Monday, January 11, 2016

Review: Bohemian Gospel by Dana Chamblee Carpenter

Title: Bohemian Gospel
Author: Dana Chamblee Carpenter
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Pegasus
Publish Date: November 15, 2015
Source: Publisher

What's the Story?:

From "Thirteenth-century Bohemia is a dangerous place for a girl, especially one as odd as Mouse, born with unnatural senses and an uncanny intellect. Some call her a witch. Others call her an angel. Even Mouse doesn’t know who—or what—she is. But she means to find out.

When young King Ottakar shows up at the Abbey wounded by a traitor's arrow, Mouse breaks church law to save him and then agrees to accompany him back to Prague as his personal healer. Caught in the undertow of court politics at the castle, Ottakar and Mouse find themselves drawn to each other as they work to uncover the threat against him and to unravel the mystery of her past. But when Mouse's unusual gifts give rise to a violence and strength that surprise everyone—especially herself—she is forced to ask herself: Will she be prepared for the future that awaits her?"

My Two Cents:

"Bohemian Gospel" is an original meshing of historical fiction and fantasy. Set in 13th century Bohemia, we meet Mouse, an unusual girl that has some supernatural powers. She grows up as an outcast, taken care of by the church, even though she is not allowed to get close to the religion itself. Then she saves a king and her life changes. This book has a lot of historical detail with a twist of the extraordinary.

At first, this book seems to be very much a straight historical fiction. There's great characters like Mouse, a young woman who really doesn't know her family or her origins, and King Ottakar, a young man who is fighting against his father's shadow. The author gives us a glimpse of what it would be like to live in Bohemia during this time through a lot of good historical detail, which I ate up. Historical fiction fans will eat up the way the author immerses the readers in such a richly detailed world.

And then the fantasy comes in. I didn't quite expect it but I ended up loving it! The author did a good job of making Mouse's powers feel real to me! I loved it. The story line about Mouse's origins was so fascinating to me. The author does a great job of just giving the reader enough to keep reading.

And then there's the ending. Oh man, there isn't a sequel listed that I can see on Goodreads but the ending is so abrupt and leaves a huge opening for a really awesome sequel. I usually don't like endings like that but I am so hopeful that there will be another book that I am willing to forgive it!


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