Title: Words Once Spoken
Author: Carly Drake
Publisher: Escape Publishing
Release Date: 1st October 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance (NOT High Fantasy), Fairy Tale, Historical
Page Count: ???
Evelyn is being forced to attend court against her wishes, where her mother hopes she will become handmaiden to the princess, and she has to wear dresses and meet people live in luxury and leave her beloved horse behind because she refuses to ride sidesaddle like a lady. Luckily Evelyn meets two boys who fall head over heels in love with her, one of whom is a prince (!!) and the other is a handsome lord of some kind who knows a secret about Evie she herself hasn’t realised.
The first half of the book was of average enjoyment. It wasn’t a boring book, but I felt like parts weren’t completely thought out, and the storytelling, unfortunately, really lacked a punch in the emotional stakes.
- When Evelyn is selected to be the princess’ handmaiden she’s shocked for all of five seconds and then the plot point goes nowhere (as do the characters).
- Evelyn finds out she’s not entirely human and yawns.
- Her parents abandon her and she’s not even sad.
- She finds out the prince she loves for no reason is a vampire and it’s all cool.
- She discovers there’s this whole other world she knew nothing about, yet can identify strange creatures on sight and isn’t even surprised.
- She discovers she’s some kind of a fairy princess and doesn’t even blink.
Evelyn would rather run off with a vampire and a werewolf than permaybehaps listen to the other fairy guy who’s her sworn servant and has leapt to her defence in the past – but because she’s a strong woman who doesn’t need anyone to defend her, she prefers to go rushing off into unknown danger with unknown people with unknown motivations.
But I don’t really blame her, because once Evelyn uncovers the secret of who she really is – whoops, that makes it sound like she actively uncovered the secret, not had someone tell her without really investigating – she becomes a master lock picker, a long-distance sprinter, and is able to lift boulders bigger than herself without breaking a sweat. She’s never in real danger because she learns to harness her magic without even trying. So there was no real conflict or struggle which led to me really not giving a damn about Evelyn in any way. In fact, I was beyond ready to DNF this at 75% but I figured because it was easy enough to read I may as well finish it and deliver a full review.
As for the romance aspect? Well, they both sucked. It was beyond easy to identify which boys were part of the love triangle upon meeting them, but the one relationship that actually developed – of course – was the one that didn’t work. The second romance was insta-love with absolutely no chemistry or tension – in fact, the biggest factor was a shared love of reading, which is apparently illegal for women to do so I have no idea how Evelyn even learned to read, not why the lad would break the law to send her reading material. Is it simply an infraction or a major crime? Also, by the end of the book Evelyn is forced into a relationship with the first boy that culminates in sexual assault so I can’t even be on his team. I’m Team No One.
This book is also packed with a million and one references where the wrong term of address is used: the prince is referred to as Your Majesty, the king as both Your Highness and Your Grace – and before you can say ‘it’s high fantasy, they could just use different terms!” it’s actually explicitly set in England. Also it’s not a high fantasy. It’s a historical paranormal romance complete with love triangle and a Mary Sue perfect beautiful capable ‘not like other girls’ heroine, exactly like every other paranormal romance you’ve ever read except that it’s set in some kind of pseudo-Medieval time. Not sure when, because the terms of address are wrong, so I can’t pin it down:
If the king was referred to as Your Majesty it would be set after the 1500s, but because he is called both Your Highness and Your Grace by a servant (who clearly doesn’t know the rules of referring to an English sovereign as ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am’ the second time they are addressed) it makes me think it is set sometime before Henry VIII declared the correct reference to a king as Your Majesty. Except that the prince is called Your Majesty so who knows? Certainly not me.
You’d think with all the narrative showing us how Evelyn is growing from human wench rebelling against her strict life to fairy queen that would mean that she actually changed or grows, but unfortunately, at the end of the story she’s right back where she began and that means that Evelyn is a two dimensional character, much to my disappointment.
Thanks to Escape Publishing and Netgalley for providing this advanced reader copy for an honest review.