Be Careful What You Joust For by Ryan Hauge and Ivy Smoak

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Plot:

Isolda is a noble lady who’s living a double life, she often sneaks out and ditches her guards to transform herself into Lady Marsilia, an underground crime lord. She runs several taverns that have secret rooms where people can buy and sell contraband items. On the surface, she appears to be a demure and well-polished noble lady, if she was found out she could be banished, which is almost synonymous with execution.

When they were hollowing out the underside of a new tavern the foreman and his group of carpenters discovered a body that appears to be the lost body of a dead God. Arwin. His body used to be on display as a relic, but went missing under suspicious circumstances a number of years ago. There’s a prophecy that Arwin will come again and some people are convinced the prophecy will come true soon. Her father was murdered about 20 prior, and all she’s had to go on is a mysterious knife, but after researching what may have happened to the body of Arwin, she stumbles upon clues about her father’s murder.

Terric is Isolda’s son, he’s around 13 years old and as a second born son he’s expected to become a priest of Arwin. He’s really not happy about that at all, he has little to no interest in the priesthood and wants to be a knight. He’s been planning to run away for some time, and is trying to get his friend and his crush to go with him before he’s forced to say the Oaths of the priesthood – once the vows are said there’s no going back for him.

Gerrion is the father, and he’s woefully out of touch with his son, he’s convinced that Terric loves the idea of becoming a priest and expects him to be thrilled he’ll be allowed to take the vows 6 months early. He has flashbacks of bloodshed from his past and seems intent on keeping both his family and his realm safe. War is on the horizon and he’s doing all he can to stop it.

Final Score: 09/15


Characters:

Terric is pretty obsessed with a girl named Bella, I’m not sure how much I like this kid considering one of his past times is watching Bella undress/dress herself. He does seem to care about her as well as finding her pretty, he’s one of the people he wants to come with him when he runs away. He has a pretty good relationship with his mother, Isolda. She’s a very loving mom and fairly lenient as well. She knows he’s been sneaking off to go play fight with swords with a common boy while they pretend to be knights. Although he’s jealous of his older brother, he does like him and like being around him, they have a decently healthy relationship.

Isolda is very independent and goes around her husband when it suits her, he has no idea she has an alternate personality, or that she doesn’t have the same fervent faith that he does for Arwin. She’s a believer, but not to the degree her husband would want her to be. She’s worried about her kids, worried for herself, and about what secrets her husband may have that he’s never told her. She feels the need to talk about her problems but doesn’t have anyone she feels like she can trust. It’s possible the people she does confide in aren’t the best choices, loyalties aren’t always clear.

Garrion means the best, or so his inner thoughts would have you believe, but he’s not even always honest with himself about things, preferring not to dwell on the mistakes of his past. He’s utterly oblivious to how his kids actually feel about things though, he still thinks of them as little kids and trying to do what he thinks is best for them, despite them approaching adulthood.

Final Score: 09/15 

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World Building:

This world felt medieval to me at first considering there were knights, jousting tournaments, arranged marriages between cousins, and no mention of guns or high tech weaponry.  But, as the book went on new elements of world-building were introduced that made it feel like a medieval and renaissance mash up. There’s a scientist type character in this who designed a new kind of armor that was exactly “2.315 times stronger than the average armor”, it just felt very precise. Along with that, the same character argues that the bone density of humankind would never allow for flight when trying to stamp out a rumor about a race of people that fly during thunderstorms. There are also mentions of chocolate, airships, an  “island of invention” and other things you wouldn’t expect to see in a medieval world.

Religion is very central to the society the family lives in, people who aren’t religious enough will be locked in a temple until they are deemed sufficiently devout enough to be released.

Being “banished” means that you’re lowered over a giant wall that surrounds the city, into a grassland infested with lions. Most don’t survive, it’s used as an alternative to a proper execution since Arwin’s law states that executions should be forbidden.

Final Score: 10/15


Writing:

Despite this not taking place in modern times, the language used in the dialogue was pretty current. This had a very straightforward writing style without a lot of flowery writing, simile, or metaphor. It did keep things reading very quickly.

There were a few places where things became repetitive, Isolda had a very similar inner dialogue in two consecutive chapters. It was well edited, I didn’t find too many spelling or grammar errors.

Final Score: 10/15


Pacing:

I found Oriana’s chapters to drag a bit because so much of it was the same thing, her first few chapters were all spent trying on different outfits and hairstyles trying to find something she thinks her betrothed will find suitable. Isolda’s chapters went by pretty quickly for me since she had the most going on, and the plotlines I was most interested in.

Final Score: 10/15 


Originality:

This was an interesting world building mash-up, there were a lot of tropes used however and I found things to be a bit predictable in places.

Final Score: 08/15 


Personal Enjoyment:

I’m not sure I was the right audience for this book, I don’t usually do well with young and hot-blooded romances – particularly not when they can become obsessive and one-sided. If you do like a princess falling for a common person storyline this may appeal more to you than it did to me.

Final Score: 5.5/10 


Audience:

  • For people who like multi pov
  • For people who like medieval settings with a twist
  • For people who like romance
  • For people who like low magic
  • For people who like older female pov’s
  • For people who like under ground crime

Final Score: 61.5/100

 

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