Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Review: The Scarecrow King by Jill Myles

The Scarecrow King by Jill Myles
Series: Standalone
Genre: Fantasy/Romance/Retelling
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Princess Rinda of Balinore knows of only one way to get her cold father’s attention – to be an obnoxious, spoiled princess. When she finds out that the king plan to marrying her off to a far-flung nobleman, she puts on her best bratty show in front of the entire court. But Rinda’s plan backfires, and she soon finds herself married to the most ineligible man ever. Her new husband is monastery raised, poor as dirt, and a traveling minstrel.

A very, very bad traveling minstrel.

But Alek isn’t what he seems like on the surface, and neither is Rinda. She won’t take this marriage lying down, and schemes to find herself a new husband – a king. But as she and Alek travel together, they learn that not only are appearances deceiving, but goals can change in the blink of an eye, and love can get in the way of the strongest plans…

"People want to marry princesses if they find them appealing in some way. I shall have to go out of my way to make myself as unappealing as possible."

I will admit, I didn't know the tale of King Thrushbeard until I looked it up after reading this book. (And, honestly, I got it confused with Bluebeard's tale - he of the eight dead wives.) Anyway, I didn't go into this story with any knowledge of the original tale, though several things were very obvious to me from the start. (And, after finding out what the tale is, I'm very glad to report this book isn't as sexist as that story.)

The plot is definitely this book's weak spot. It's kind of typical though, for a romance. Arranged marriage/ one of convenience, and the two fall in love. Nothing original there, but the romance and the characters more than makes up for it.

Now I simply took it as a challenge instead, to see how completely unmanageable and unlikable I could truly be.

First of all, I love Rinda. She's exactly the kind of girl I always adore. She's spoiled, bitchy and pretty much terrible to everyone, never thinking of anyone else and so full of herself that it's amazing. (I know, I know, I've got strange taste in girls I like.)

But, Rinda's this way mostly because of her father. He's an utter bastard to her because she reminds him too much of her mother who he either loved terribly or hated horribly. Even to this point, I'm not really sure which. (Though I kind of think it's both in equal measure.) But he treats her like an irrelevant nuisance and ignores her - except when he's cruel to her.

Rinda learned at a young age that she could never please him, so she did what kids are still doing to this day to get parental attention: she acts out. Hits him in the only place she can, in only one of two things he actually loves, his purse. She spends his money like it literally grows on trees and when we first meet her, she is tossing pearls from the treasury into the pond for the fish to eat.

Let's just say, I love this girl. Everything about her is perfect for me to adore her.

"When you came in, I thought you were the most beautiful girl I'd ever seen. And when you smarted off to your father, I thought you were brave. And then when you insulted me with your scathing words, I thought you were clever, if a little mean. I thought you were perfect."

Alek, the love interest, is such a sweetheart. Honestly, when I first met him, I won't deny that I wondered if he might be a little…simple. Any guy that smiles that much, and takes so many insults in stride, is definitely odd. But then…well, you definitely get to see other sides to him right along with Rinda and I loved that.

Even better, the smiles weren't a mask. He really is that generally happy. Which is nice. Kind of odd, but nice nonetheless.

The romance makes me so happy, too. Rinda and Alek are perfect for each other and I definitely say they bring out the best in the other.

The only real complaint I've got is that the romance seemed to happen a little too fast, to me. Alek pretty much was enamored right from the start, and it wasn't long before he was in love. It took Rinda a bit longer to fall in love, but I would have liked it just a bit more if it hadn't been quite so quick.

Considering the plot of the story, especially towards the end, I do understand it. Just would have liked it more if the romance had moved a bit slower. But that's just me. I much prefer slow-moving romance.