fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews Marissa Doyle The Leland Sisters 2. Betraying SeasonBetraying Season by Marissa Doyle

Penelope Leland is off on an adventure of her own. Eager to get away from her newly married, not to mention disgustingly happy twin Persephone, Pen ships off to Ireland with her former governess Ally to continue her studies in magic in the hopes of getting to the same level as her sister.

But things never seem to go according to plan, and Pen soon finds herself more alone than she could have thought possible, Ally is expecting a baby and is dreadfully sick all the time, and though she has her magic classes with Ally’s father-in-law to distract her, the gentlemen who she studies with are not enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge with a woman.

Quite unexpectedly, Lady Keating, a wealthy woman who is influential in Cork’s society has taken a liking to Pen and graciously takes her under wing. She also has a very handsome son, Niall Keating whom Pen finds herself unexpectedly drawn to.

But the Keatings are hiding something. Lady Keating has instructed Niall to woo Pen and to lure her into a sense of security so she can take advantage of Pen’s magical abilities. Niall agrees, not knowing what he’s signing up for, but soon finds himself falling in love with Pen. Niall has to choose where his loyalties lie: with the woman he loves, or with his family.

I find myself a little distraught about how to describe Betraying Season. I liked it to be sure. Doyle has created very likable characters in the Leland girls and I’m hoping she’ll write a third novel with the twins’ brother Charles as the main character. Betraying Season, however, lacked some of the charm that its predecessor Bewitching Season oozed in abundance.

My first gripe was with the character of Niall. I couldn’t bring myself to like him the way I cheered for Lochnivar (the main love interest in Bewitching Season). I found the character of Niall to be almost Narcissistic in a way, and it kept me from liking him. Niall seemed to be one of those guys who was good-looking and knew it. Remember those guys in college? The ones who took longer to get ready than the girls did to go out, and who had to have their shirts ironed just to go to a dark bar where no one could see the difference anyway? The character of Niall reminded me of those guys. It was quite annoying after awhile.

Betraying Season also had a more PG-13 edge to it that was not present in Bewitching Season. While not over-the-top in any way, and definitely not outside the realm of YA, Betraying Season definitely had more sexual innuendos than its prequel, some of which I found… not necessarily disturbing, but more… disconcerting. Here’s an example, but it’s a spoiler, so highlight it only if you want to read a spoiler:

Lady Keating’s scheme is  based on the fact that Pen is a virgin, so when Niall decides it’s about time he saved her from this wretched fate his mother has concocted, he finds that his best course of action is to sleep with Pen rather than just tell her the truth.

Really? I get a little testy thinking about it because in my mind that whole part was just not needed. I mean it’s a YA book! I’m not saying that kids are naïve about sex, but I think Marissa Doyle took her series from one very large age group (10–17 years), and totally bounced it into another (14+) which is a much smaller market. I think she did herself a disfavor by doing this. It’s just my opinion, but I would have let my 11 year old read Bewitching Season and would have been more than a little shocked if when he/she started Betraying Season and put the book down to ask me: “Mom, what’s a virgin?” Talk about a derailment there… [END SPOILER]

I was still engaged with Betraying Season, but I was not as riveted as I was with Bewitching Season. However, I feel that Marissa Doyle is a strong author and will continue to write some good YA fantasy. I liked Betraying Season well enough and I will definitely read more of Marissa Doyle, but in comparison with the Cinderella book Bewitching Season, Betraying Season was simply a moderately good-looking stepsister.

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsJulie Waineo, one of our earliest guest reviewers, earned an MBA at Bowling Green State University. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies with a minor in French. Now living in Virginia with her husband and dog, Julie is an avid reader of not only fantasy, but historical fiction, the occasional “chick lit,” and children’s literature.

The Leland Sisters — (2008-2013) Young adult. Publisher: In 1837 London, young daughters of viscounts pined for handsome, titled husbands, not careers. And certainly not careers in magic. At least, most of them didn’t. Shy, studious Persephone Leland would far rather devote herself to her secret magic studies than enter society and look for a suitable husband. But right as the inevitable season for “coming out” is about to begin, Persy and her twin sister discover that their governess in magic has been kidnapped as part of a plot to gain control of the soon-to-be Queen Victoria. Racing through Mayfair ballrooms and royal palaces, the sisters overcome bad millinery, shady royal spinsters, and a mysterious Irish wizard. And along the way, Persy learns that husband hunting isn’t such an odious task after all, if you can find the right quarry.

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