Review: The White Stag by Linden Flynn

the white stagThe White Stag by Linden Flynn

Series: A Knight’s Game #1

Published on August 29th 2013

Pages: 264

Format: Ebook

Source: Provided by the author as part of the RaR Program at the Teen Critic group on Goodreads

Rating: 3 stars

Short summary from Goodreads:

Win and become the King. Lose your armor, lose your life. A kingdom in chaos, and countless men dead. When Cypress emerges from her village in the forest to seek her fate in the outside lands, she doesn’t bargain on becoming part of the realm’s politics with the Knight’s Game. Twelve men were chosen for the Game, each with his own symbol, and the last one standing becomes the next King. One man wears the sigil of the white stag, an unearthly being from Cypress’ own forest, that draws her into a world she never dreamed of. But when Cypress comes face to face with her spitting image, the father she never knew, she joins the Game to ensure his tyranny will not become law, all while hiding a secret that could get her killed – that she’s a woman.

My thoughts:

I had four major beefs with this book.

we have a beef

Sorry, I’m feeling gif/meme-y, so you’ll have to deal with my shenanigans for the rest of the review.

#1 Major Beef

I didn’t get enough description. I really couldn’t tell you what half the characters looked like or even how old they were by the end of the book. Some of the characters seemed to switch ages on me all the time. One minute they would seem like they were 10 and then POOF they’re 16 POOF they’re 40.

They were acting like they were 6 and then KABOOM (I got tired of POOF) forty year old vocal whiz in the room.

#2 Major Beef

Too little surprise. The plot was cliche at best. I could tell you (almost) how everything would end up in the end. It’s your typical I-want-to-write-a-knights-and-castles-book, action filled, unrealistic plot. It was action-packed, almost to the point of being rushed, but the plot will hold your attention. You want to find out what will happen (even though you think you know), but once you’re finished, you realize that it really wasn’t that fantastic. Nothing exceptional, but it wasn’t AWFUL.

#3 Major Beef

Unnecessary/Premature deaths that weren’t well enough explained. People murdered/maimed/poked eyes out left and right with no consequences, no moral strain, no emotion. Cypress was almost Spock when she turned into a ninja assassin and started killing the “bad” guys. Plus, fun, FANTASTIC characters that I actually liked got the ax without a second thought. We didn’t even get to be with them for more than a hundred pages before they hit the dirt, went six feet under, kicked the bucket. No. Just no.


#4 Major Beef

Too much feminism. I know that we all like a dash of girls-can-do-anything with our YA, but I hate for the amount of feminism in a novel to hit me over the head with a sledgehammer. To be honest, I found it a bit unrealistic. Most of the men that Cypress comes into contact with believe from the start that she would be a great king or at least get to that opinion within about, 50 pages or so. The rest are evil monsters.

Cypress repeatedly criticizes people for wanting to save her from harm because “she’s a girl” when, in actuality, she needs saving and they’re trying to do what’s best for her. So, a touch of girl power is fantastic, but when it starts to overwhelm the plot and jumps up and down, screaming to get you to notice, it gets to be too much for me.

Even with my major beefs, I really didn’t hate The White Stag. Sure it was a bit cliche, but the writing wasn’t that bad. Some of the characters were very well done such as Hazel and maybe Rowan (I’m still deciding). Hazel was by far my favorite character in the book, mainly because she was the only one with much common sense. She doesn’t end up too well in the end because of Cypress and I may or may not have started making angry faces at her for hurting my poor little Hazel.

I started to get the sense of a romance coming up at the end of the book, but I couldn’t tell if it was actual “twoo wuv” or if it was just two good friends hugging a lot and going out to look at the stars together. Either way, it made me giggly and happy. I have a feeling that it will be developed more in the next book, which might be one of the only reasons why I would decide to read it.

So, in the end, I’m not even sure I would categorize this one as a YA book. It’s about teenagers, sure, but it reads like a middle grade novel and I think that it might be best for a little younger of an audience. I would give it a resounding C+, certainly not awful, especially for a debut novel, but it does have a few problems that could be fixed. ~The Red Queen


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