Book Reviews

Review: Isolde, Queen of the Western Isle

Isolde, Queen of the Western Isle (Tristan and Isolde, #1)Isolde, Queen of the Western Isle by Rosalind Miles

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book caught my eye because of my obsession with anything having to do with the Tristan and Iseult legends. Unfortunately, this book didn’t really do it for me.

I really, really did not like Isolde. I was already inclined to dislike her right off the bat, anyway, because the first few chapters of the book before we meet her consist mainly of the other characters talking about how wonderful she is. When we finally do meet Isolde, she comes across as sort of a brat, which just made me dislike her that much more. Unfortunately, the other characters aren’t any better. Tristan struck me as some sort of token chivalrous knight with no real depth, and I wanted to strangle Mark every time he appeared on the page for being such a selfish coward. Basically, I didn’t see any redeeming qualities in any of these characters.

It was really unfortunate that the characters fell so flat to me, because I had no problem with the plot. The main plot follows the legends fairly closely, while adding in some subplots that, for the most part, added more depth to it. I say “for the most part” because there was one subplot following King Arthur and a supposed bastard child fathered by him, and I didn’t really see how that added anything, aside from making the book longer. I did appreciate the attempt to add some of the religious tension going on in Britain at this time, even if the priest who figured so prominently in the story was more a caricature than anything else.

Overall, I was disappointed. There are two more books in the series that apparently follow more parts of the legend, but I won’t be giving those ones a chance.

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