The Trouble with Kings, by Sherwood Smith

[Happy V-Day to all (two of) my readers! –Stephanie]

Sherwood Smith is one of my favorite authors, prescription both for her writing in novels and her writing in her blog. She’s been posting random excerpts on her personal website (see sidebar) for many years, malady and a long time ago I remembered reading an excerpt that involved a young lady waking up in a bedroom with amnesia. The excerpt got taken down some time while I was in college (early 2000s), website and I found out about a year ago that it was going to be published as an e-book by Samhain. It’s available here for a very reasonable price, and will be published in print form around the end of this year.

First, I’d like to talk about the medium. I rarely read e-books, because I like physical book-objects too much, and most of my previous e-book reading had been books from major publishers through libraries. (Some libraries loan out e-books. Check yours for availability.) I still plan on purchasing this in physical form, since I still don’t feel that they’re permanent enough. (I must be too old.) The cover wasn’t bad, although a little clinchy and I feel it makes the main character look much younger than she is. The typesetting, I have to admit, disappointed me. It looked like it was in Times New Roman, font size 12, space-and-a-half — in other words, a little too much like papers I wrote in college. There was barely any space at the top of each chapter, and there were no text decorations (curlicues at the top and bottom, different font for the chapter headings, dividers, larger first letters) at all. I realize that they’re trying to produce these books with as little overhead as possible, but I would prefer if they looked a little more like a real book, and a little less like I was reading a draft copy of the story. That having been said, it was very clear and easy to read.

The content, I enjoyed very much. Flian is a young lady, a princess, who wakes up from a riding accident with no memory of who she is. A man, claiming to be her cousin, informs her that she is betrothed to another man, Jason, king of a nearby country. With no memory of anything, Flian has no choice but to trust them, but before too long, she’s kidnapped by someone claiming he’s rescuing her — Jaim, Jason’s brother. Flian recovers her memory soon after that, but nearly all that accomplishes is to let her know that she’s being used as a pawn — and three or four kidnappings later, she’s hopelessly entangled in a political situation she wants nothing to do with at all. Continue reading The Trouble with Kings, by Sherwood Smith