Be swept away into the first book of a dark fantasy series combining swashbuckling adventure, heart-pounding romance, and plot-twisting suspense.
This Crumbling Pageant by Patricia Burroughs packs a punch. It combines so much mythology--Roman, Celtic, Arthurian and Christian--into one story its a wonder how it all fits together. But fit together it does and once the story gets moving it doesn't let up until the last page is turned.
Persephone Fury has a gift or is it a curse? Throughout the course of the novel, with Burroughs's deft handling of the main character, the reader is never quite sure. She weaves a fantasy world with strange powers that sits parallel to our own where the Ordinary are not aware of the magical world and its machinations. Somehow, Persephone is able to bridge the two worlds with her music and magical abilities. Her struggles, while rooted in a completely fantasy world, seem very real. Her frustrations with her large, talented and politically connected family and her strong desire to absorb knowledge of all kinds and her need for independence flows off the page. For me, as a reader, Persephone, and her struggle for love, equality, knowledge and independence felt real. As a reader, who wouldn't fall in love with Persephone after reading this passage.
"Perfect," she sighed. And then, because she could not more hold the words back than she could stop breathing, "My first kiss--" She nuzzled against his hand again. "--is in a library." And she collapsed in laughter against his chest. --Chapter Twelve
Her first kiss is in a library?! *melts*
While the plot is masterfully devised and all the characters are fully realized, I struggled a bit with the points of view. The other characters given a voice in the story, Robin and Vespasian, are as strong as Persephone in their development. The switching wasn't consistent, either in timing or formatting*. It did make sense, in most cases, why the switch was happening as far as moving the plot forward, but sometimes it felt jarring and would take me a minute to readjust to who was telling me the story.
My favorite thing about the book is that there are no clear lines of what and who is good and evil. The characters and the reader struggle together to learn the answer. Everyone is left guessing as the plots twists and turns leading to the revelation of who will lead the revolution and who is the The True King. I'm excited for the remaining books in this series. Hopefully their release will be happening soon! With that, I give This Crumbling Pageant by Patricia Burroughs a rousing thumbs up.
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