4 out of 4 stars
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Jennifer Julander's The Green Lady whisks the reader away to an ancient realm of myth and magic. In the center of a great continent lies the kingdom of Elodria, a prosperous land filled with majestic woods. This is the home of Princess Cleandra, who would rather explore the forest than stay cooped up in her brother Friedrich's castle. Her carefree days come to an end with the arrival of Nymue, the woman to whom her brother is betrothed. King Friedrich is instantly smitten with this mysterious maiden, but dark forces are working in the background, and Cleandra finds herself at the center of an age-old struggle between good and evil. With the help of a mysterious man named Amnar, Cleandra must realize her true power and use it to stop the rising tide of darkness.
The Green Lady is a high fantasy novel with a fast-paced plot, plenty of twists, and a host of unique characters. Ms. Julander infuses Elodria and the surrounding lands with a uniqueness that helps them stand out from other fantasy stories, yet still manages to keep a familiarity that fans of this genre will find comforting. As I read this book, I felt as though I was simultaneously exploring a new world and revisiting a familiar childhood haunt.
The writing within this novel is lovely. Ms. Julander uses descriptive, varied language to describe her characters and settings, and transitions to different viewpoints with ease. There was no confusion concerning changes in point of view, and the plot flowed effortlessly from one event to the next. It was also apparent to me that Ms. Julander carefully edited this book, and I was hard-pressed to find errors.
My favorite aspect of this story is the use of strong female characters. Cleandra is intelligent and formidable in her own right, but her abilities are tempered by her concern for her home and the people she loves. Nymue is also powerful, and both young women are guided by other strong females. However, the women in this story are not empowered at the expense of the males; on the contrary, there are several male characters who contribute in valuable ways.
I have no criticisms of this story, but I must warn that it ends on a cliffhanger, so there may be some readers who are dissatisfied with the ending. However, my copy of the book did come with an excerpt from the sequel, The Curse of Brys, so there is definitely more to come. I look forward to reading the sequel in full!
The Green Lady is a worthy addition to the fantasy genre, and I rate it 4 out of 4 stars. This book will be a treat for lovers of fantasy, but I would also recommend it to anyone who appreciates a good story.
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