Sunday, February 5, 2017

Review: The Boleyn King (Boleyn Trilogy #1) by Laura Andersen

An alternate history novel on what England's monarchy would have looked like had Anne Boleyn delivered a healthy, surviving boy to Henry VIII and subsequently never been executed.

I was a little disappointed by the fact that so many of the main characters were fictional. Obviously, being alternate history, you would expect some fictional characters, but I expected them to be characters born from the alternate event in question. For example, if they were the children of one of the four wives Henry VIII never wound up marrying, that would make sense, but that's not the case. Several fictional characters were born before the birth of Anne's son, sometimes to fictional parents too. I guess I expected everything leading up to the birth of Anne's surviving son to be historical and the only alternate events and people to be anything that would have happened after or as a result of that. The premise of this book is a great idea, but for me, it kind of loses some plausibility when you decide to make up things that occurred before the alternate event the book is based on.

Despite my long rant though, I did eventually get over my initial disappointment. Mostly. It wasn't what I expected but that doesn't mean I couldn't enjoy it for what it was. The character development was good, the plot interesting, the writing quality was very good.

It did feel a little like a young adult romance novel though. Fortunately, it's more than just that - there's also political intrigue, coup plots, mysteries, spying, etc. Marriage was an integral part of politics at the time, so it's to be expected that love and marriage play a large role in the book, but because the main characters are teens or in their early 20s, it had a very teen-like feel to it and I was surprised it wasn't marketed as young adult, as it easily could have been. Nothing wrong with young adult, I probably would have loved this book when I was younger but alas, I'm not that young anymore and usually look for something more mature.

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