Review of The Duchess of the Shallows

First, a couple of personal matters:

  1. For those who tune in for a daily dose of writing wisdom, I apologize for last Thursday and Friday.  I caught a stomach bug.  I’ll spare you the details, but, suffice it to say, those days were not super happy fun times.
  2. I’ve decided to enter Power of the Mages in Amazon’s publishing contest.  I feel that I’m both making a deal with the devil for making the attempt and abandoning my entrepreneurial spirit.  One of the reasons that I eschewed the traditional publishing route, however, is the time.  The contest helps eleviate that issue.  I’ll know one way or the other by June, and I can be assured that my manuscript will at least be looked at.  Entering means, however, that I have to devote all my time to Power, and that means that Slender Man is going to have to be put on hold until mid-January.

Now, on with the review:

In The Duchess of the Shallows, Mr. Ravipinto and Mr. McGarry tell of a young woman who, though born into nobility, fell into hard times.  The book tells of her attempt to rise above her current lot in life regardless of the danger.

Why to buy this book: The book is fast paced and well written.

Why not to buy the book: My biggest problem with the book is that it took me quite a while to relate to the POV character, perhaps because the authors did not have her struggle enough at the start.  Once I did, the book grabbed me.  I also had some minor quibbles:  1. The character’s name is Duchess.  It wasn’t clear to me at the beginning that it was her name and not a title.  I had that moment where I wondered, “Why is a Duchess working in a bakery?”  2. What’s with all the authors lately who overuse semicolons?  It’s a minor deal, but I found it distracting.  3. The “gangs” in the story are all referred to by a color like the Red and the White.  If the names are based on color, why do the authors describe things as “gray” but the gang is “the Grey?”

Bottom Line: Though I spent much more time above on the negatives than the positive, I found this book, overall, an enjoyable read – well worth what I paid for it.  I give it 4 stars.



2 thoughts on “Review of The Duchess of the Shallows

  1. Brian, ‘Duchess of the Shallows’ was one of my favourite reads of the year. Unlike you, I took to Duchess and Lysander right from the start. Interesting to hear another point if view on it.

  2. Pauline,

    Different strokes, I guess. I didn’t feel the authors did a lot at the start to make her likeable/relatable. Her life wasn’t all that bad. She had food, shelter, and friends. They told a bit about her life, but it wasn’t horrible and was in the past.

    Nothing else about the character really drew me in. I think the turning point was the game of tiles.



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