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I Belong


Review: Court by Cat Patrick

CourtTitle: Court

Author: Cat Patrick

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: N/A

Publication Date: October 23, 2014

Format: eBook, 277 Pages

IBSN-13: 978-1630640156 (W. 26th Street Press)

ASIN: B00O3D37QE (West 26th Street Press)

Reviewed by: Zed

Synopsis

For more than 300 years, a secret monarchy has survived and thrived within the borders of the US, hiding in plain sight as the state known as Wyoming. But when the king is shot and his seventeen-year-old son, Haakon McHale, is told he will take the throne, becoming the eleventh ruler of the Kingdom of Eurus, the community that’s survived for centuries is pushed to the limit. Told through four perspectives, Court transplants us to a world that looks like ours, but isn’t. Gwendolyn Rose, daughter of the Duke of Coal, is grudgingly betrothed to Haakon — and just wants a way out. Alexander Oxendine, son of the Duke of Wind and Haakon’s lifelong best friend, already grapples with internal struggles when he’s assigned to guard Haakon after the king dies. And commoner Mary Doyle finds whispers in the woods that may solve — or destroy — everything, depending on your bloodline.

Money. Love. Power. Community. What’s your motivation?

Quick & Dirty: The lives and secrets of Court told through multiple points of view could have made for an interesting tale, but sadly this wasn’t one for me.

Opening Sentence: Before he was the enemy, James Haakon McHale III was just a seventeen-year-old in what most people knew as the state of Wyoming, wishing he was somewhere other than the predawn forest with a rifle in his grip.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

As the name suggests, Court is about the lives and secrets of people in and around the court of Eurus, which is a secret country separated from the rest of the Democracy. At the centre of the story is Haakon, who must take the throne following his father’s, the King’s, murder. But at 17 years old, with no political awareness and a history of alcoholism, Haakon isn’t the perfect candidate to lead their country, nor does he want to. Unfortunately for everyone concerned, he doesn’t have much of a choice and to look more stable, he must marry his betrothed, Gwendolyn Rose, and quickly.

To begin with, Haakon bored me. My first impression was of a sensitive and vulnerable boy, craving his parents’ attention. Once his father dies, he resorts to drugs to help him cope, begging for sympathy, and it all went downhill from there. People cope with grief in different ways, but Haakon handled it very poorly, and his aggression and paranoia don’t bode well for his future reign. Only at the end did Haakon transform into a true villain, which was when he became interesting!

Gwen was my favourite character, and the one I think most readers will form an attachment to. She is an almost-royal because of her engagement to Haakon and as she is daughter of an important leader, but she feels suffocated by her life at Court. Gwen cleverly finds a way to leave the country for short periods of time to pursue her interests and make new friends who know nothing of her ‘royal’ life. I love her secret goth/punk skater girl identity and her romance with Will is cute. What I liked most was that despite having very slim chances of success, she won’t give up without a fight.

‘It was nearly eleven and, not for the first time, Haakon wondered if Gwendolyn had been inside the whole time, either sleeping, listening to music while wearin headphones, or simply electing not to answer. She’d always been odd that way: the type of person who seemed to live in her own world, content with being alone. Haakon didn’t trust people who enjoyed their own company so much.’

The numerous characters in Court confused me at the start, particularly as the story is told from multiple points of view. Although I now understand the links between most of the characters, it still took me a while to connect the dots. This was truer for the background/supporting characters whose importance I overlooked at first, although I still can’t get my head around who leads the different kingdoms/regions of coal, water…

The language used in this book was too simple, almost like it was aimed at the youngest of young adults, with only a couple of graphic scenes situated at the very start and end. Simple language is useful when world building but I felt my attention wandering more than once.

It’s frustrating because characters like Roarke and Gwen stood out, there were some good twists in the story and I genuinely wanted to enjoy it but I just could not connect to Court. I am in two minds as to whether I would continue this series (if there are subsequent books) but let me know if you do give this a read; I might just be persuaded…

Notable Scene:

“For God and King?” Haakon asked the sky, balling his fists, setting his jaw. “FOR GOD AND KING?” he asked louder-probably loud enough for those in the library to hear. “FOR GOD AND KING??” he screamed, his voice cracking with emotion.

If they were listening, they didn’t care.

Looking from the sky to the steps beneath his feet, resuming the ascent, destroyed, Haakon hoped at least the two could hear. He wanted God and King to know.

“I hate you both.”

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FTC Advisory: West 26th Street Press provided me with a copy of Court. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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