O Décimo Terceiro Poder by Madalena Santos

Rating: *** (3 out of 5)

Review: I decided to read this book not only because the author is a dear friend of mine, but also because this series has been causing quite a buzz among the younger readers in my country. So far, this book is only available in Portuguese.

Ne­ferlöen is the teenage adoptive daughter of the King of Levionda, one of the twelve (bordering on thirteen) kingdoms that make up the Lands of Corza. The book follows her life as she challenges her place in society and, through a series of special events, ascends to a post of power usually only reserved to men. This is not without its difficulties, however, since she is still very young and must fight against prejudice and those who are jealous of her considerable gifts. Her country is involved in a bloody war against a mysterious opponent, and she swears to dedicate her life to ending the conflict.

The characters were easily the strongest point in this novel. Even when they were acting in ways that would be unthinkable, they made sense within the stories’ parameters and society. The plot was also good, albeit a bit predictable at times. However, this book was written when Madalena was fifteen years-old, and it shows. Even if she demonstrated, even at that age, a good ability to weave a plot and develop characters and settings, her writing betrays her young age. It gets better as the story progresses, which makes me think the other books in the series will probably be better, though. Still, it made getting into the story a bit difficult, at first.

Also, I have to mention one thing that has nothing to do with book per se: the blurb in the back cover is terrible (at least on the edition I read). It actually says how the book will end! Why someone would do this is beyond me.

This is still a great book and I enjoyed reading it. I don’t exactly agree with the fact that everyone classifies this as Fantasy, since there aren’t any elements usually associated with it – it’s more like Historical Fiction, set in a different world. I recommend it to people who are usually afraid of reading Portuguese books from young authors. 🙂


3 thoughts on “O Décimo Terceiro Poder by Madalena Santos

  1. Ana C. Nunes says:

    I classified it as fantasy because it takes place in a different world from our own. Historical fiction, in my way of seeing it, sould need to take place on “Earth”. But I egree when you say it doesn’t have the usaual fantasy elements. I guess it’s jmjust a “label” and it doesn’t really have any deep meaning.

    IBut at least you liked it somewhat. 🙂
    And clearly, Mdalena is by far the best young fantasy writer in our country (from the Tolkien age of influence, early 2000). At least as far I can tell from that time. I’ve read a few, and mostly were horrible. At leats hers is good.

    • Hmm, I guess Historical Fiction isn’t ideal either… Guess it’s a book that defies classification, which is good.

      Yeah, I agree she’s the best. I haven’t read that many but that was mainly because everyone kept telling me of other people and how bad they were. So far I haven’t met anyone who didn’t like Madalena’s books!

  2. […] Texto originalmente publicado no Sleepless Bookworm. […]

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