Friday, July 27, 2012

Captive Queen

Author: Alison Weir
Goodreads Rating: 3.43
My Rating: 3.25 Stars
Length: 20 Hours
Reviewed by: Nicole

Not my usual historical period, but I saw the cover of the audiobook one summer, and finally got around to picking it up from the library. This was a little out of my comfort zone as far as history goes, but I did find that it was easy enough to settle into this time period. I have listened to other works by Alison Weir and enjoyed them although so far this one has more sex than is comfortable to listen to.

Goodreads Synopses:

Nearing her thirtieth birthday, Eleanor has spent the past dozen frustrating years as consort to the pious King Louis VII of France. For all its political advantages, the marriage has brought Eleanor only increasing unhappiness—and daughters instead of the hoped-for male heir. But when the young and dynamic Henry of Anjou arrives at the French court, Eleanor sees a way out of her discontent. For even as their eyes meet for the first time, the seductive Eleanor and the virile Henry know that theirs is a passion that could ignite the world.

Returning to her duchy of Aquitaine after the annulment of her marriage to Louis, Eleanor immediately sends for Henry, the future King of England, to come and marry her. The union of this royal couple will create a vast empire that stretches from the Scottish border to the Pyrenees, and marks the beginning of the celebrated Plantagenet dynasty.

But Henry and Eleanor’s marriage, charged with physical heat, begins a fiery downward spiral marred by power struggles, betrayals, bitter rivalries, and a devil’s brood of young Plantagenets—including Richard the Lionheart and the future King John. Early on, Eleanor must endure Henry’s formidable mother, the Empress Matilda, as well as his infidelities, while in later years, Henry’s friendship with Thomas Becket will lead to a deadly rivalry. Eventually, as the couple’s rebellious sons grow impatient for power, the scene is set for a vicious and tragic conflict that will engulf both Eleanor and Henry.

Vivid in detail, epic in scope, Captive Queen is an astounding and brilliantly wrought historical novel that encompasses the building of an empire and the monumental story of a royal marriage.

Check out my review.
For starters this book was just way too long, if Weir had cut out even just a little bit of the book, I felt that it would have been better. While each scene played its part, it was just too long. There is an important part of Historical Fiction that I realized as I was reading this book and that is that Historical Fiction tends to just retell what happened in history rather than have an actual plot. Your plot line starts at when Eleanor meets Henry and ends with her death many many years later.

There is a lot that does happen during this book, but at the same time its like writing a book about your whole life, things will happen, but it isn't important to include every little fight (or time they had sex). That brings me to my next biggest problem with this book. There was just way too much sex. I think the first 7 disks are just filled with Henry and Eleanor going at it, and then Henry and his mistresses and then Eleanor and some duke or something. It is one thing to read about the sex because you can kind of skip over it. Its another thing to have to listen to it when you aren't doing anything else.

I came to hate Henry as a character. There was almost nothing redeemable about him, he was cruel, and self absorbed and frankly didn't deserve to be king. He insists on crowning his arrogant teenage son before he dies and then he doesn't give him any power. Honestly? He was asking for trouble. Maybe it was just because we could see more into Eleanor's mind and not his, but she seemed so much more genuine trying to care for her children and ensure their happiness when it came to their inheritance.

Overall, it wasn't poorly written, and I suppose it deserves a slightly higher rating, but by the 13th disk I was just bored and wanted it to be over with. That being said, I think I'll stick with her books because she has been spot on when it comes to the history that her books are based on. 

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