fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsbook review Andre Norton Rosemary Edghill Carolus Rex Leopard in ExileLeopard in Exile by Andre Norton & Rosemary Edghill

Is it a bad sign that I just finished Leopard in Exile the night before last, and now I’m hard-pressed to remember much of the plot?

This book’s predecessor, Shadow of Albion, was fun in a light sort of way, with the promise of sequels that would delve deeper into the faery magic at which it hints. I should have gotten my first clue about Leopard in Exile when I looked at the cover art. Thomas Canty’s drawings are lovely as always, but this illustration looks like it’s supposed to be a rough preliminary sketch, compared to the sublime cover of Albion. Even the typefaces are clunkier. But I tried not to judge the book by its cover.

Inside, though, I found little of interest. I had hoped that the characters, who were kind of cardboard in Albion, would get fleshed out now that we’re getting to know them better. Nope, still cardboard. It’s even worse in this one because people are going around moping about how much they love their husband/wife and yet the relationship has not been developed in the story. Why do they love each other? Because the authors say so, I guess.

And to add more frustration, the authors seem to be under the impression that a good plot can be obtained simply by continually landing the characters in danger. (It reminds me of a 70s bodice-ripper I read years ago, in which the heroine got raped, then shipwrecked on a tropical island, THEN kidnapped by pirates, THEN trapped in an opium den… You get the idea.) Dropping the characters into one problem after another works pretty well if we KNOW the characters and CARE what happens to them, but since they’re still 2-D, the constant action keeps us from learning any more about them. It’s just crisis after crisis after crisis, and seldom a conversation.

Not to mention, the magic doesn’t get explained! Sarah went to the New World to fulfill a promise to the Fair Folk, but then they were absent for the first nine-tenths of the book, then showed up just long enough to give Sarah some vague aid against the villain, then disappeared again, without any explanation.

I know both Andre Norton and Rosemary Edghill are capable of better books than Leopard in Exile. Let’s hope they remember that.

Carolus Rex — (1999-2001) Andre Norton and Rosemary Edghill. Publisher: Young Sarah Cunningham is ripped from the present day and thrust into a volatile alternative Europe of 1805 where King Henry IX rules over the English Empire, America has no revolution, and Napoleon Bonaparte marches unchecked across Europe.

Carolus Rex Andre Norton Rosemary Edhill review 1. The Shadow of Albion 2. Leopard in ExileCarolus Rex Andre Norton Rosemary Edhill review 1. The Shadow of Albion 2. Leopard in Exile


  • Kelly Lasiter

    KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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