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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

To Buy or Not to Buy: The Kingdom of Little Wounds By Susann Cokal

The Kingdom of Little Wounds was on my Christmas wishlist last year. Although I was not reading books over the summer, I was still reading samples in an effort to get my book wishlist cleaned up. I am trying to make decisions on whether it is a book I will ever buy or not. I thought this one would be right up my alley as it is a Fairy Tale type book, so I gave the sample a read finally in order to make a determination on whether or not to buy it.

The Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal

Book Description (From Amazon):
Publication Date: October 8, 2013
A young seamstress and a royal nursemaid find themselves at the center of an epic power struggle in this stunning young-adult debut. On the eve of Princess Sophia’s wedding, the Scandinavian city of Skyggehavn prepares to fete the occasion with a sumptuous display of riches: brocade and satin and jewels, feasts of sugar fruit and sweet spiced wine. Yet beneath the veneer of celebration, a shiver of darkness creeps through the palace halls. A mysterious illness plagues the royal family, threatening the lives of the throne’s heirs, and a courtier’s wolfish hunger for the king’s favors sets a devious plot in motion. Here in the palace at Skyggehavn, things are seldom as they seem — and when a single errant prick of a needle sets off a series of events that will alter the course of history, the fates of seamstress Ava Bingen and mute nursemaid Midi Sorte become irrevocably intertwined with that of mad Queen Isabel. As they navigate a tangled web of palace intrigue, power-lust, and deception, Ava and Midi must carve out their own survival any way they can.

My First Impression:
First sentence: It is while I stitch together the Queen’s gown, on the night her eldest daughter is to die, that I first sense an uneasy power.

Ava is a 17 year old seamstress and she is one of the attendants to Her Majesty Queen Isabel in preparation for the wedding feast for her daughter. Queen Isabel is in a state and while the ladies that wait on her are trying to dress her, she is uncooperative. Her dress is busting at the seams and needs repair, but she will not let anyone near. Queen Isabel is finally calmed enough to allow someone to attend to her garment and Ava is told to fix the dress.

It takes 6 pages, though, to get to the point where Ava is chosen to work on the gown. The story up to that point is Ava narrating, giving some history to Queen Isabel, and describing the wedding feast and her own lot in life. She has some history herself, but only alludes to it, revealing nothing.

As much as I love fairy tales and fantasy stories, this one just did not grab my attention. Perhaps it was because it was told from the point of view of the lowborn. Ava didn’t grab my attention. I found the Queen to be insufferable and self-absorbed. And while 6 pages is not really enough to get a good feel for the story, it just seemed bogged down in words. The story didn’t flow for me. I am curious what others thought who might have actually read the book, but with so much on my TBR pile, I just can’t add this book to it. Disappointing.

Not to buy


  1. A shame this disappointed. I find it so frustrating when the characters aren't to my liking or worse still badly written.

    1. Very disappointing, but I am glad I only wasted a little time reading the sample and I didn't get very far. I am also glad I took this off my Christmas wishlist. It would be so disappointing to have been gifted the book only to find out I wasn't too keen on it. Or worse yet, that I had bought it. I'm sure it is a very good book, but the style was just not to my liking.