Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Review: Paradise Red - K. M. Grant

Warning: may contain spoilers

Synopsis: As winter falls upon the Occitan, Raimon carefully plans his attempt to recover the Blue Flame from the hands of the evil White Wolf. But Aimery's scheming could lead them all to the pyre - and Raimon 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 prepares to lay siege to the Cathar stronghold where the Flame burns, Yolanda flees his castle in a blizzard to find Raimon, a journey that could end in disaster. But could Raimon's passion for the Flame cause him to lose Yolanda and even himself?
Review: An excellent and fitting end to the Perfect Fire Trilogy. One cannot say that it's a happy one. Paradise Red, like the other two books in this trilogy, is based on actual historical events, and the taking over of the Occitan by the French king and the purging of the Cathars was not a bloodless occurrence. Have tissues on hand and definitely don't read Paradise Red when you're feeling depressed.
But that really isn't what makes this particular book so depressing, even though the mass burning in the end is certainly a hard part to read (especially if you are eating roasted chicken). I have never liked Raimon all that much. I've tolerated him and for the most part agreed with him, and I've always supported the attachment between him and Yolanda. But Raimon often acts far too selfishly, using people for his own gains, and Paradise Red is no exception. While I can understand what made him use Metta to get close to the White Wolf and the Flame, I couldn't accept it. Poor Metta; Raimon is almost her undoing. In White Heat, I felt sorry for Sir Hugh, but in this one, I hate him - even though he redeems himself a little bit in the end - but only a little, in my opinion. And even Yolanda makes decisions that had me despising her tremendously, but she does end up making the right decision in the end and I liked her again, though not as much as before.

I can't say that K. M. Grant could have written it any other way, though. There are very few characters to like in the finale, but none of their choices were out-of-character, and while Raimon never redeems himself enough in my view, he does realize that he did wrong and must repent. I can never find myself disliking K. M. Grant's decision to make her main characters less-than-spectacular; she manages to write "only human" heroes and heroines in a way that doesn't leave the Reader feeling disappointed in a bad way, and the characters do, in the end, always make the right decision, or see their faults and try to amend.

There must now be some words lent towards content. I am sorry to give anything away in this part, but I'll do my best not to give too much away. Sir Hugh, as it says in the summary, wants a boy, while Yolanda is quite adamant that it not happen - at least, not by her. As far as she's concerned, Sir Hugh has broken their marriage contract by burning her home in White Heat. Hugh does end up having his way with Yolanda, but the Author deals with this in the most delicate language. She doesn't even actually write the scene; it goes from Hugh's arrival at the manor to after he's done the deed and left again. This event is alluded to throughout the book, but always in the fewest words possible, and never in detail. So my Readers can be assured - if a scene seems that it is going in an undesirable road, don't worry - there are no details. K. M. Grant cuts it at the right moment.

I cannot say that Pardise Red was my favorite out of the trilogy, but it was a good ending. Bittersweet. As always, K. M. Grant's writing is truly wonderful and I look forward to any other books she intends to write in the future.

Overall Rating: 
Others in the Perfect Fire Trilogy:
1)Blue Flame
2)White Heat
3)Paradise Red

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for visiting 667B Baker Street! Please feel free to leave a comment; I love hearing from my Readers and I always try to respond, especially if you have a question!