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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Book Review: The Coronation

If last week was the Vintage Jane Austen Blog Tour week, I should call this one Book Review week. I’ll be featuring and reviewing three published works by indie authors. On Thursday, I’ll be featuring Rebekah A. Morris, and on Sunday, Sarah Holman, but today belongs to The Coronation by Livy Jarmusch. I participated in Livy’s blog tour in July, but didn’t finish and review the book until this month. (To my chagrin!)

 Find on Amazon and Goodreads.

Prince Addison is only several weeks away from inheriting the Kingdom of Tarsurella. The entire Palace is ablaze with excitement, as the Royal Family prepares for the event of a lifetime. Despite the exciting event which is near at hand, Addison and his younger siblings (all seven of them!) must carry on with their daily activities.

Addison’s sisters, Princesses Bridget, Chasity, and Hope, have their struggles with being iconic European starlets of a modern day monarchy. The teen heiresses grace magazine covers, smile for photoshoots, and gracefully glide through important interviews–until a certain American popstar arrives on the scene. Kennetic Energy, the wildly popular band from the United States, is chosen to play at Addison’s Coronation. David Carter, the band’s handsome lead singer, fumbles through awkward moments with Princess Hope–in front of the cameras. When an embarrassing rumor sparks that Princess Hope is dating the young fellow, she is determined to get the band fired from their Royal gig.

Meanwhile, Princess Chasity is dealing with her own fragile affairs of the heart. Her new security guard, Hanson Fletcher, is completely captivating, yet entirely frustrating. She attempts to keep the entrance of her heart firmly protected, while following the wisdom of Proverbs 4:23. But can she be successful in guarding her heart, from her security guard?

On to the review:

I really enjoyed The Coronation. It took me a while to read, but that’s because it was on my laptop—I would have zipped through it in print. Despite its length, it reads quickly. Although it isn’t my normal kind of book, I think it has real value for teenage girls who are learning how to give their hearts completely to God and who are struggling with crushes and relationships. The three teenage princesses, Bridget, Chasity, and Hope, each have different affairs of the heart they must face, and I was pleased with how they ended up handling them. This wasn’t the only spiritual issue the characters faced, but guarding your heart is a major theme.

The Characters:
The Coronation has a big cast of characters, which is difficult for any writer to handle. Though some of them could have been better defined or developed, the fact that I hardly got any of them mixed up says a lot for how well Miss Jarmusch crafted them. They almost all felt like real people. A few supporting characters seemed superfluous, but all eight children in the royal family were important. I appreciated the character profiles at the beginning of the book! The “head hopping”—looking in at different people’s thoughts—didn’t bother me much because I like books in third person omniscient; I get to know more characters that way. (Though for a more streamlined story, many of those characters’ points of view could have been dispensed with.)

My favorite characters: Princess Hope – sweet, caring, and genuine. Vanessa Bennett – a young American woman passionate about helping the homeless. Clark – the head palace cook who’s helpful and heroic. Prince Addison – a mature young man and fantastic big brother. (However, I wished it was explained why he was taking over the kingdom at age 21 when his dad had so many good years left. It didn’t make much sense to me for someone who’s college-aged to succeed a seasoned ruler. No doubt there’s a tradition behind this.)

The Writing:
Ms. Jarmusch has a defined voice and writes with sincerity. The book has atmosphere. It reminds me of lighthearted teen rom-coms, especially those set in exotic places, only with Christian morals. She develops the world and customs of Tarsurella quite well; it truly felt like an Americanized little European country. I liked her vivid writing style. I read an advanced review copy, so I imagine that wherever I saw weak writing and editing, it was probably fixed in the published edition. Most of the teenage characters would, in their thoughts, gush over the people they were attracted to, which made me roll my eyes a few times because it sounded so close to silly romance novel fare, but actually, that’s just realistic. The most important point is they all learned they needed to control those thoughts.

The Plot:
For the most part, I thought the plot was quite good. Maybe it could have used some tightening, but I’m a fan of Dickens, so long, sometimes meandering plotlines and lots of characters don’t bother me. It was peacefully paced for the first two-thirds or so, then something big and disturbing happened at that point that changed everything. It ended well—not too fast or slow, with enough closure to be satisfying but enough openings to make you eager for the sequel. SPOILER ALERT: (Highlight it to read.) One thing that bothered me, however, was that the terrorist attack seemed portrayed a tad unrealistically. That sort of thing is not easy to depict. It seemed to stereotype Muslims/Middle Easterners because the only people from that religion and ethnicity in the book were the attackers. They were portrayed as flat villains with a lot of unnecessary “evil” descriptions. Also, I’m not sure a Muslim warlord would want to marry an infidel princess nowadays. However, I think the terrorist attack and the hacking was a brilliant plot twist. END OF SPOILER.

The Quotes:
I pulled out several favorite quotes, but if I included them all, this review would be twice as long; so I’ll only select three:

Don’t waste your time dating young paupers who don’t know how to properly cherish your heart,” she had told her. “Wait for the man that God has for you! Wait for a true Prince! He will cherish and love you for all of your days. Until then, be content to rest in your singlehood, and seek after God with all of your heart!” (p. 338) [I love the way she put this.]

They needed more time to get to know one another. As friends. Without the pressure of a possible romance.” (p.433) [Great philosophy, in my opinion!]

Choosing to worry about situations outside of our control quietly tells God that we do not trust Him as King and CEO of the Universe. Worry tells God that we’re agreeing with fear, rather than having faith.” (p. 177) [Yes, yes, yes! I wish I could remember this all the time.]

And there is my long review! In short, The Coronation carries a valuable message in a package that will be fun and relatable for most teen girls. If you’re not a fan of romance and you stay out of pop culture, this book might not be your cup of tea.

(I received this in exchange for my honest review. I was under no obligation to write a positive review.)

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