Monday, 2 March 2015

Bookathonic: Review of Blood Oath by Felicity Pulman

1. Blood Oath (Janna Chronicles)

Love, revenge, secrets – and murder – in a medieval kingdom at war.

A young woman, left alone and destitute after the mysterious death of her mother, plants a sprig of rosemary on her grave and vows, somehow, to bring the murderer to justice. But who can Janna trust with the truth? Even the villein Godric, who wants to marry her, and Hugh, the dashing nobleman, have secrets that threaten her heart and her safety.

In a country torn apart by the vicious civil war between King Stephen and the Empress Matilda, Janna needs all her wits and courage to stay alive as she comes closer to those who are determined to silence her forever.

Novel Courtesy of

This novel is exceptionally well written and edited, and equally well researched and is definitely worth a 4.5 stars. The plot has plenty of turnarounds within the mystery and a fine cast of possible suspects. Add to this a dose of romance and we have a well rounded YA historical mystery.

This book is very much a who-dun-nit and together with the historical setting makes a fine read.

The writing style reflects the book’s medieval setting following the invasion of William the Conqueror. England during these times carried on with a constant power struggle of ruling families and this is tightly drawn into the tale. The consistency and depth of research is reflected by the writer's grasp of class distinction and speech patterns during that time. The work gives a good example of the hodgepodge of religious prejudice remaining from the Romans, Saxons and Normans.

The story is based around the YA character’s work as a healer based on herbal lore which leads into acrimonious dealings between the power of the church, the powers of the nobility and ruling classes, bringing forth the overwhelming attitudes of superstition and religion irrespective of class position. The word of the privileged is as good as the word the law.

The only thing I will note in this work that annoyed me is that the principle character from the lower class, is outrageously outspoken, particularly considering her youth. These facets are portrayed in the book as a result of her protected lifestyle and naivety, and I didn’t find any credibility to both her words and actions. No one of that period would be evenly remotely ignorant of their position, place and class – these things were something that was instantaneous with birth, and were endemic to a person’s very life in a time ruled by floggings, the gallows and the hangman.

A great read that I would recommend for fans of P.C. Doherty, Robin Paige, Diana Gabaldon, Robin LaFevers, and Anne Perry.

Further supporting reading on Medieval Material from the site of Felicity Pulman: Mediaval Muck & Mumbo Jumbo

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