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The White Pavilion - Review

About this book:

Five hundred years ago, Old Earth was facing certain destruction. In the country we know as Spain, a Clockmaker was visited by an Oracle, who told her that a new world must be created.

La Relojero, the Clockmaker, thus fashioned Tierra Mejor, a world governed by clockwork. Along with Seven Companions, she left the dying Earth behind.

But now, an illness is spreading across their world. Machines are failing, crops are diseased, and the Green-bands, led by a man known only as la Rebelde, the Rebel, are spreading discord.

Every year, the Daughters of the Pavilion dance to honour the myth is being performed by the Daughters of the Pavilion. Imre has been chosen to play the part of la Grulla. It is her task is to honour the Pattern by placing a white feather into the hand of a statue of la Oracula, the Oracle. At the last moment, she stumbles.

The Pattern has been disrupted, and Imre’s future is now in jeopardy. The Prince Regent, Thaniel, insists that she is brought to the Citadel. The Prince is young, easily distracted, and determined to bury his insecurities under a screen of drugs. Senor Grath, the Prince’s Advisor, is the effective governor. He dislikes Imre immensely - she is everything he despises. Then there is La Boca, leader of the mysterious Brotherhood, whose sinister plans seem to involve disposing of the Prince - and Imre is in his way.

Thrown from her old life into a world of politics and intrigue, lust and greed, tradition and romance, Imre must confront the Brotherhood and save her people. She will have to fight to ensure the final part of la Relojero’s plan is completed - and that the children of the Seven Companions can return home to Old Earth.

About the author:

Ruth has been an avid reader her entire life and, inspired by the books that engrossed her as she was growing up, she aims to create stories that can draw readers in and enthral them for days or weeks. She writes every day and lives in Ballarat, Victoria, with her husband, her cat, and an ever-expanding library of books.

Ruth completed a Bachelor of Arts/Diploma of Arts in Professional Writing and Editing in 2006. She has worked as an editor as well as an illustrator. She often illustrates her own work and hopes to publish many more books in the future.

Visit her website for more information.

Jenn's Review:

I think that this is possibly the most challenging review I've ever written. The White Pavillion made me reach, as a reader; think differently, as a writer; and persevere, as a reviewer.

Ms. Fox's work in White Pavillion is very different from what I normally chose to read. However, as Sam was dying to get her hands on this particular title, and we weren't entirely sure of the book's rating, I chose to push on.

I would not consider this a fast paced read. In fact, it rambles rather slowly until the climax, at which point it speeds up considerably. The setting was also unusual - while I could easily picture the place, I struggled to wrap my head around the sense of time. While I can easily accept other forms of telling time in created, fictional worlds, this book left me stumped in a number of places - Had Imre been held for what would amount to days? Weeks? Months? 

In terms of the "steampunk" element of this story, Ms. Fox takes the prize for world-building. Her creativity in building the world her characters inhabit excels, and while some elements are strange to our mundane world, she has managed to create an element of realism that is hard to find.

I mentioned earlier that the story was slow. Honestly, I don't normally feel that I am dragging myself through the pages of a read, but this one felt supremely slow. However, that said... Patience is the reward in this novel. Without giving away spoilers, the plot twists near the end of the story blindsided me, while many of the plot twists earlier in the story were expected. 

As a parent, pre-reading this book for a 12 year old who frequently reads YA Fiction, this is not a book for younger teens. Imre is, after all, the equivalent of a high-class prostitute in training (in context, this isn't as odd as you might think), and she is, first and foremost, a sensual being, a Dancer, an escort. She finds lust and love along her journey in this story, in the arms of both men and women, and the scenes are not "behind the bedroom door". They are described, elegantly, but not subtly.

In the final tally, The White Pavilion was a worthy read. Reviews are, of course, subjective, and what I have trouble with in one book, another reader might love (and vice versa). If you are a fan of science fiction, speculative fiction and steam punk, you might give this plot a whirl.

Buy the book:

This book is available through Amazon in Kindle format here. [Affiliate link]


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