I started a lot of the self published books I bought recently with a certain amount of dread. I"ve tried to read so many "Christian" books that I've almost all but given up on them. (I will have to talk about this in more detail later, but basically, my main problem is they all have the same plot. It is like reading the same book over and over, but with new character names.)
I was surprised by all but one of the books I read. Many of them have become new favourites and I am so glad I own them because I can read them over and over. A few I was sad about because they didn't have sequels. And there was really only one I could hardly stand, and only finished for the sake of the plot.
But, out of all of them, Annabeth's War surprised me the most.
I had heard a lot about this book even before it came out and planned on buying it. It sounded good, one I would like, though probably not love. So, when it went on sale, it seemed like the perfect time to buy it. (Side note, the author was one of the ones I was able to interview awhile back. If you wish to find her site you can do so HERE!!)
Moving on though. Here is a summary of the book, followed by my gushing thoughts on it.
Annabeth was raised to be the son her father never had. She was taught to use a sword, a skill which has saved her life many times now that she is outlawed and on the run for her life. Everywhere she turns, she seems to run into those who want to kill her. And when she does finally meet someone who wishes to keep her alive she isn't sure she can trust him.
Ransom was given one order. Win Annabeth's trust and bring her to safety. But how can he win the trust of a girl who has learned to rely on herself if she wishes to live? How can he convince Annabeth he would do anything to keep her safe?
And even more importantly, how can they stop a usurper before he takes over a kingdom? A prince's life hangs in the balance, and it is up to Ransom and Annabeth to save a throne which has fallen in the wrong hands.
Now, what I loved about this book.
It is a king story, with swords. That wins points with me without even trying.
It had lots of running around, facing bad guys, and plenty of good adventure.
Annabeth wasn't a wimp, but nor was she the "I can do everything myself and don't need help from a stupid boy!" type girl. She was willing to fight for her friends, and sometimes willing to accept Ransom's help. (I say sometimes, because most of the time she wasn't sure which side he was on. Hard to accept help when you're concerned the fellow might turn you over to your enemies.)
The bad guy was well done. Not one of those Prince John type bad guys, but an actual bad guy. (He reminded me of a cross between Guy of Gisborn and King Uther on a bad day.)
Ransom. Everything about Ransom. Just, Ransom in general. Every story needs a good Ransom in it. (Okay, okay....I will move on.)
This book was one of the few which has ever taken me completely off guard. I think the only others to have done so were Seraphina and The False Prince. I started it expecting one thing, and I went away with a whole new outlook. ("I have a whole new outlook on life!" "Really." No.")
When I started the prolouge I didn't think I'd like the book at all, to be completely honest. I thought Annabeth would be one of the girl characters who thought she could do anything and didn't need help from anyone. I thought she'd fall in love with the prince and he'd be an idiot and get himself into trouble and she'd beat up all the bad guys and whisk him off his feet and he'd marry her. Then she'd ride off into the sunset, ready to save him again because he couldn't take care of himself.
I was wrong.
Prince Alf was something like Nine, sassy and usually seemed off in his own little world where he could make up snarky remarks about his friends, only to later realize how they would sound. (Of course, he was enough of a man to go and apologize when he'd hurt someone, but he was more of the carefree prince who liked to laugh and didn't seem too bothered by the fact some mad man wanted him dead.)
Also, Annabeth did have a reason to distrust the dashing hero Ransom. But when she did realize he meant to help her, she accepted that help. Most of her desire to do things on her own came because that was what she'd become used to. No one wanted to help her, just kill her. Why should Ransom be any different?
Then there was Song Lark, her bard friend who liked to randomly make up songs. He was just fun. I loved him and wished he could be in more of the book.
And of course, Ransom. Who was everything a hero should be. Gallant, ready to give his life for his friends, compassionate, and daringly brave. He was my favourite part of the book.
And while the writing could be said to be lacking a lot of things, I didn't feel this way. The plot was kind of wild and at times I felt lost, but then I always caught up. And I loved the "holes". It reminded me of British books. There was no wasted time on a lot of details. I was able to fill those in, creating the world as I liked. It was really a lot of fun and I don't know if Jessica did it on purpose or not, but either way I loved it.
The only thing I found wrong with this book is that there is no book two - no more Ransom - and she doesn't have anymore books out yet. But as soon as she does I'm first in line for a copy. I also plan to re-read this one. (I bought it in paperback as well, which gives me an excuse to read it again.)
In parting, this is a book I would recommend to everyone. I don't think any of you would be disappointed.