The Sultan, the Vampyr and the Soothsayer

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Author: Lucille Turner

Publisher: Hengist Press

Published: 19 November 2016

Rating: 2 stars

 

This is a review I have been putting off for a while. I’ve had too many thoughts about it and needed time to reflect on them. Ultimately I was disappointed in this book, which is a shame since I thought it would become a favourite of mine.

Just a warning this review may contain mild spoilers – even though it’s based on history I thought I’d mention that.

Turner has a beautiful writing style. It’s visceral and I certainly felt like I was sucked into the 15th century
Ottoman Empire. I can’t fault her writing style.

But…

There was too many point of view characters – from memory, I can recall 8. Because of the huge number of POVs, there were way too many storylines for a standalone. It’s like Turner is using these to try and capture the whole political and religious landscape of the 1400s Eastern Europe. I think there are ways to show this without having so many characters with their own story line. If these changes are important, they will be affecting Vlad. His own country is caught between the Christian church and the Islamic Ottomans.

Most of the book focuses on Vlad’s childhood as the Ottomans, in hopes of keeping his father loyal to the Sultan, take him. Which is awesome to see this backstory. But of a nearly 500-page book, less than 200 pages show Vlad ruling Wallachia or his rivalry with new Sultan Mehmet II. This wouldn’t have be an issue if this was the first in a series but as far as I know, it’s a standalone.

There isn’t much action for a book focused on warring countries. A large portion of the book is spent planning the fall of Constantinople, however, we don’t get the see the fall of the city but instead are given the prelude and aftermath.

Also, there is no impaling, which I could kind of get if this is an origin story. However, when the main character is known as Vlad the Impaler you’re expecting it. Even if this was an origin story, the number of POVs makes Vlad’s character get a little lost – we don’t really get to see the effect all the political planning and scheming has on him.

This isn’t a book I would recommend unless you are aware that it’s not focused on Prince Vlad Dracula of Wallachia and how he become Vlad the Impaler.

 

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