Book Review: The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory

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Previously read by the same author:

Read between: 7th- 11th September
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 405
Published: 14th April, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Synopsis: The Red Queen tells the story of the child-bride of Edmund Tudor, who, although widowed in her early teens, uses her determination of character and wily plotting to infiltrate the house of York under the guise of loyal friend and servant, undermine the support for Richard III and ultimately ensure that her only son, Henry Tudor, triumphs as King of England.

Through collaboration with the dowager Queen Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret agrees a betrothal between Henry and Elizabeth’s daughter, thereby uniting the families and resolving the Cousins War once and for all by founding of the Tudor dynasty.

Rating: 3-5-stars

Review: This book follows Margaret Beaufort, heiress to the House of Lancaster (hence the Red Queen- red being the colour of the Lancaster rose) and her rise and fall in society and the royal court during the War of the Roses.

Margaret is very devout to her religion which probably helps her get through life considering she is married off at 12, and goes through a very brutal birth to her only child, Henry Tudor, before becoming a widow at 13. So- not a very happy start  to her life, especially at such a young age!

A big part of this book focuses on her hatred for Elizabeth Woodville and the rest of the Rivers family- mainly because she’s jealous (a trait I didn’t like). She wants her son, Henry, on the throne of England and will stop at nothing to make that happen.

This includes ordering the murder of the princes in the tower (which her husband ends up covering up to blame King Richard III!)

However, I really liked her character, even if she could be very jealous and childish- but as she got older, she got more ambitious. Everything she did, she did for her son and for herself.

The fact that this book crosses over with the events of ‘The White Queen’ made it a lot easier to follow. I already had an idea of the story, but this time it was from a different point of view.

Both the Red Queen and the White Queen are formidable women, so it’s easy to see why they don’t get on, but they do end up working with each other to try and remove Richard from the throne of England. Neither believe he belongs there.

I really enjoyed Margaret’s story- she had a touch childhood, she hardened, and then she became the woman that she wanted to be. Margaret Regina.

3.5/5 stars. I enjoyed the story but sometimes felt the character let herself down in her spouts of jealousy and anger.

Thanks for reading!
~Katie

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Skulduggery Pleasant: Playing with Fire [Possible spoilers]

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Read between: 17th- 25th October
Format: ebook
Published: 2008
Publisher: Harper Collins
Synopsis: Skulduggery and Valkyrie are facing a new enemy: Baron Vengeous, who is determined to bring back the terrifying Faceless Ones and is crafting an army of evil to help him. Added to that, Vengeous is about to enlist a new ally (if he can raise it from the dead): the horrible Grotesquery, a very unlikable monster of legend.

Once Vengeous is on the loose, dead bodies and vampires start showing up all over Ireland. Now pretty much everybody is out to kill Valkyrie, and the daring detective duo faces its biggest challenge yet.

But what if the greatest threat to Valkyrie is just a little closer to home?

Rating: Image result for 4 and a half stars

Review:

Valkyrie Cain is now a teenager in the second novel. A whole year has passed since Nefarian Serpine tried to rule with the Sceptre of Ancients. Apart from the fact she hasn’t gone back to living her life- and is letting a reflection live it for her, Valkyrie’s life has changed. She’s not Stephenie Edgley anymore.

Although she’s thirteen, in some places she still acts like a child. I guess training in magic, fighting bad guys, and hanging around with a skeleton must take its toll.

Now Serpine is gone, but it’s not all happy and sunshine and rainbows as there is a new threat in the form of Baron Vengeous, a man who wants nothing more but to cause chaos with his armour made of shadows, his army of vampires, and a weird Franksenstein like creature known as the Grotesquery.

Because that’s what it is, grotesque.

Of course, the darkness is broken up by a couple of side villains who are really silly, sure they have cool powers but….they were more comedic than scary. Billy Ray Sanguine, for example, is nothing more than mole man with a razor blade.

The Torment however- I admit that the description of him turning into both tiny and a giant spider sent shivers down my spine. I hate spiders. When that happened I just *shudder*

As always, Skulduggery’s sass and sarcastic comments lit up otherwise darker scenes, making them a little bit more light hearted- after all, this series is for children so you don’t want them being too scary.

Skulduggery is undoubtedly my favourite character at this point in the series because he just doesn’t care. To be fair, he is dead already.

I’m really looking forward to moving on in the series. I want to see what other villains they face and to see how Valkyrie handles these villains still being as young as she is, as well as seeing how accustomed she grows to using magic.

Apart from her whining, she’s very adept for her age, and still badass (although not as bad ass as Tanith Low).
Go Valkyrie!

Thank for reading
~Katie
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