Monday, March 28, 2011

The Pale Assassin by Patricia Elliott

Eugenie and her brother Armand are orphans in Paris, cared for by a guardian who is nothing like a father.  Their lives are safe - until the Revolution breaks out in full swing.  Aristocrats are killed every day in the streets.  Eugenie has done nothing to instigate such hatred, and continues to live life glamorously.  But when she and her brother are put in danger, she must reassess her way of life in order to protect herself and get out of France as fast as she can.


My thoughts -

Oh, dear.  I hate writing conflicted reviews about conflicted books.  WHY does it have to be confusing?  WHY are certain parts appealing and others not?  WHY does part of me like this book and the other part dislike it?

These things I don't know if I'll ever know, so I will try my best to relay my feelings in a rational and understandable way.

The side of me that doesn't like this book says...  Ok.  Bad character development.  What's with that?  Armand, Eugenie, Julien, Guy, La Fantom...  All had a major character flaw - inconsistency.  One moment, Armand would act one way, and the next he would act another.  It wasn't all the time, but you could tell the author didn't have a strong "relationship" with her characters.  Julien and Eugenie were the strongest, and they still lacked character until the middle of the story.  Belle was the most lively, but she didn't have a huge part.  On top of that, I see the writing as a glass half empty.  Good, but bland.  A bit forced.  And the story - it lacked.  There were scenes I didn't even have to read, and I would have been fine.  And then all of a sudden at the very end  - BAM! - there's a love story.  Sheesh.

However, there is my other side, who says this about the book...  Yes, bad character development is disappointing, but I did end up liking and respecting Eugenie and Julien half-way through.  I also look at the writing as good - a glass half full.  The action scenes held a lot of substance and I felt transported.  I also LOVELOVELOVE the French Revolution, so that made the read easier and more enjoyable.  And the love story - who cares if it was sudden?!  I realized when it happened that that's what I'd wanted to happen the whole time.  It should have developed slower and the characters should have shown more realization before they spoke about it to each other, but it was still a wonderful way to end the book...

Favorite Character -

Julien and Eugenie tie for first.  They were both likable after I got past the beginning and they held more substance once the story really got rolling.
Favorite Aspect -

The small romance at the end and the era this story revolves around (French Revolution).

One word to sum up this book (final thoughts) -

Conflicted. With a heavy sigh I write that word, wishing it could be different.  I just can't make up my mind about it.  I liked it, but no, I didn't.  At least I know I didn't hate it.  I would never recommend it unless you were just DYING to read something and you'd already read all the books I was recommending.  Or if you're a French Revolution freak, like me.  There are supposed to be two more books after this one.  I don't think I'll read them unless they just fall into my hands.  Otherwise, I'm not going to look for them.  It's a shame, because I think Patricia Elliott has potential, and I want the story to pick up and interest me.  I want her to WOW her readers - I just hope she'll have another chance.


  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! It's never easy to write a conflicting review. But you did it well, in my opinion! I've seen The Pale Assassin once before, and was curious. After reading your review I think, if I came across this book for an really good deal, I would get it and see how I liked it for myself. I, too, like the French Revolution, so that's something that automatically draws me to the book. :-)

  2. I'd definitely say pick it up - try it out!  You may end up loving it!!  :)