book Review: Wisdom's Kiss, by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Wisdom's Kiss is a fairy tale involving two young people who live in a small, poor village and through unusual circumstances end up saving a kingdom from doom.

There's Trudy, who is an orphan and is a serving wench. Her best friend, Tip, is discovered by a Duke and taken away to serve him for six years. But he promises to come back for Trudy.

Trudy ends up as a Lady-in-Waiting to Ben, the Queen Mother of Montagne, after their entourage comes through the village and her Ladies become ill and can't continue. They are on the way to marry Princess Wisdom to Duke Roger of Farina. All is not what it seems, and when they get to Farina, Ben and Wisdom both become apprehensive about the upcoming wedding. It is discovered that Duchess Wilhelmina of Farina is using the wedding to take over the Kindgom of Montagne.

It's a convoluted story, told from many different perspectives including an encyclopedia, a play, letters from Ben to her grandaughter, memoirs written by Trudy's daughters, and a couple of others. There's a bit of magic, but it's not the central theme of the story. There's also a wonderful cat, who is very human-like, and some subtle humor that some younger readers might miss. But the story is a delightful fairy tale, full of twists and turns and some very creative elements.

My main problem with the book has to do with format. I was given this ebook ARC, and I think that's why the different voices were so confusing, especially at first. Apparently the printed book has very fancy, intricate chapter headings with special fonts. None of that comes through in the ebook. In fact, all the words are run together with no spaces, so it's very difficult to read. (This also happens throughout the text of the book in random spots.) There are random superscripts and subscripts. If you are going to expect to get a positive review, then the formatting of the ebook needs to be carefully considered, especially when I'm told it adds much to the story.

So, I think younger readers might find this confusing, but I'm not sure. I would recommend this to 12 years and above for those students who are lovers of fantasy and magic. Shannon Hale readers come to mind, although, like I said, this story is a bit more complex.

Published by Houghton Mifflin, September 12, 2011
ARC ebook obtained from Netgalley
304 pages

Rating: 2.5/5

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  1. My copy had the fancy chapter headings, but I still didn't like the approach of using so many narration styles. They seemed to gimmicky to me, which is a shame because, like you said, there are some very creative elements to the story.

  2. My eARC did have the headings, so the formatting was okay, but I definitely wasn't into this one. All the different narratives got to be too much, and I really hated 2 of the main characters. The whole thing felt quite depressing, to be honest.

  3. I've had a hard time with a lot of eARC's because of the formatting. I realize that it's an ARC but, sometimes, it takes away from the pleasure of the story. I have this one on my Kindle but I might wait until I can get a physical copy.
    Mary @ BookSwarm


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