Official Review: Castillia by Christina DesJardins

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Latest Review: Castillia by Christina DesJardins

Official Review: Castillia by Christina DesJardins

Post by ritah » 07 Jul 2019, 17:54

[Following is an official review of "Castillia" by Christina DesJardins.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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The adjectives that quickly come to mind when I think about romance novels are hot, fun, passionate, heartwarming, and sensual. Castillia by Christina Des Jardins offers all that and so much more. Set on a planet with two moons, the author did not shy away from honing her creative license to produce a compelling and intense narrative rich with its own culture, history, and politics.

When what was meant to be a medieval vacation world from mother Earth unintentionally became the permanent home for all its occupants, panic and chaos swept across the lands of Castillia. After months of waiting for rescue with no communication from Earth or any signs of help on the way, it was concluded that a major catastrophe must have occurred on their mother planet. As time went on, desperation and limited resources stirred up a hostile environment riddled with war, death, and separation. Many years later, when Castillia seemed to have attained some semblance of peace, Jarod and Samantha’s love story is brought to light. A love riddled with trial and tribulations, misgivings, and misunderstandings. Given their strong bond of friendship as children, will their growing affections towards each other stand the test of time and stay strong against the tides that not only threatens to ruin their love but also the entire kingdom?

More than your run-of-the-mill romance novel, the narrative reveals an intricate tale of love, loss, betrayal, and greed weaving in elements of fantasy, alternate history, drama, and action. Christina Des Jardins’ brilliant yet seemingly effortless writing style and commendable world-building brought Castillia to life. I enjoyed being pulled into the complex society with its own set of troubles, norms, tribes, and creatures both similar and different to Earth’s. I also enjoyed discovering an interesting artifact that revealed a truth about the people’s past on the planet.

It was easy to picture the characters, as they were well-described. Additionally, the main characters were multi-dimensional, and some of them showed significant character growth throughout their years. The author also did a great job of conveying the characters’ emotions. This made me feel closer to the characters. Thus, when tragedy struck, I found that I shared the characters’ shock, hurt, and sense of loss. In addition, the dialogues flowed naturally, and the chemistry between the love interests in the story felt authentic.

For me, each page that featured Marium, Samantha’s mother, in her youth was engrossing and (in some ways) empowering. I admired her feisty spirit, bravery, pride, and strength. Some of Marium’s thoughts and antics when she interacted with other characters made for the most amusing moments. I also liked Jarod’s character in his boyhood days because I found it funny how he carried himself with an air of maturity, thinking of himself as an adult and acting like one in certain circumstances. As he got older, some of his flaws became apparent as did Samantha’s. There were no perfect characters; thus, there were times when I was in full support of the characters and times when I was frustrated and disappointed by their thought process and actions.

Though the narrative is written in the third person, the story alternates its focus on different characters and events taking place in Castillia. This built suspense and helped to keep things interesting in my opinion. The plot moves along at a good pace; however, if you’re only interested in romance, you might find the various subplots in this tale off-putting.

One thing that I did not like is that at some point (that is, the middle section of the book), the narrative became a little too descriptive and repetitive. It felt as though I was consistently being reminded of a certain character’s insecurity. I would have also liked to see Samantha crying less and not running away from things that upset her as much as she did. Her consistent wailing tainted the initial impression I had of her, which was that she was a fighter (physically and emotionally).

Overall, this is a worthwhile read deserving of 4 out of 4 stars. The book appeared to be professionally edited; I only encountered a few minor errors. I highly recommend it to those with a taste for romance and especially those who enjoy a blend of genres and stories with multiple plot lines. If you prefer books that do not contain details of violence, adult scenes, and attempted rape, this is not the book for you.

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Post by kandscreeley » 08 Jul 2019, 12:05

Wow. I love that this romance novel has an other world twist. So many times romances are just so stereotypical, and I'm glad this one is different. Still, I don't read romance novels except in very rare occasions. Thanks, though.
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Post by Dee_218 » 08 Jul 2019, 14:04

I love the story and the creativity behind it. Thank you for a lengthy review. Really enjoyed it and sells the story really well.

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Post by Michelle Fred » 09 Jul 2019, 06:11

The other world theme aroused my curiosity. I will never not be fascinated with life outside the earth. Thanks for the beautiful review.

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Post by kdstrack » 09 Jul 2019, 14:34

The idea of vacationing on another planet - and then being left there - adds a nice twist to the story. I also enjoyed your comments about the characters. This looks good! Thanks for the recommendation.

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Post by Leethemuse » 11 Jul 2019, 21:32

Wow! Thank you for your review! I have not heard of this book before but I may have to get it in hardcopy.
The creativity is original.

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Post by lucia_kizas » 14 Jul 2019, 12:14

Seems like an original and intriguing story. And I do love a book which has suspense and romance combined. Yet, the constant repetition of the insecurities that a character has usually irritates me enough to put the book aside. So, I think I will skip this one. I like strong female leads, of ones turning from weak to determined. But as you mentioned that at the beginning of the book you got the impression of her being a fighter, and then later continuously running, I think I would not like that either.

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