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Keturah and Lord Death (2006)

de Martine Leavitt

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8076720,238 (3.97)39
When Lord Death comes to claim sixteen-year-old Keturah while she is lost in the King's Forest, she charms him with her story and is granted a twenty-four hour reprieve in which to seek her one true love.

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Es mostren 1-5 de 67 (següent | mostra-les totes)
I really loved this book when I first read it, because it was so unexpected and interesting. I don't know what I think about it on the second read through... I might just have to read it again to see. ( )
  Fireformed | Aug 7, 2020 |
A spectacular book. The synopsis doesn't do the book credit. A girl discovers her special powers after she meets Death, who is in love with her. A Middle Ages Scheherazade (boy, that is hard to spell), she charms Death into sparing her loved ones, but ends up returning his affections. What is exceptional about this is the Voice -- sure, lyrical, funny, perceptive, utterly winning. I think kids would adore Keturah -- I did. And Leavitt's ability to evoke scene and place and emotion is astonishing. A great read. ( )
  MaximusStripus | Jul 7, 2020 |
Gosh, I'm disappointed. I clearly do not see what others see in this. I got it because of the great reviews, the historical setting, the plot seemed intriguing, and was a finalist for an award. I have to admit, I'm completely mystified over the praise and accolades for this book.

This is one of those times where I think I have nothing to say about a book so I wasn't planning a review, then I go to mark the outcome on GoodReads and suddenly I'm like ACTUALLYIHAVEALOTTOSAY.

Maybe the people who liked it were able to read to the end, and, while it may have been an amazing ending, I could not trudge through the rest to get there. After three months of trying to read this, I've given up at about 1/3 in and have no intention of trying it again later.

I got bored.



Also annoyed.

This premise was so promising, and the first couple chapters were fine. But dear LORD after that it just draaaaaags. Mainly with endless, looping, inane conversations between Keturah and her friends about who they should marry and or why they wouldn't marry a particular person.

I think this exploration could have been fascinating, poetic, and enlightening, if it had been handled a little differently and if it didn't seem to happen every 5 pages. This topic is basically the only thing the trio talked about any time they were together. It began to feel like in The Mists of Avalon where every 20 pages the story is paused for another 5 pages of pointless, circular arguments (in this case, over religious beliefs).

I'm all for romance and true love and stuff, but it rubbed me raw after a while. I think it was meant to show their innocence and gaiety and how wonderful love can be in that kind of undiluted form where the cynicism of reality hasn't crept in yet, but it morphed into pathetic, naive, and almost cruel as they repeatedly and ruthlessly dissected every available man.

I get it, young girls dream about love and marriage and weddings, but this was over the top. No man or the love they might find with a man would be able to live up to their expectations and the traits they valued about a man were superficial and meaningless.

All their happiness was wrapped up in the idea of marriage, except for one friend who seemed to insist she doesn't want to be married, but her reasons were not convincing (like the author thought she needed one girl who didn't want to get married, but couldn't fathom someone actually feeling that way and therefore couldn't come up with any plausible reasons for why a girl wouldn't want to be married), which made these sections painful. I had to stop from rolling my eyes every time I encountered one.

And, while I do realize this meant to take place in a time when marriage would have realistically been their only option at their age so their focus on this could "make sense," I know enough about Medieval history to know that if we want to be historically accurate here, girls in this situation likely would have had no choice in who they married (or in getting married at all—sorry gal who doesn't want to be married), nor would they have these overly romanticized concepts about marriage and love. Chances are it would have been an arranged marriage of convenience (marriage for love wasn't overly common back then and likely out of reach for people of their social stature to boot) and they would basically be treated like property, not a person.

You know, come to think of it, I'm not even sure why this book was placed in Medieval times, aside from perhaps marketing reasons (I say this because the setting and historical aspect was a lot of why I decided to get this). I actually think a contemporary version of this would have worked better and afforded a more appropriate setting for exploring these ideas.

What I am saying is: Keturah is touted as wise, progressive, kind-hearted, and unselfish, yet the ideals Keturah has and the actions she takes are anything but. So, it just doesn't mesh for me and eventually I grew to not like her. There is a difference between wondering about who you might fall in love with and discussing boys with your friends, and pinning all of your hopes and dreams on flawed ideas of this concept. Eventually, I wasn't happy with the impression this might leave on modern girls reading this, as in my opinion it perpetuates all the wrong ideas of love, very similarly to The Giving Tree and Love You Forever.

This was brought home more when the charm Keturah gets from Soor Lily basically looks at men on her behalf to indicate to Keturah when her true love is near so she can pursue them. I just... WHAT?? For one thing, that seems pretty error-prone, unless you are alone with one man when the eyeball indicates he's Mr. Right. For another, why bother with all that gossiping and wondering if you're just going to allow a disembodied eyeball to tell you who you "should" marry? (In a way, I guess Keturah was going to have an arranged marriage... by an eyeball!) I mean, if she HAS such freedom in choosing who to marry (especially in that day and age), why is she letting the decision be made for her and why would she ever think that would lead to happiness and true love?? I just.don'

Where Keturah's actions are concerned, the two that annoyed me most were:

1. She procrastinates doing the most important task, which is to warn the village head about the plague before nightfall the next evening because she could die and then no now will ever know about the threat. Instead, she roams around the village wasting time by gossiping with her friends, running errands for her own interests, doing errands (I think these are meant to be seen as meaningful "quests"?), and wandering around with her new pet eyeball.

2. She stupidly bargains for and accepts a magic charm from Soor Lily (because that is going to end well /sarcasm), but, beyond that, the price Soor Lily asks of Keturah is for Keturah to get Lord Death to let Soor Lily's deathly ill son live. Keturah doesn't think to ask Soor Lily what the consequence will be if she can’t convince Lord Death to do this. Which to me seems like a pretty important point, especially since Soor Lily is known to be a clever, wily, subversive kind of gal and she for some reason let Keturah have the charm without any guarantee her price will be paid. Suspicious! (I sort of wanted to read more to learn how the grotesque eyeball dowsing rod situation is worked out, but I just can't.)

I even thought Lord Death was a one-dimensional idiot, honestly. He wasn't interesting, he wasn't smart, he wasn't dashing, he wasn't dark and brooding or mysterious. He felt more like a teenaged boy playing the part of Lord Death in a poorly acted play.

All that said, there are some good things. I thought the writing was well done, some of the descriptions of the village were atmospheric, and there was some enjoyable wording that I highlighted:

“He leaned back as if to pull himself out of the web of the story.”

“God had probably feared to make her any other way.”

“Finally she sat at the table beside me and looked at me as if she were hungry and my eyeballs were just what she had been craving.”

“Death is uglifying.”

Strangely, this made it all the more frustrating for me because there were glimpses of what this could have been and it was very readable in general. So often I have to dnf books because the writing so badly done that it's basically unreadable. In this case, the writing was enjoyable; it was everything else that didn't work for me.

I didn't care whether Keturah finds her love, who that true love is (Lord Death or not), whether she learns any important lessons, saves the village from plague, doesn't have any terrifying price to pay for the love-seeking eyeball if she can't save Soor Lily's son, or dies without finding her love after all. ( )
1 vota wordcauldron | Jan 17, 2020 |
The praise and accolades bestowed on this book were lost on me.

Set in an unspecified medieval age, Keturah is a simple village girl who meets Death in the woods. He plans to take her that night, but she bargains with him that if he will let her live one more day, she will tell him a story.

In the days she lives on, she keeps rearranging her bargain with Death each time she sees him, bargaining again and again for one more day. Keturah has the village wise woman give her a charm to let her know when she meets her one true love. Also, the king is coming soon to the village, and the local lord decrees a fair to be held for the king, for which the whole town must prepare. And there is also the black plague running rampant over the country, from which Keturah plans to save her village by further bargaining with death.

The greatest problem was the voice of the narrator. The tale is told in first person, from Keturah, but her language is highly stilted and formal at all times. Everything she relays as being said by anyone in the village is spoken in this same dry, emotionless voice. Not only the secondary characters, but even the narrator herself comes across as an impersonal and inhuman being, completely void of personality. As such, I didn't have any emotional involvement in the book. I didn't care what happened to Keturah or anyone else.

No doubt the book is filled with themes and symbolism by the bucket-load, but without caring about the characters, it was a wasted effort. ( )
1 vota fingerpost | Nov 5, 2019 |
The writing is lovely, but the story never gelled for me and Keturah is rather dislikable. ( )
1 vota miri12 | May 31, 2019 |
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When Lord Death comes to claim sixteen-year-old Keturah while she is lost in the King's Forest, she charms him with her story and is granted a twenty-four hour reprieve in which to seek her one true love.

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Mitjana: (3.97)
1 3
1.5 1
2 12
2.5 1
3 48
3.5 22
4 108
4.5 16
5 79

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