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The Dark Queen (2005)

por Susan Carroll

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6272128,242 (3.66)13
Ariane, the Lady of Faire Isle, must protect Renaissance France from the political intrigues and magic of the Dark Queen, Catherine de Medici.
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Mostrando 1-5 de 21 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
1st in series ( )
  jojodev | Oct 19, 2017 |
Title: The Dark Queen
Author: Susan Carroll
Source: library
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Summary: I wasn’t sure I liked this book at first – as a historical romance, with more sex and a more serious plot than the “chick flick” style romances I occasionally I read, it was a little outside my comfort zone. But I ended up loving it and the other four books in the series enough that I would definitely read more books like them, partly for the great plot and partly because I’m a sucker for a happy ending

During the late 16th century in Renaissance France, Ariane Cheney, a daughter of the earth and lady of the faire isle, is duty bound to prevent the misuse of power by other daughters of the earth. Although the true witches are those she defends against, she also faces the superstitious minds of the time, some of whom would brand her a witch as well. When a stranger arrives seeking Ariane’s help against the dark queen, Catherine di Medici, even the strong Ariane needs some help. She has no one to ask but the Comte de Renard, although she hesitates to do so because of both their mutual attraction and her uncertainty his intentions are as straightforward as he would have her believe.

Read more here... ( )
  DoingDewey | Jun 29, 2014 |
Ariane Cheney, the Lady of Faire Isle in 16th century France, is a healer and a white witch. She refuses the courtship of the Comte de Renard, which infuriates him. Finally she agrees to accept a ring from him, which he says will summon him if she needs him - if she will marry him if she uses the ring three times.

Ariane is drawn into a plot involving Catherine de Medici, against the Huguenots. She shelters a Huguenot soldier who has proof that Catherine murdered his queen. In revenge, Catherine sends a witch hunter after Ariane. Her sister Gabrielle is bitter against men and wants only to be a rich and powerful courtesan, but she is drawn to the soldier, Remy. Her little sister Miri is fragile and innocent, and trusts the witch hunter's apprentice Simon, until he betrays them.

Ariane grows to depend on Renard, although she is horrified to learn that his grandmother was a notorious black witch who was responsible for many deaths. All of them end up in Paris on St Bartholomew's night, and witness a massacre of the Huguenots. Remy is apparently killed, and Simon believes that Renard killed his master when really Catherine did.

A interesting story weaving magic and history... but probably too much "white" and "black" magic to pursue the others in the series. Although I do wonder what happens to the sisters! ( )
  dolphari | Sep 1, 2013 |
During the late 16th century in Renaissance France, Ariane Cheney, a daughter of the earth and lady of the faire isle, is duty bound to prevent the misuse of power by other daughters of the earth. Although the true witches are those she defends against, she also faces the superstitious minds of the time, some of whom would brand her a witch as well. When a stranger arrives seeking Ariane’s help against the dark queen, Catherine di Medici, even the strong Ariane needs some help. She has no one to ask but the Comte de Renard, although she hesitates to do so because of both their mutual attraction and her uncertainty his intentions are as straightforward as he would have her believe.

Both the description and the intro to the book had me a little worried that this would be a book where the helpless damsel needs the handsome count’s help and then swoons all over him, so let me assure you – this isn’t that sort of book. Although Ariane occasionally needs the count’s help, it’s never a because she’s weaker than he is. She only calls on him to help others and often he’s only able to do what she cannot because he’s fortunate enough to have men-at-arms to call on. She does do a bit of swooning, but never so the count would know it. Both Ariane and the count are clearly strong, stubborn people and a nice, even match for each other.

The sex scenes are definitely R rated, but only because they’re explicit – nothing kinky. There isn’t an emphasis on having sex after your married, but this book and the rest of the series do clearly connect sex with love. While this might still be too scandalous for the more puritanical among us and too uptight for the more promiscuous, I found it just right for the plot. It made the sex an integral part of the plot because the sexual tension has to connect to increasing romantic attraction which comes from shared experiences and adversity (ie the plot). Personally, my own morals don’t really enter into it when I’m judging a plot, so the only time I hate sex in a novel is when it’s clearly gratuitous (George R. R. Martin, I’m looking at you). That wasn’t the case here.

The plot and the writing are good enough that I’m having a hard time identifying precisely why I loved them, but here’s my best attempt. The plot was fast paced. Despite the romantic focus of the book, there were lots of action scenes too. Something exciting was always going on. The idea for the world wasn’t entirely novel, but something which set it apart for me was the science underlying the magic of the daughters of the earth. I really liked that modern medical knowledge, for instance, could look like magic to most people at the time. Some of the magic wasn’t completely explicable by today’s science, so it wasn’t an entirely self-consistent world, but enough of an explanation was hinted at that I was happy with it. I liked Ariane as a protagonist, because she has a strong sense of duty and is willing to do a lot to protect those who depend on her. And the Comte grew on me as we got more snippets from his perspective and as Ariane got to know him better. While he did have some believable character flaws (as does Ariane), he was at heart a likable guy and not at all as chauvinistic as I was afraid he might be after the first few chapters. And the plot itself was unique, as were the plots of the other four books in the series. All five books were of a very similar style, but had different enough plots that they’re all definitely worth reading. So if you like romances with steamy sex but want a great plot and fun historical context instead of a lighter chick-lit novel, this is definitely a book series for you. ( )
  DoingDewey | Nov 6, 2012 |
What I expected from this book: I fairly historical account of court life surrounding Catherine de'Medici circa 1570's with a love story thrown in for good measure.What this book is:A romance novel based around 1570 with a lot of imaginative additions and a lot of historical subtractions.Now it's not the book's fault that it wasn't what I wanted it to be. It can hardly rewrite itself just because I had a misconception of what the story was about.But I still couldn't stand it, and I think if I tried to read it again, knowing what I was getting myself into, then it would still annoy me and this is why:This book is very PRO-feminism, which I am ALL for, believe me. Yey Women! *Waves national flag of Ladyland*But the feminism is all on the surface so much as I could see (I couldn't bring myselt to quite finish this book!)Our heroine is a "Daughter of the Earth" (Read: witch) because she could not possibly be bound but cultural or religious norms of the day. However, she meets our hero who is a mysterious, ruggedly handsome Comte, Renard, who attempts to force her hand in marriage.Catherine de'Medici is also a dark sorcerer and she is the main villain of the novel.So why does it fail to whip up a feminine frenzy in me? Well, first of all, it's so heavy handed! It's all about the women. In an age known for locking them up and having little tolerance for magic. These women roam free, are reknowned as witches and have a whole island that is pretty much culturally detached from the rest of the world. Men are sarcastically berated from their limited worldview, the heroine is working to keep herself and her sisters free from the world, there's a big deal with the second sister moaning on about how women can't do anything without sex and how none of her skills are valuable in the world because she's a woman blah, blah, blah.Please embrace the fine art of subtlety. Please. The Brick of Feminist Dogma has been engaged enough in the first 70 pages of this book to last a lifetime.Second of all, do not put all this stuff in there only to rip it all away with the actions of your characters. Your heroine is a strong female character, but it's okay for the hero to kiss her twice without permission and to insist on her marrying him because... he's really sexy?It's like you're saying that women just don't know what's best for them and so it's okay for their hero to come along and show them what's right. I mean, don't get me wrong - just about everyone comes along and tells him he's a very, very bad man. But, luckily, he just keeps pluggin' away at it because if he didn't then that pesky woman would make her own choices and miss out on his sexy manliness and we just can't go having that, now can we?Oh and let's not forget that we've taken one of the more amazing, intelligent and determined historical women of history and reduced her to a petty villain who has only risen to power NOT because she's ambitious, clever and incredible - no she's done it through sorcery, fear and cruelty.Fan-fucking-tastic.To sum up, the writing is meh, the characters are meh, the historical element isn't very good. It's basically just a really light read for people who don't want to think and aren't expecting brilliance.One more thing that really, really annoys me is that she's a witch. People find out about that and you're about as good as charcoal. You'd think you'd be a little quiet about your abilities. Well, no. Arienne is about as subtle as the author. EVERYONE knows about her. A stranger travels from miles and miles away because he's heard of her. Everyone on the island she lives on knows about her. People on the mainland know about her. Fuck it, the whole world knows about her.Good thinking there. Real clever. You're not likely to end up a crispy critter at all.Let me know how you go with that.Actually, don't - because to do that, I'd have to finish reading you and the other two books in the trilogy and I'm not at all interested in doing that. ( )
3 vote KatKennedy | Mar 28, 2012 |
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To Kay Krewer and Armin Weng, true friends for all time, whether it be the nineteenth century or this one. And to the memory of Fred Zimmer, gentle farmer and philantropist.
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The bride was late.
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Ariane, the Lady of Faire Isle, must protect Renaissance France from the political intrigues and magic of the Dark Queen, Catherine de Medici.

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