Court by Cat Patrick
Published: 16.10.2014 by Rock Star Lit PR
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: 3/5 stars
I received this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Synopsis: For more than 400 years, a secret monarchy has survived and thrived within the borders of the US, hiding in plain sight as the state known as Wyoming. But when the king is shot and his seventeen-year-old son, Haakon McHale, is told he will take the throne, becoming the eleventh ruler of the Kingdom of Eurus, the community that’s survived for centuries is pushed to the limit. Told through four perspectives, Court transplants us to a world that looks like ours, but isn’t. Gwendolyn Rose, daughter of the Duke of Coal, is grudgingly betrothed to Haakon — and just wants a way out. Alexander Oxendine, son of the Duke of Wind and Haakon’s lifelong best friend, already grapples with external struggles when he’s assigned to guard Haakon after the king dies. And commoner Mary Doyle finds whispers in the woods that may solve — or destroy — everything, depending on your bloodline.
I’m still not sure how to put this book in a genre. I mean, it’s set as fantasy. And I guess it could be urban fantasy. But there aren’t really (m)any fantastical elements. I don’t really know how to describe it. It plays out in the US, more specifically Wyoming. For 400 years, a Realm has been situated there, separated from the US -which is called the Democracy in this book. The Realm has existed for generations, founded by the Father who came from Great-Britain, and the Mother, who was a Native American.
I liked part of the world these characters lived in, because I do think the Realm had some good things to offer. Like free healthcare, and affordable education. Living in Belgium, I never truly appreciated this until I realized that countries like the US don’t really have this. So in a way, it’s a good commentary. But I also wasn’t truly intrigued by the Realm. They have different “noble” families, who controlled important aspects, like wind energy, coal mining and so on. And then there was the royal family, of course. But I didn’t like how they had such a superiority complex, and complete xenophobia.
It also left me with a lot of questions. How can the US not know? Do these people not have to pay taxes to them? How do they keep normal families from moving into a house in the Realm -unknowingly? I just have a lot of questions on the workings of the system.
I feel like the plot might be the biggest reason I didn’t truly enjoy this. Or well, maybe it was the characters who did it. Anyway, I was expecting something different from this story. I was expecting a young guy to fight for his right to be King, because his father (the previous King) died. I was expecting noble families to try and manipulate them, or someone to try and assassinate him to take over the throne. But I didn’t really get any of that.
Instead, this was a story about everyone screwing up, in my opinion. Haakon (the guy who will become King) didn’t want to be King, and has a serious drinking problem (and drugs problem). He didn’t want to be king, yet he still barks at everyone who suggests he should try and get his act together when he announces he will take the throne -that’s not a spoiler, trust me. And yes, there was a giant cover-up thrown in there, but to me it just felt like an afterthought. I wasn’t really intrigued or interested in finding out the truth.
Even the big reveal at the end -of the killer- left me cold. I just didn’t care. And I think that’s mostly because I felt like I was missing a giant chunk of relevant history. If you haven’t read this book, you may not understand what I’m saying here. But I feel that to truly understand and figure out the killer on your own, you needed a different book before his death. Because there is no way to have found out who the killer was on your own.
Let me start by saying that I disliked every character except for Roarke, who didn’t even have a POV. Everyone in this book is so extremely selfish and self-absorbed. I mean, I get that you have problems, but would it kill you to ask someone else how they are doing?
So the first person is Haakon. At first, I quite liked his POV -and his character. He seemed like just another teenage guy, with a lot of responsibilities thrown at him suddenly. But then he turned into an absolutely disgusting person. I mean, disgusting. The kind of person I want to slap and spit on.
Then we have Gwendolyn. At first, I wasn’t really into her character, because I felt so cheesy while reading her story. She met this guy, and the tropes just came out. Like, the fact that she felt like she had known him forever. While that was literally the first date. Or that he thought it was out of character for her to curse. You have known this person for one short date. How could you even know? I liked her more at the end, even though she did a complete 180 on her feelings about the Realm.
Next up, Alexander -Haakon’s best friend. I don’t think these people know what best friends are. I liked Alexander well enough, even though at one point he thought his best friend was capable of murdering his own father. I mean, really? Who would believe that about their best friend? I’m happy with his character growth throughout the book though, because he ends up doing what is best for him.
Lastly, Mary. At first I loved her, because she seemed like the underdog. And I still like her. I think she’s an extremely strong woman. But I also think she could have gotten a lesson in communication. It’s ridiculous to become so jealous that you treat your crush/best friend horribly, after you saw him talking to a girl. Really? I get that she’s a teenager, but still.
Anyway, every character here could have gotten a lesson in communication. And How Not To Be Selfish 101.
Overall, I liked this book well enough. I have to admit that I was expecting something different from the plot though. I would have enjoyed this more if I felt more for the characters or the mystery, but I didn’t. If you like YA urban fantasy, and find the synopsis intriguing, I’d say give it a go. My rating was one of the lowest, as many people gave it 4 or 5 stars.