Thursday, March 22, 2012

Review of The Mark of the Horse Lord by Rosemary Sutcliff

Synopsis: from amazon "Phaedrus, an enslaved gladiator in northern Britain in the first century, earns his freedom by killing his best friend, a fellow gladiator, in a final fight to the death. Within days of leaving the arena he is recruited by leaders of a tribe from the far north to impersonate Prince Midir, who has been robbed of his right to kingship in a brutal attack by followers of the current ruler, Queen Liadhan. As Midir, Phaedrus is charged with reestablishing his kingship and the tribe's rule in the land. In this world of superstition and ancient ritual, of fierce loyalties and intertribal rivalry, Phaedrus finds companionship and love, and something more - a purpose and a meaning for his life as he comes to fully understand the significance of the Mark of the Horse Lord."

My Review: Well I really am not sure what to think about this book. After finishing it last night I spent nearly an hour just sitting there staring off into space trying to figure out exactly what to say. The story and concept behind the book is fantastic with a great main character and supporting characters, but for some reason it fell short for me. The writing style was difficult for me to get into and there seemed to be a lot of details and world building that wasn't quite necessary. The first half of the book didn't really read like a story but more of a history lesson with a flourish. With all the information about history, beliefs and rituals of the cultures involved you would have expected maybe a series where all that information could be put to use, but instead it is a stand alone novel. Perhaps due to the writing style and the information usage, I wasn't able to really get involved with the story or the characters. With all that said I did enjoy the book, Sutcliff threw some wild curve balls at me that caught me off guard and made me want to see how everything resolved itself. It may not be a book for everyone but it was a good one.

My Rating: This was such a hard one for me to review and rate, it left me more stumped and shocked than anything.  So I am going with a middle of the road rating this time with Two Paws and Stump Wag.

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