Friday, August 19, 2016

The Seventh Bride by T. Kingfisher

Published : November 12th, 2014
Publisher : 47North
Page Count : 183 (e-book, paperback, etc)
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Fairy Tale
Find the Author: Website

"Young Rhea is a miller’s daughter of low birth, so she is understandably surprised when a mysterious nobleman, Lord Crevan, shows up on her doorstep and proposes marriage. Since commoners don’t turn down lords—no matter how sinister they may seem—Rhea is forced to agree to the engagement. Lord Crevan demands that Rhea visit his remote manor before their wedding. Upon arrival, she discovers that not only was her betrothed married six times before, but his previous wives are all imprisoned in his enchanted castle. Determined not to share their same fate, Rhea asserts her desire for freedom. In answer, Lord Crevan gives Rhea a series of magical tasks to complete, with the threat “Come back before dawn, or else I’ll marry you.” With time running out and each task more dangerous and bizarre than the last, Rhea must use her resourcefulness, compassion, and bravery to rally the other wives and defeat the sorcerer before he binds her to him forever. "- 'Borrowed' from the Goodreads Blurb.

This book is responsible for my niece and I deciding that hedgehogs would make an excellent pet. And that if I were to ever get to the place in my life where I could be a hedge-hog mama - that I should name her Matilda the Magnificent.'s a fantastic name. If my potential, maybe-someday Hedgehog Matilda the Magnificent is half as cool as the hedgehog (who doesn't act like a typical, normal hedgehog even though it insists that it is - a normal hedgehog) in the book..that it will truly be Magnificent. 

The Seventh Bride is a clever fairy tale for adults. It's centered around a strong, determined heroine who lives in a world where she is the entirely declared under-dog. She had no choice in becoming Lord Craven's new betrothed. Her family works hard for what they have but ultimately they don't really have it at all. It's up to their liege Lord - who happens to be pals with Lord Craven. Even though she is forced into the marriage - she never stops trying, never stops fighting. She is practical, resourceful, determined, and her internal voice brings much spirit to the table.

Between the uncompromising darkness that surrounds our girl Rhea and her future sister-wives is wit, resilience, and a bit of humor. The wives are clearly victims, they are (even Rhea at times) submissive to the will of their shared husband, and they cope with their trauma in various ways. But, scratch the surface - even just a little - and you will see survivors. And that gives you hope. I'm not going to lie - until the very end you might be entirely certain that this is going to end up with all of them deader than dead and haunting that huge house they've been locked up in. I won't tell you their fate. You'll have to read it to be certain of it.

The plot continues at a prompt pace. It doesn't dilly-dally but gives enough time to the surrounding characters, the emotional toll the experience takes on Rhea, and the series of tasks and challenges she faces to create a well-rounded, continues plot. The ending, however, was a little abrupt. We don't see much beyond the ending and - again - I'm not giving away the ending...but after each fate of the wives is tied up (including Rhea) we don't anything after all. And in that word, where anything can happen, you wonder if their ending is truly an ending but just a beginning.

I had the pleasure of nabbing the audible for this story. One of the biggest challenges of reading is the knowing that I can't be productive during the day and hold a book and/or reading device in my hand. However, I can listen while I work. And, I was delighted! The narrator has only done The Seventh Bride but I hope she reads more books. She did the accents, she did Rhea superbly, she was fantastic. Perfect choice to narrate the story.

Four out of five stars. I suggest to anyone who is looking for a tale with a little bit of everything geared to a more mature audience. (I would go out on a limb and say it's appropriate for teenagers - just not for a young person. I might have talked about it with my niece (who is ten) but I wouldn't read it to her or have or have her read it. We just bonded over the awesome hedgehog (another reason you should pick it up, btw).

Happy reading, 


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