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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Paradise Red by K. M. Grant

Master storyteller K. M. Grant brings the dramatic saga of young love and religious conflict to a satisfying end in the final book of the Perfect Fire trilogy. As winter falls upon the Occitan, Raimon must find a way to recover the Blue Flame from the hands of the evil White Wolf. But his plan could lead him back to the pyre—and he might not be so lucky to escape from it again.

Meanwhile, Yolanda—unwillingly married to Sir Hugh des Arcis—is threatened by her husband's desire for a son. As Sir Hugh sets off on a mission to claim the Occitain for France, she makes her own journey through the blizzard to find Raimon, a journey that could end in disaster. As the flames rise one last time, Raimon and Yolanda's fates, like the fates of the Flame and the Occitan itself, hang by a smoky thread.
First Look: ***** I've been waiting for this for a few months now, and the cover is awesome like the first two, but I'm not really sure when Yolanda turned from Occitanian to Hispanic. I loved the title at first glance; and now that I know why it's called that, I love it even more.
Setting: *****  I love this setting. Of course, I almost automatically like medieval settings. But I loved how this is a real place. That somehow makes it so much cooler.
Characters: ***** Great, as in the last two books. Laila was the one who really surprised me here (Aimery! Laila, what's your problem?) They all had so much depth to them, and characters that you thought you knew showed new sides in this one, especially Hugh. And Arthur Parsifal, because I love the name.
Plot: ***** Again, this is no less awesome than the first two. It's a bit more intense, actually. If I was the kind of person who cried during books, I would've been freaking out near the end. This was actually real! Not the specific characters, but the general storyline. I love that aspect of it.
Writing: *****  Wait...I would have bet quite a bit that the first two were written in past tense. Maybe I'm wrong, but the present tense bothered me. On the other hand, this book is narrated by a country (actually, a small strip of fictional land in southwestern France called the Amorouix). How cool is that?

Likes: There was one thing about this book that almost had me cheering, but how can I say it without giving spoilers? I guess I'll just say that I hated that life-or-death decision she made. But then it failed, and I was really really happy with her. If that had worked, that would've most likely ruined the whole book for me. Yes, I feel that strongly about the subject. And I also agreed with the viewpoint it presented on religion, and how K. M. Grant was careful not to make one side better than the other.

Not-so-great: The only thing that comes to mind is Yolanda's choice.  But I've already gone over that, and it was resolved in the end.  Even so, I still can't believe she did that. 

Cliché-ness:***** Zero cliche. 100% on the uniqueness.

Total Score: ***** Amazing finish to the trilogy! It delivered a bittersweet and satisfying ending. This was so much more emotional than the first two! I would recommend this for people who like historical fiction, or just exciting stories. Read it, but make sure you read the first two first.


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