While a broad strokes description of Katerina's world definitely sounds like a great setting in theory, in practice it didn't work so well, mainly because the details about the world and its political landscape were borderline incomprehensible. And I say that as someone wholoves political intrigue and world-building. Additionally, a lot of the world-building information was just airlifted in and dumped into conversation, which added to my problems with the believability of Katerina's voice.
You know what got me about The Fault in Our Stars more than anything else? What made me, on more the one occasion, laugh out loud even while I was bawling**? It wasn't the witty banter or the poetry or the philosophizing or the mullings-over of mortality. It was Hazel's empathy.
Paperbacks out today:
Adios, Nirvana, by Conrad Wesselhoeft:
It’s beautifully written, full of music and poetry; anguish, guilt and anger; the rekindling of faith in one’s self and the determination of true friendship. Jonathan and his friends—his Thicks—are a whole lot like the guys from Freaks and Geeks, if Daniel Desario & Co. lived in Seattle and idolized Bukowski, Kerouac and Eddie Vedder.
Daughter of Xanadu, by Doris Jones Yang:
The historical details in this one were totally fascinating—and there's an EPIC battle scene—but the dialogue was weak and it dragged in parts and the romance fell so flat that it was more of a distraction than anything else. My complaints aside, it's probably a safe pick for readers looking for historical fiction starring a strong female character, and Tamora Pierce blurbed it, which is always a selling point.