WIR #4: The Black Queen

Black QueenRusch, Kristine Kathryn. The Black Queen: Book One of Black Throne. New York: Bantam Books. Copyright © 1999, by Kristine K. Rusch.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch's web site:

I finished reading The Black Queen this morning. Good book. I liked that Rusch tied up the major plot line for this story, but left open the plot line that leads into the sequel. It makes this novel feel like it's got an ending, even though there is a second book to follow. Put differently, it doesn't have a cliffhanger ending, and I like that. Well, it does and it doesn't, if you see my meaning.

My only real complaint about this book has to do with the mother of two characters named Matt and Alex. Rusch gave her an accent that sounds far too Scottish for my liking. I dinna do this and I dinna do that and such. Isaac Asimov did this with a character in his Foundation novels, — in the second book, I believe — only that character had a distinctly Southern accent, like he came from Georgia. (And I'm to believe that this accent still exists in AD 12,000? Uh, no. Doesn't work for me, sorry.) Although I've read Asimov's books several times since I first discovered them in the late 70s, I've never been able to decipher several lines of dialogue attributed to that particular character and I now tend to skip them any time that I reread them. (One of Elmore Leonard's rules: leave out the parts that readers skip.) Phonetic rendering of speech is something I've come to loathe. I could understand Rusch's character, but it annoyed me that she sounded Scottish. I mean, really. Scottish? In a fantasy world in which Scots don't exist? No. I don't think so. Fortunately, this character had a minor role in this book, so it wasn't as much of a bother as I've probably made it sound.

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