Book Review: The White Knight, the Lost Kingdom & the Sea Princess


The White Knight, the Lost Kingdom & the Sea Princess by Judy Carlson

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

“Prince Lael must prove his strength and loyalty when challenged by an insidious enemy.  Clara and Ian, two kids from Minnesota, will join the adventure to free a captive Sea Princess, battle evil, and overcome lurking temptations. They will meet the legendary White Knight and along the way gain wisdom, love, and friendships.” – GoodReads

I had high expectations from this book since I love fantasy, I was told that it is similar to Narnia, and I had met and liked the author. Plus the cover design is absolutely gorgeous! So when I very quickly began to be disappointed, I tried to lower my expectations and continue on. I tried to reason away the many flaws in the writing. I tried to overlook the lack of structure in the story. I tried and failed. I wanted so badly to like this book! (sigh.) Alas, it was not to be.

I read through page 57, because I always give every book at least 50 pages to prove their worth, but then I just had to stop. I can’t finish this. It grates on my nerves so badly!

First of all, everything, and I mean EVERY thing, is super-uber-extra-dramatic all the time. People scream their words, and flail their arms, and “despair in terror” because they lost their favorite knife. If the character is already in “despair” over a lost possession, then what word are you going to use when they are in a situation that calls for ACTUAL despair? When normal or small situations are over-dramatized, then REAL drama has no meaning, and the small drama just feels like a silly parody or joke. I hoped this might get better as I read along, but it actually got worse.

There are some words that are misused or strangely used, and it confused me. For example, “Terrible blood-letting and carnage followed the execution.” So people are being killed, yes? Except “blood-letting” is a medical procedure that supposedly balanced the “humors” in the body. So are they being killed or being cured by old-timey medicine? I don’t know.

The use of parentheses weirded me out! I don’t think I’ve ever read a single novel anywhere that uses parentheses. Parentheses are usually for essays and research papers, aren’t they? I had a writing teacher who said that if it needs to be in parentheses then it doesn’t fit your paragraph, so either move it to a place where it does fit, or cut it out completely. It was jarring to see in a narrative. Just weirdness.

There is a ton of clumsy foreshadowing, to the point where it’s actually funny. “Her fate would later profoundly affect the life of the young Prince Lael of Tundrand.”-pg. 8
“He could not know that soon he would face the harshest gauntlet.”-pg. 11

This story is not written in scenes. It is written more like a history book than a story. There is way too much narration and long explanations of the world politics and family histories. It doesn’t focus on any one character long enough for me to connect with them. Far too many characters are introduced and left aside in the beginning chapters. I can’t remember them all, mostly because few of them have any dialogue. They don’t play out any scenes, so they aren’t memorable. The characters and their relationships or actions are just explained, instead of told like a story. I felt no emotional connection with any of them.

There is practically NO structure whatever, not even chronological. The flashbacks are so numerous and random, that I can’t even bring myself to call them “flashbacks”. It’s more like a big ball of wibbley-wobbley timey-wimey stuff all swirling together in a time vortex, so that everything (past and present) is happening in the present all at once to every character all together. Yay. That’s not confusing at all!!
The characters have these little “remembering moments” that start something like this…
“These thoughts led to another recollection.” (Cue flashback.)
“Soon his thoughts led him to another memory…” (Fourth flashback in this chapter.)
“Lael recalled how…” (Long flashback that last several pages.)
“Lael smiled, and thought of his early years.”
“Lael’s mind went back in time to his first journey…” (Agh, make it stop!!!)

The writing is excessively verbose, using great quantities of adjectives and unnecessary adverbs. The writing is so cluttered that the message is entirely lost. A character’s dialogue will be “screamed” or “desperately whispered” instead of just plain “said”. The author “tells” instead of “showing” to the point where I want to cry.

I’m sorry.
I really am.
I hate writing bad reviews, and I always try to find something positive to say about every book. I loved the poetry/quotes at the beginning of every chapter! I think this author has potential, but they need a good editor who will cut half of every sentence.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher/author in exchange for a free and honest review. The opinions here are my own true thoughts, and are not influenced by anyone.
View all my reviews

3 thoughts on “Book Review: The White Knight, the Lost Kingdom & the Sea Princess

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