The Boleyn King: A Novel

The Boleyn King: A Novel - Providing an alternate history for many Tudor-era enthusiasts to fancy, [b:The Boleyn King|16071746|The Boleyn King (The Boleyn Trilogy, #1)|Laura Andersen||21865749] certainly fell short to me. Though it portrays a historical “could have been” that undoubtedly is intriguing, its execution was not captivating. Following the lives of four best friends, The Boleyn King explores what has been perhaps the one of the most overplayed features of the Tudors- that of being love obsessed (thank you, Henry VIII.)The premise of Anne Boleyn giving birth to a legitimate son is definitely one that is not often explored in literature. With excitement, I requested this book expecting a robust read oozing with political intrigue. To my disappointment, the domestic and foreign affairs of the court were portrayed flatly, especially via epistolary infodumping. Instead, the book tells as though a young adult contemporary, focusing on superficial love. I do enjoy the aforementioned genre, but when it comes to historical fiction I want more than a plot that can easily be displaced into our modern world, specifically high school. I want more than a light read. I felt that historical aspect was nothing more than a fancy backdrop. One cannot deny that lust plays a pivotal role in Tudor history, but at the same time, there is more to the dynasty than obsession.Told in multiple perspectives, [b:The Boleyn King|16071746|The Boleyn King (The Boleyn Trilogy, #1)|Laura Andersen||21865749] follows the lives of four friends since childhood. There is the Boleyn king, William; his sister, Elizabeth, Minuette, one of his sister’s attendants, and Dominic. This circle of friends despite their stark differences in ranking are loyal to each other, and when a plot to overthrow William is discovered, it is their investigating and planning that has to stop it. The mystery behind the machinations against the King did interest me, and the sleuth of the friend quartet give the novel a pace that is well-needed. What I enjoyed about these characters was their distinction. Elizabeth, as she is often portrayed, is short of emotions and calculated. William is impulsive, itching to rule independently. Dominic is the wise one, aptly serving as William’s trusted counselor. Minuette, conversely is a lackluster character, functioning as an object of lust. Soon trapped in a triangle of unrequited love, Minuette is unbelievably naive, and dominates the novel with her weak characterization. This love triangle provides the [b:The Boleyn King|16071746|The Boleyn King (The Boleyn Trilogy, #1)|Laura Andersen||21865749] with a predictability that smothered any remnant of intrigue I had in the beginning. This is because I found it completely unnecessary to what could have been a thrill of a plot. Of course, it also provides reason for a trilogy. One character that I definitely wanted more of was the notorious Anne Boleyn, By the time of [b:The Boleyn King|16071746|The Boleyn King (The Boleyn Trilogy, #1)|Laura Andersen||21865749] she is just a shell, whose presence is nothing significant.When it comes to Andersen’s style, I did not find anything too impressive. The transitions of perspective were quite odd. Misplaced and confusing, these choppy transitions had to take getting used to. I was most irked by the infodumping though. With historical fiction, I can understand the usage of month-long interludes with so many events occurring. However, spurting them out via letters every time proves trite to me. Even the battle scenes were mechanical to me, lacking a fluidity that would immediately place me in it. I also found the voice of the novel to be too juvenile considering its time period. In fact, I mentioned on Goodreads how it told as though Tudor High School drama, which is definitely not attractive to me. I do commend Andersen for providing such a intriguing, mysterious ending that would probably incline me to read the next installment.All in all, [b:The Boleyn King|16071746|The Boleyn King (The Boleyn Trilogy, #1)|Laura Andersen||21865749] is an alright read. Encompassing too much “telling” and characteristics of a contemporary, It did not stand out . For a historical “could-have-been”, I wish it was less focused on romance and more on political intrigue – that would have made it more fulfilling for me. Despite this, I highly recommend this to those who are deterred by historical fiction because it is ‘boring’ or ‘verbose’. It has a young adult voice that will certainly grip enthusiasts of that genre.This review appeared first on Oh, Chrys!