Official Review: The May Queen by Patrick Axford

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Official Review: The May Queen by Patrick Axford

Post by ViziVoir » 26 Dec 2018, 21:22

[Following is an official review of "The May Queen" by Patrick Axford.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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The May Queen by Patrick Axford is a fantasy novel that stars Isolde, a Sentinel who is assigned to the village of Sanctuary, where her predecessor has gone missing and a boy has been found dead. The first half of the book revolves around her quest to uncover the secrets of Sanctuary, while the second half has some of the traditional fantasy violence and action. I have to say, it's nice to see a fantasy book that doesn't rely upon the tried-and-true concept of the main character undergoing some kind of journey, and this format worked well for The May Queen. The first part was tense and atmospheric, while the second part was climactic and exciting.

Since most of the book takes place in the village of Sanctuary itself, its environment and inhabitants had to be brought to life throughout the story. While I would've quite liked to have other villagers come into play more, the characters that do interact with Isolde are vibrant and interesting. The different parts of Sanctuary, from the house Isolde stays in to the fields surrounding it, are also portrayed in an immersive way. The writing is metaphorical enough to convey emotion while still getting across what actually takes place in each scene.

I was also quite impressed with the fighting scenes. Isolde faces up against a variety of opponents, ranging from men with delusions of grandeur to a horrifying monster, and each fight was distinct and exciting. Besides fighting with a sword, Isolde can also use a form of magic. Its boundaries were never strictly defined, and while I can see some people becoming annoyed about the unclear limits of her power, I thought the way she used magic to gain an edge in each encounter was clever and added to the experience.

The book does have a few flaws, though. Most importantly, the editing leaves something to be desired. The difference between "its" and "it's" isn't always recognized, and there are several instances of homonym confusion. These usually aren't enough to be seriously distracting, but they still made the book feel rather unpolished. It seems like the book wasn't closely edited, as these are things that could've easily been fixed.

The other flaw, in my opinion, is the book's reliance on well-known and often harmful clichés. For example, practically every villain is also implied to be a rapist in some way, the only lesbian in the book is evil, and women are initially described primarily by how beautiful they are or are not. When these elements came up, they immediately broke immersion for me. They're just too common in fiction for me to take seriously, and they always detracted from the otherwise fantastical world Axford was describing.

If I could, I would rate The May Queen 2.5 out of 4 stars. At the end of the day, though, it was very fun to read despite its flaws. For that reason, I rate it 3 out of 4 stars. People who are squeamish about gore or sexual content should stay away from this book, but it's a great choice for older audiences who love fantasy novels with intrigue and well-developed characters.

The May Queen
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Post by kandscreeley » 28 Dec 2018, 08:45

Cliches do seem to be overused often. It's too bad that happens here. Nevertheless, it sounds like an interesting book. I like that it isn't the usual journey as fantasies are wont to be. Thanks for your review.
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Post by JordanKSmith » 28 Dec 2018, 18:48

This sounds like a fair review of the book. It's interesting how the little irritations become incredibly distracting after repeated offenses. Right now, one of the books that I am reading likes to use a phrase that I find a little annoying. It would be totally dismissable, but variations on that phrase are repeated well over 100 times, lol. That's a lot.
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Post by Darlynn_Tebogo » 30 Dec 2018, 15:59

What an honest review, I'm a big fan of fantasy novels but I will not be placing this book on my must read list because of the harmful clichés you mentioned and a badly edited book can be off putting at times.

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Post by C-Extra22 » 01 Jan 2019, 08:05

Why the title - May Queen? Was any of the characters born in the month of may?

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Post by nonamer_miss » 10 Jan 2019, 10:18

From your review, this book seems interesting, although I agree that women should bot be described by how they look. Thanks for a fair review.

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Post by Sweet Psamy » 11 Jan 2019, 09:55

This is a compelling story that has caught my interest.I like the fact that the characters that interact with Isolde are vibrant and interesting.wonderful read.

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Post by AnnaKathleen » 13 Jan 2019, 11:37

It's sad that the use of clichés and editing problems were overlooked. However, it still sounds like you enjoyed it; I think I will check this book out! I have been looking for a fantasy novel with a bit of a fresh twist rather than the usual journeys. Thank you for the thorough review (:
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Post by HannahKD » 05 Feb 2019, 13:10

The title, cover, and the use of fantasy had interested me at first, but after reading this review I'm not sure I will continue on and read the book. I love the genre and appreciate that the book is described as a "fun read", but I couldn't happily sit and read through harmful cliches.

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