The Kingdom of Little Wounds, Review

6 Jul

The Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal

Plot: The author of this book describes it as “a fairy tale about syphilis” so let’s get it out in the open that this book has some very mature themes. Despite the fact that this book was a Printz Honor Book in 2014, many readers have protested that this book is too dark, violent, and sexual to be considered a Young Adult book. Of course, I had to read it for myself! The story takes place in a 16th-Century fictional Scandinavian town, and chronicles the life of the royal family through the eyes of two of their servants. Ava Bingen shows promise as a royal seamstress, but when she accidentally pricks the queen with a needle, she is sent to Lord Nicolas for punishment. Lord Nicolas uses power and sexual force to convince Ava to become a nursery maid – and spy on the royal family for Nicolas. While acting as a maid, Ava meets Midi Sorte, a mute nursemaid, who is also consorting with Lord Nicolas behind closed doors. Through the narration of the two servant girls, life in the royal palace is observed. A mystery illness affects all of the royal children. The queen’s sanity and motives are questioned. The king’s affections lie with someone other than the queen. And those who are closest to the royal family may not have noble intentions. As more of the plot is revealed, Ava and Midi find their lives becoming more entwined together, much to their displeasure. But the two servants soon learn that they may only have each other to trust. This book is intense, violent, sexual, and dark. It is for mature readers due to the highly graphic content. However, it is a very interesting read about 16th-Century palace life, and is probably a case of this being a more truthful account than many non-fiction works. It’s a fascinating look at the interworking of a royal palace, and the secrets and lies it hides. It’s also a smack-you-in-the-face honest look at abuse of power, which is certain to open the readers’ eyes to other examples of this throughout history.

Would you recommend this book? Yes and no. While offering an interesting look at history, it seems a bit mature for a young adult book.

3 stars

–Lisa

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