Book Review: Wisdom’s Kiss by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
It is incredibly hard to get back into a reading routine after falling off the book wagon, as they say. I won’t be back to the review a week schedule I was maintaining before the New Year but I want to at least get several reviews done a month. I don’t want to be a slacker and what’s a book blog without book reviews? I also need to get cracking on my back-log of “to read” books. Today, I bring you my review for Wisdom’s Kiss by Catherine Gilbert Murdock.
Princess Wisdom, known as Dizzy, longs for a life of adventure far beyond the staid old kingdom of Montagne. Tips, a soldier, longs to keep his true life secret from his family. Fortitude, an orphaned maid, longs only for Tips. These three passionate souls might just attain their dreams while preserving Montagne from certain destruction, if only they can tolerate each other long enough to come up with a plan. Tough to save the world when you can’t even be in the same room together.
Magic, cunning, and one very special cat join forces in this hilarious, extraordinary tale by the author of Dairy Queen and Princess Ben. An incredibly creative tale told with diaries, memoirs, encyclopedia entries, letters, biographies, even a stage play, all woven together into a grand adventure.
I loathe books written in letter form. It’s annoying slow, very limiting, and ruins the flow of a book for me. I just can’t get into a book written entirely in letters. (Not alphabet letters! Letters as in written correspondence between two people. Don’t be cheeky.) Wisdom’s Kiss is a story told in letters, journal entries, and one part memoir. There are two characters who write in letters, two characters that write in journal entries, and one character whose part is written as a third person memoir. There are even little snippets of a play thrown in for flavor. I don’t have to tell you that the constant change in view point is very jarring and kept me from finding my feet among so many characters. The number of characters does not help either. There seems to be two main female characters and one main male character with a lot of secondary characters running around being confused or evil depending on the moment. The reader doesn’t know who to focus on and the book ends up feeling like a badly skipping film.
I was about 1/3 way into Wisdom’s Kiss when I realized “it’s effing Puss in Boots!” and that was only because the swordsmen/acrobat being called The Booted Maestro repeatedly. This tale has been turned on its head and is only barely recognizable as Puss in Boots. After that point I heard Antonio Banderas’ voice everywhere. I couldn’t help it! I never knew whose story I was reading either. Was I reading Tips’ story? He was a moron in my opinion. Should I be cheering for Princess Wisdom? She was a brat. Or was Trudy the real star? She was bit of a featherbrain and lackluster for me. Nobody really stood out because we were always jumping from character to character.
I enjoyed Wisdom’s Kiss by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. Despite it being written in my least favorite format, it was still a complicated story that you could really sink your teeth into. You had to keep on your toes. It would have probably been my favorite book so far this year if it had been written in third person. Wisdom’s Kiss is a fascinating retelling of the Puss in Boots fairy tale but it’s a retelling that sort of gets tangled up in itself. It took me awhile to muddle through it and while I liked it, the book would have benefited from a different, more linear formant.