Sunday, August 3, 2014

Book Review: Plenilune by Jennifer Freitag

"The fate of Plenilune hangs on the election of the Overlord, for which Rupert de la Mare and his brother are the only contenders, but when Rupert’s unwilling bride-to-be uncovers his plot to murder his brother, the conflict explodes into civil war.
To assure the minds of the lord-electors of Plenilune that he has some capacity for humanity, Rupert de la Mare has been asked to woo and win a lady before he can become the Overlord, and he will do it—even if he has to kidnap her."
In giving Plenilune five stars, I hope I am not doing Jennifer Freitag a disservice; I am a reader quite easy to please and I give far more 5-star reviews than some reviewers. I go into a story willing to be pleased, wooed, won by the author. But now, waiting for Plenilune's orb to come crashing into the literary atmosphere, I wish I could retrieve some of those stars from some lesser books because to give a book five stars is to give it my all and that I wish to do now.

For several years I have read Jennifer Freitag's blog, The Penslayer, and enjoyed "snippets" of her writing. I read her first novel, The Shadow Things, and while I enjoyed it, I knew that her writing had grown since its birth and was anxious to read it in its modernity. Plenilune, I imagined, was something a bit more mature than the smaller, tentative Shadow Things.
A friendship gradually sprang up betwixt Jenny and myself but still I had not thought to get to read her "opus" before publication until one day (probably overwhelmed with pregnancy hormones and the pressures of life) Jenny caved and sent me Plenilune en masse. I did not ravage it in a sitting; Plenilune is not one of those novels that calls for such behavior. Indeed, try to swallow it whole and you'll be marked a glutton with no fine taste. It ought to be read, savoured, gentled into one's comprehension because if you try to swallow a moon at one go, you'll certainly feel it a surfeit.

Perhaps the thing that impressed me most in Freitag's novel was the fact that her writing as a whole--the characters, arcs, themes, sensations--stood scrutiny as boldly as one beautiful line in a post of snippets. She can conduct small magic in a line, pyrotechnics in a novel.

I left Plenilune feeling nobler. I can't explain it any other way than that Freitag managed to reach into a fierce, crimson, hidden part of me and call forth a banner-blaze not soon to be extinguished. You will hear readers say that Freitag's work is "like Tolkien" or "like Lewis" and I daresay they mean it well. But it's not. Freitag's writing is like Freitag. That's quite enough for Jenny; that's quite enough for me. I look forward to buying my own copy of Plenilune and prowling upon her doorstep for the next installment in the Plenilunar world.

(Five of five stars. Because of the realistic dealings with characters both good and evil, I heartily recommend Plenilune for ages sixteen and older.)


Anne-girl said...

*tears of jealousy that you have read it already*

Given how much I adore The Shadow Things I am almost afraid to read Plenilune. I know it's going to be even better and I am beginning to wonder if I will be quite the same person after reading it. I was not quite the same person after Les Mis and I am becoming suspicious that Plenilune will sock my gut and wring my soul just as effectively.

Lady Bibliophile said...

Nice to see your review out, Rachel! I am eagerly reading anything about Plenilune that I can find, and it sounds superb. :)

I was hoping to read The Shadow Things before Plenilune releases, but I'm running out of time...

Oh, and loved what you said about 5 star reviews. Five stars should be the ultimate, this-book-was-life-changing sort of rating!


Suzannah said...

D: You're dead right about the glutton-with-no-fine-taste thing. *guilty look* PLENILUNE was made to be savoured over time.

Emily Ann Putzke said...

I'm anxiously awaiting to see the cover for her book and to read it! It sounds so good!