Friday, March 11, 2016

The Sword of the Maiden

by Kathleen C. Perrin

Summary from GoodReads

The Sword of the Maiden is Book 2 in The Watchmen Saga, which begins with Book 1: The Keys of the Watchmen. 

After being abruptly separated from Nicolas le Breton during the battle to save Mont Saint Michel from the English siege in 1424, Katelyn Michaels finds herself back in her normal twenty-first century life as an American teenager. Depressed and anxious to be reunited with Nicolas, she is comforted when a series of events and impressions lead her to believe she is being prepared for another mission as a Watchman. 

After her beloved mentor, Jean le Vieux, comes to her in a dream and gives her the injunction to “Learn of the Maiden and take her the sword,” Katelyn understands that her mission involves assisting one of the most iconic figures in all of French History. 

Katelyn is once again whisked back to the turmoil of medieval France during the Hundred Years’ War and to Nicolas. However, before the two can consider the future of their relationship, they must first complete their mission to take the sword to the Maiden. Little do they know that their old nemesis, Abdon, is already on their trail and will do everything in his unhallowed power to stop them.

About the Author

Katherin C. Perrin holds bachelor’s degrees in French and Humanities from Brigham Young University and is a certified French translator. Besides being the author of The Watchmen Saga, she has published several non-fiction articles, academic papers, and a religious history about Tahiti.  Kathleen has lived in Utah, New York City, France, and French Polynesia.  She and her French husband have spent years investigating the mysteries and beauties of his native country —where they have a cottage—and have taken tourist groups to France.  The Perrins have three children and currently reside in Utah.
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Thoughts on the Book

I received this book as part of the France Book Tours, which I'm super excited to be participating in!  Emma from Words and Peace mentioned this book to me in a Top Ten Tuesday post and I visited her blog and immediately got sucked into the French books blogging world.

I'm also participating in the giveaway for this book, there will be five winners for either a print or digital copy of Sword of the Maiden and an additional three winners will receive a $10 Amazon gift card.  This giveaway is also open internationally. You can enter here:

Enter here

Visit each blogger on the tour: tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time! [just follow the directions on the entry-form]

May the odds ever be in your favor.

My Review

I started this book without realizing that it was part of a series.  Since I've been in a reading slump and this post actually had a deadline I didn't go back and read the first one before continuing, and really, it didn't affect my enjoyment of the book much.  It did, however, make be really want to go back and read the first one, I really want to see how Nicolas and Katelyn first met!

Overall I really enjoyed this book.  I loved the time period and the settings.  Mont Saint Michel is one of my favorite places in the world and I've been to Chinon where Jeanne d'Arc identified Charles (in the exact room where it happened).  So reading about those places was very cool.  There were some things that I wasn't too keen on that made the reading experience not the best.  

Let's first start with the characters.  Katelyn.  I'm not really a fan of her, she dwells on things a lot.  And what's with all the crying?  For a strong badass female protagonist she cries an awful lot, over every little thing.  It doesn't fit with her awesomeness.  She also is all-consumed with Nicolas, but I really can't fault her for that, even though it did get annoying when it was brought up out of the blue.  Another thing about Katelyn that really bothered me were the pop culture tangents, especially the Princess Bride.  I love that movie as much as the next person, but she brought her laptop into medieval times for the sole purpose of playing the movie for Nicolas?  And the references were one off, they had to be explained, as were all modern pop culture references.  They weren't even explained to the medieval characters, they were part of her internal monologue, as though she was explaining to herself.  Katelyn also repeated things ad nauseam like Jehanne's (Jeanne d'Arc) fate and how she couldn't change it and her and Nicolas not having time to talk.

Nicolas, on the other hand, was awesome, definitely my favorite character.  His constant thinking about Katelyn wasn't nearly as annoying as Katelyn's constant thinking of him.  He was also a badass character, the stuff he went through and had to figure out, a lesser man would not have been able to do it.  Another awesome character was Brother Thibault, I wish he was in it more.  His role in the book seemed very superfluous, he was a plot device to get the sword, then to return Katelyn home.  I also really liked Jehanne, she was another super strong awesome character. 

The parts of the book that annoyed me the most were the unnecessary explanations about things (like the Princess Bride references), the heavy reliance on modern technology for everything, and most of all Katelyn's obsession with planning out her entire future with Nicolas.  The "no time" mantra that they had got really annoying really fast.  Really?  There was no time to talk at all, not in the hour or so they were packing and waiting for Katelyn's parents to leave?  Not with the extra four days they stayed at Mont Saint Michel waiting for Thibault to finish the sword?  Not before then when Katelyn was lying in bed recovering after arriving?  Or later when Nicholas was lying in bed recovering in Chinon?  Discussing their relationship really shouldn't be all that emotional.  But I suppose it would have been for Katelyn and Nicholas would have to waste all their time consoling her endless tears.

The technology bit seemed a bit like a cop-out.  For some things, sure, brilliant, for others, was it really necessary?  All the pictures and research she did seemed a bit much too.  Why did she need to bring her iPad with her?  Or her laptop.  She couldn't have just printed out the pictures?  Call them miniature paintings?  It was as though Katelyn didn't know how to function without copious amounts of modern tech with her and that bringing the tech was her only purpose for being in the past.

Another thing that took away from fully enjoying the book was the different perspectives.  I don't mind chapters flipping between characters, what I do mind is the point of view changing.  Katelyn was always in first person, and everyone else was in third person.  Frankly, the third person sections were so much better.  Katelyn being in first person is probably why I disliked her so much, had her sections been told in third person a lot of her annoying narrative bits wouldn't have been there.

Despite my dislikes of the book I did really enjoy it.  I was a history major in college, and was sorely tempted to get my PhD either in Viking history or Medieval French history, so I'm a stickler for not messing up history.  Some things I'll forgive a tweak to progress the story, or make it a more cohesive narrative (IF it's a work of fiction) but I judge books hard on accuracy.  This book, what a wonderful job!  Even with the changes for modern tech it was wonderfully woven into the story without changing any of the major points.  The tech was used mostly to explain people's change of mind or to make the character's lives a bit easier.  Nothing actually effected the historical narrative.  I especially loved the end of the book when Perrin took the time to go into the few changes she did make and to explain decisions she made.  Even Katelyn's annoying explanation of the events that led up to that point of the 100 Year's War was very accurate and really nice to have in the book.

Overall I give this a 7/10.  The story was great, the historical nature of it was great, Katelyn was super annoying and unimportant things got very repetitive.  I recommend this if you're looking for a fun time travel book with lots of accurate history from one of the coolest time periods.  I'm definitely going back and reading the first in the series and I'll be waiting for Perrin to publish the next!


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  1. thanks for your very honest review. Very interesting that you liked it a lot, so much so that you now want to read book 1, and book 3 is in preparation you know, but at the same time found a lot in it you didn't like.
    I disagree with you on some points, but I'll first the author come and answer.
    Begin French, and for history accuracy that you enjoy, I can't but resist to tel, you it's Mont Saint Michel, I know, it could be debated why an archangel's name is masculine (Michel), and not feminine (Michelle), but well, that's how it's spelled in history and in geography, so I think we need to stick to that.
    As for Joan of Arc, it's just the opposite: Jean (you pronounce J-AN, this AN sounds like AN in France is a masculine name in French, and Jeanne (pronounced Jann, a simple 'j' sound, like when you say "déjà vu", not dj (which does not exist in French) is the feminine form, so in the old days, as shown in the book, she was Jehanne, and the modern form is Jeanne d'Arc.
    Emma at FBT

    1. Did I really write Michelle, oops! I definitely know better, I should probably proof read my posts better. Same goes for Jeanne d'Arc, I know better for her too, I think I switching between Joan and Jeanne and just went way wrong, she was not a man and therefore not Jean!