The Kings and Queens of Roam

The Kings and Queens of Roam

Book - 2013
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When their parents die an untimely death, a blind, naïve younger sister becomes wholly dependent on her bitter and conniving older sister, who overprotectively imparts stories of a brutal and dangerous world until the younger sister makes a surprising choice.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2013.
Edition: 1st Touchstone hardcover ed.
ISBN: 9781476703978
1476703973
Branch Call Number: WALLACE D
Characteristics: 277 p. ; 22 cm.
Alternative Title: Kings and queens of Rome

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AnnyBear
May 01, 2017

The idea that ugly appearance leads to evil character... bothers me quite a bit, especially when the older sister is the mean one as in most other such situations, (because I am namely an eldest daughter). It is also largely stereotypical, if not racist.

mrsgail5756 Dec 08, 2013

The book was okay – but not one of my favorites.

mvkramer Aug 17, 2013

This book showcases a lot of the problems I have with magical realism as a genre, in that the plot and characters are completely secondary to the mood and atmosphere that the author is trying to create. A good example of the almost complete irrelevance of characters in this book was the Chinese element of the story. Several characters are Chinese-Americans, but this adds absolutely nothing to the story. Seriously, they could have been replaced by characters of any ethnicity and it still would have been exactly the same.

The plot of the book weaves past and present together to try to make the connection between Elijah McAllister's past sins and the sad story of Helen and Rachel -- his descendants -- but I honestly don't see any cause and effect relationship. Shouldn't a curse resonate with the crime that cased it? For a book that actually works past events into present plots very well, I'd recommend Holes by Louis Sachar, which is actually very tightly constructed. Here, the past just...hangs around pointlessly like the many, equally pointless ghosts that hang out in Roam. Yes, there are ghosts. No it's not important. The ending, while predictable, felt very rushed to me and unsatisfying, like the author was trying to tie up events and wasn't sure how to do it.

Read these instead:
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Pedro Paramo
House of the Spirits

Or, listen to some Decemberists albums.

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mvkramer Aug 17, 2013

Roam is a dying town in the middle of a dense forest, blighted by the crimes of its founder. In this town live two orphaned sisters -- Helen, who is tragically ugly, and Rachel, beautiful but blind. Out of bitterness, Helen begins to lie to Rachel about everything, the town, the forest and even about her own face. Eventually, Rachel makes a decision that Helen doesn't expect and their twisted relationship finally snaps.

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