Book Review: Clara by Suzanna Linton

CLARATitle: Clara

Author: Suzanna J. Linton

Genre:  Fantasy

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

To save a nation, Clara will have to see through both the fog of war, and the fog of her own heart…

Sold into slavery as a child, and rendered mute by the horrors she suffered, Clara’s life extends no further than the castle kitchens and their garden. Those who know about her just think of her as the dull mute girl who may be a little soft in the head, not knowing that she carries within herself a precious gift: the ability to see the future. This is a gift she keeps secret, though, for fear of persecution.

However, a vision prompts her to prevent a murder, shoving her not only into the intrigues and gilded life of the nobility, but also into a civil war brewing in her country. As events unfold, and she is drawn deeper into the conflict, she meets an old friend, makes a new one, and begins to unearth secrets better left buried.

Driven to learn the truth about the war, and about her friends, Clara embarks on a journey that takes her from her beloved mountains to the very Capital itself, Bertrand, where she is confronted by an evil both ancient and twisted. The only problem is, her own anger and prejudices are the catalysts her enemy needs to complete its plans. If she is not careful, not only will the entire nation be lost, but her own soul as well.

Clara’s life could be described in one word so far: tough. She was sold into slavery as a child, by a mother who took her in as an orphan. She works a a maid in the castle kitchens, rendered mute by the horrors life threw at her. Most people ignore her, thinking of her as nothing more than a servant, until she prevents a murder by using a gift she’s never told anyone about – she has visions of the future. By preventing the murder, Clara gets thrown in the middle of court intrigues and a civil war. When the need to find out the truth about the war drives her to the capital, she’s confronted by an ancient evil threatening both her, and the entire country.

I really liked Clara’s personality. Why? She’s angry, she has plenty of prejudices, she’s upset more than half the time, and she feels like everyone is out to wrong her. But guess what? She’s – at least partly – right. With a childhood like hers, no way she could’ve grown up to become a reasonable, sensible adult. I’m glad the author had the courage to give her an unsympathetic, unlikeable personality – because at least that makes her human. If she acted all nice and kind after what she went through, she’d come across as anything but human. Now, even though I don’t feel completely sympathetic toward her, I can totally understand where she’s coming form, or why she does the things she does.

The book is medieval fantasy, in the style of Games of Thrones. I liked the setting – great descriptions, and the world really came to live as I read the book – and most of the characters. My number one pet peeve however, would be the villain. He’s rather one-dimensional. A lot of books fall for this (read: Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, etc) but I was kind of hoping this wouldn’t be the case here. Unfortunately, the villain didn’t convince me. Again, one of those “ancient evils” that seems to resurface every now and then. But why is he evil? What drove him to this path? That makes a villain become a person, and that’s what makes a great villain. Here, the villain was so-so.

That aside, I really enjoyed the book. Clara was a great character, the writing was decent, and the plot was complicated enough to surprise me a few times. If you’re a fan of fantasy, I suggest you pick this one up.


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