Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Clara by Suzanna Linton

Clara is a fantasy novel that follows the life of a young woman named Clara.  Her life is anything but easy, all she knows is hardships.  At a young age she was sold into slavery by her mother, the horrors of which has caused her to become mute. She becomes the servant girl in the castle kitchens.  While there she saves the king from death only to be more humiliated by the queen, who leads her around on a lease calling her Mouse.  The only bright side is the queen has her learn to read and write.  There she runs into someone from her past, Emmerick, who is now the leader of a rebel army looking to overthrow the big evil in the world Marduk.  Clara has abilities he would be able to use in order to meet his goals, but how can she discuss her visions using only a slate and chalk?  There are also others who covet the powers Clara seem to have hidden deep within her.

After reading Willow of Fate, I could not wait to get my hands on Clara. Suzanna is such a wonderful author, she draws her readers into the story straight from the beginning.  She creates a world and characters that readers want to know more about.  In Clara, right off the bat readers are wondering where the story is going to take young Clara.  I almost wanted a little more about the horrors that led up to her being mute, but that is a mystery that plays out throughout the novel.  We see Clara treated as if she was invisible, barely seen.  Even after saving the king she is still treated as a servant and not noticed by others.

I enjoyed Clara's personality because while she is angry and upset most of the times, she still has compassion and love for others.  She stands up for what she believes is right now matter the consequences.  Some have noted her has unsympathetic, but there are moments throughout the novel where we see this theory is wrong such as when she stops the king's advisor from beating a servant child.  But she still has a hard exterior and has human aspects to her such as being selfish at times, stubborn, angry, frustrated, thinking without reason (come on ladies how often do we do that?), and feels like everyone is out to do her wrong, which she is partly right, but there are those who wish to protect her.

Gavin's personality was a little hard to gauge, though there were times when I got utterly frustrated with him.  Everytime he tried to speak for Clara was frustrating because we know she is intelligent and capable of speech and smart thinking, but Gavin doesn't see past his own emotions to allow her to do so.  he even feels upset with her when she wants to travel with them.  Emmerick is also another one that is hard to gauge.  He comes off as surly, out for revenge and nothing more.  He seems to only want Clara for her gift of sight rather than her intelligence, but we soon see that change.  He is ruled by his own passions and guilt over his past.

The story is a medieval fantasy.  Suzanna does a great job with descriptions and setting, I felt as if the world really came to life as I was reading it.  I would have liked a little more from Marduk.  He was such a key focus for Emmerick's rage, but we don't view much of him throughout the story.  What made him want Clara, how did he find out about her?  What put him on the path to bring him to assassinate kings and strive for power and evil magic?  How did he discover the casket and what it can do?

This story takes readers on an exciting adventure page by page, chapter by chapter.  As the story gets deeper, the harder it is to put the novel down.  I would recommend this book to any fantasy lover, as well as someone who might be venturing into the genre and aren't sure what to pick up.  I would give Clara a rating of a 4 out of 5 because there were things readers would want to know more about such as Clara's muteness and the origins of Marduk rather than him seemingly popping up and trying to overthrow the kings.  Overall great novel, so glad I have it in my collection.

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