Book Review: Cold Shoulder Road

Cold Shoulder Road by Joan Aiken
3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Is Twite and her cousin Arun go on a wild search for Arun’s mother, Ruth Twite, while the Merry Gentry smugglers terrorize every village on the coast. Arun and Is turn to Admiral Fishkin for help and advice on how to find their missing relative, but the duplicitous Admiral is not as kind as he seems. Is and Arun search through the mysterious Silent Sect, explore a dark cave, find shelter in unlikely places, and ultimately find a way to restore peace to the coast and strip the Merry Gentry of their power.
I was a little disappointed in the “lucky” coincidences of the plot, especially since I have come to expect so much from Joan Aiken’s writing. The plot felt really contrived as time after time the heroes are saved from disaster by some random happenstance. The main characters seem to float around from place to place, making a half-formed plan that doesn’t really accomplish anything, and then they are miraculously saved! AGAIN! by some incredibly lucky accident. And the ending was especially contrived and unsatisfactory.

Other than that, the writing is great! Joan Aiken has such a beautiful writing style that pulls you into the story, creates emotional connections to the characters, and describes a vivid setting. Her writing and characters are imaginative and interesting and weird!

Still well worth the read, but not her best in this series.

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