Thursday, October 15, 2020

The Princess Knight by G. A. Aiken: review

4/5 stars on Goodreads

The Princess Knight by G.A. Aiken

The Princess Knight, the second book in Aiken’s The Scarred Earth series, focuses on Gemma, the war monk sister of Queen Keeley. She’s not quite as overwhelmingly larger than life as her eldest sister, but she makes a compelling lead character too.

Two years has gone since the first book. The war hasn’t begun yet, and Keeley has had time to settle down in the town she’s claimed as hers. Then someone starts to destroy all the various religious sects and kill the worshippers of the myriad gods. The war monks could be next, so Keeley sends Gemma to warn them. She hasn’t been back with her people since she left two years earlier, and she’s considered a traitor of the order. She might face death when she returns, but she goes anyway.

This is in many ways a smaller book than the first. The plot isn’t quite as epic in scope, concentrating more on Gemma and her dealing with her past. The cast of characters is smaller, though random point of view characters still pop up at odd times for a couple of paragraphs. There aren’t as many huge fights between the sisters. The plot about the worshippers of one god never rises to become the threat it’s supposed to be. Beatrix, the evil queen, is mostly in the background. Even the love story, the inevitable consequence of mixing genres like epic fantasy and paranormal romance, sort of happens in the side-lines, despite Gemma and Quinn spending most of their time together, and Quinn remains a bit of a cardboard character. Worst of all, there isn’t enough Keeley. Her larger than life character carried the first book. Here she is mostly observed from the outside, with only a couple of point of view chapters towards the end. I missed her greatly.

This being said, Gemma was strong enough a character to carry the book by herself. The plot was entertaining, there was constant action in one form or another, and the group of people she ended up gathering around her were interesting and different from the people around Keeley, so there was no repetition. In the end, she rises as a more determined and less angry person who is ready to lead her people. And the twist at the end ensures that I’m more than eager to read the next book too.

I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


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