So I just finished The Serpent’s Tale by Ariana Franklin. I’ve read her first book featuring Adelia Aguilar in Mistress in the Art of Death and really enjoyed that one. The Serpent’s Tale however just wasn’t as good in my eyes. There were two cases to solve and I was trying to see if they were related somehow and was trying to figure it out – which probably got me frustrated and made me not enjoy the book as I should have. Anyhow, as usual my guesses were wrong (I’m not that good at playing detective in mystery novels) and I was blindsided as who were the culprits. There were a few parts in the book that made me laugh – Glytha seems to be such a total character in this one. King Henry I find very likable, he seems to ooze charm yet is maddeningly difficult when Adelia wants to have her own way and yet can’t because he’s King and his word is law. What I liked the most out of this book was how Adelia seems to analyze the treatment of women in middle age England. It’s a strange culture shock to her as she was raised and treated differently in Salerno. It comes to the point where she is so frustrated with the entire social system and you can’t blame her for feeling this way. She can’t even practice medicine openly for fear of being fingered as a witch. Yet in this story there seems to be a small analysis on all the women characters in the novel. Adelia, who can’t do what she wants in this strange land she’s in, Glytha who has a larger amount of freedom but is still considered a second class citizen because she’s a woman, Queen Eleanor who does act like a Queen but even her word doesn’t get obeyed all the time however has managed to become an icon for women (in some ways), Mother Edyve who bends the rules against a patriarchal church and Emma who suffers the most out of all of them (won’t say, it’s a spoiler) 🙂 I just thought it was interesting that these women were all shown in a different perspective and light throughout the novel but the underlying point was, they were women and therefore in that society nothing much but just flesh to carry children and do housework.
All in all, a good book not as good as the first one but the ending was great! you get the thrill of a bad guy getting his due. It felt good reading it too. I would read the first one though, as some of the information in this one has background information found in the first. I’ll be looking forward to the third one!(6 out of 10 for The Serpent’s Tale)