The Snows of Cedar Falls (Free Preview)

Julia Rominar is born into a noble household on a snowy autumn day. Caught between the expectations of her parents and the queen, she must find out for herself who she really is. More
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Review by: Bob Black on Jan. 22, 2014 : (no rating)
I read random books of all types. I came across this one and discovered that I had to read it because of the synopsis. I thought to myself it might be an interesting preview. Of course I only had to get to the word ‘thatched’ to realized this was only going to be a suffocating experience. I have an aversion to words that aren’t needed and no one in my life time I can remember has ever used that word to describe anything, the writer is talking about a roof of a house, I think.

The story tells you a lot of stuff, details you’re never generally going to think about. The very beginning of the story tells you about the day. “Well it wasn’t cold in the morning, the middle of the day, but at the end of the day it was cold then.” Well that is what weather does in general, it tends to change. A big surprise there right? I didn’t quote verbatim how the story but my version is better. You can read it for yourself if you like though; in fact I encourage you to do it. Let’s move on, wait. Before we do I’d like to bring to your attention about the first paragraph. It’s about the seasons, the writer explains to us, basically, the seasons of the year. As if we don’t know how they generally work, I find it insulting to waste so much time in telling us something that all of us know and have known for ages. Alright now I am moving on, for real this time.

Now in this ‘book’ that is little more than a wall of text(I read the pdf version, by the way) We get to the horse. The horse that the writer feels the need to tell us what is going through its head. Green fields apparently, because I don’t really understand why. We are being told this for absolutely no reason at all. The reader doesn’t need to know more about the horse other than what it looks like. We are told it had a long day of running with the main character on it, I guess? I mean, so what? This horse doesn’t even seem to have a name. Maybe I missed it in the wall of text.

So we meet our lady character. And she is Kialan Rominar. Try saying that five times fast. The lady is pregnant, but in typical form of these novels (Short story?) goes she is two weeks from giving birth at least and is still horseriding and looking after the horses. Now I suspect if she was a regular class person this ‘Might’ be expected of her. But no, in this story she is a regular Mary Sue. And apparently the most popular woman in the five kingdoms with everyone watching her every move, really? Might as well call her Bella Swan and just get it over with because that is how it is sounding like to me. Also you ask how I got the two weeks’ time from birth, this is how.

Another two weeks of her back throbbing with a relentless ferocity. Another two weeks of everyone in the realm gossiping about whether the child would be a girl or a boy. Another two weeks of all the butlers hovering around her as though her pregnancy had turned her into a helpless creature, never mind that she was a member of the royal family, fifth in the line of succession for the throne.

Like a hammer to the skull the writer make the reader know, by telling you two weeks over and over again. It’s a waste of time and childish to repeat and tell you the same facts over and over again. In any kind of realistic setting a member of any royal family would not be allowed to be reckless enough to put the child in danger by doing dangerous things. Riding a horse this close to term would be pretty high on the dangerous and the ‘not smart’ list. The whole thing basically boils down to this. “Woman invincible, no matter the condition.” This is feminism at its worst, and a Mary Sue to be able to do these things without any kind of a risk and not to mention terribly selfish. What mother who cared at all for her child would put it at risk intentionally when they didn’t need to? A really bad one, it’s like doing crack while pregnant and not caring, this is a terrible character so far, and one we have no reason to care about. The average person can’t connect to any kind of royalty or their lifestyle no matter the time period, and by the way the time period isn’t really explained, but I am assuming it’s either far in the future, or the past with the mention of the ‘five nameless kingdoms’ we were told about earlier.

The royal princess or whatever she is supposed to be is apparently the most popular woman in all the five kingdoms, but at the same time the writer doesn’t seem to understand that making her, well, I’ll let you read for yourself.

‘Kialan did not allow herself to be deceived. People did not spy on her to gain a glimpse of her big, long nose or her short, dark hair, thinning as the years passed, or her large, bulging thighs or even her swollen feet that never fit into any shoe brought before her without causing her pain. They came to look at her belly so that they might get a sense of the child inside.’

We are told what she kind of looks like but the point remains the same. There is nothing special about this character besides the fact that she is pregnant with thinning hair and a long nose. So I guess I don’t quite understand what I am being told here, but what I see is a mess. The physical and very brief description doesn’t match up with the sense of self-importance we get earlier in the story. So was Kialan the one they kept locked in the dungeon out of shame because she wasn’t good to look at? I guess I don’t know exactly but the main point I get is that this Kialan is a mixture of “being completely spoiled with power yet wants to do everything herself.” It makes for a very poor character overall and she is basically told to us as if we were reading it out of a text book. The reader has no chance to learn this stuff on their own. This is a story for those who have limited imagination and like to be led by the hand as if they were a child.

Remember the two weeks rant earlier. The woman inspired by womanly power to be able to do anything a man could do despite being pregnant and part of the royal family and wanted to look after the horses and seemed invincible. The writer brings us to this. Read on.

‘The house had to be warm. Kialan already felt the first twinges of frustration come over her as she wondered why no wood had been brought in from any one of the twenty piles in the back yard. Kialan breathed heavily as she walked through one door, then another, then a hallway leading to the large fireplace on the east side of the house. No wood had been placed before it. No one had even opened the black swinging door to clean out any debris that might have gathered inside. Kialan forced herself to remember that summary execution of servants had been outlawed more than one hundred years ago. She reached out a hand to try and open the fireplace. Her swollen belly prevented her from bending down as much as she wanted.’

First of all, twenty piles of wood outside, in the snowy backyard. Snow covered wood makes for terrible firewood, and now, all of the sudden her pregnancy becomes a hindrance, where before horse riding wasn’t even a big deal moments ago? And to execute the servants, this is her thought process? This is much like when the villain of a story has options that only have two settings. “Fight with swords and blow up the world.” This royal family, if Kialan is any example is sounding much like a tyrannical set up more and more as we go on.

And just as a side note this family doesn’t have a castle, we are told that their ‘castle’ is much like what a wealthy merchant might have, a mansion on a hill that anyone with enough money could own. Again, nothing special here to be seen, and no one is shown anything. It is much like looking at the back of a cereal box and seeing the barn on the back of it for something to entertain a kid. Nothing is left to the imagination and the attempt at description is truly on a beginner’s scale.

A man shows up in her time of need and we learn that this Kialan is even more cruel, a perfect example of what being a spoiled rich kid does to you. The writer seems intent on making us believe her character is a monster. This man comes in with the fire wood and begins to make the fire when our pathetic excuse of a character who has no reason that we know of to be harsh…says this.

‘Kialan's eyes narrowed. “Abra, if the night is cold, I shall have the skin off your back as atrophy for the hunting room.” Abra bowed once again. Kialan felt herself displeased even further with the man.’

The skin off your back, what, did Kialan come back from a war, is she this spoiled? With words like that I am surprised Abra didn’t just stick a blade through her neck. You don’t keep servants by being cruel and sadistic. It makes you want to see the hunting room to see if any other poor servants are in there. Maybe one didn’t open the curtains fast enough or perhaps didn’t lay out Kialan’s clothes out in the morning. “Skinned and made into a trophy” is not how you keep the respect of servants.

Then we learn that Kialan is a man hater. Not entirely a big surprise, but she is pregnant and we don’t even know who the father is, as he is only mentioned once as ‘the husband’ earlier in the story. Otherwise we know nothing of him. You’d think he’d be around to at least protect the servants. If he is dead I missed it in this wall of text that is a story, details are easy to miss, I can’t stress this enough.

Then we get this little gem of a passage.

‘She did not want to see so many males in the house while she was pregnant. They would influence the pregnancy with their presence, she had no doubt. The spacious library lay half-empty. Kialan had acquired one thousand books, then stopped there. She had promised herself that she would not read another book until she read them all. As a result, some of the shelves lay empty. One thick book, a history of the Five Kingdoms, lay on a mahogany table. A yellow book mark with a white tassel at the end protruded from the middle of the book. Kialan sat down. She opened the book to the point at which she had left off.’

First off, is she superstitious? How can males influence a pregnancy just by being in the house? I get this is the middle ages and it might make sense until the second part of this gem. The Library with exactly one thousand books, and then stopped there. You’d think one of these books would explain that pregnancy really isn’t affected by males being in a house, you know? I mean, who told her that. Why does she believe that? It makes no sense but this is what we are told.

Secondly the book she is reading. History of the Five Kingdoms. You’d think a member of the royal family would have some grasp of the world she lived in. If she was a commoner it might be understandable but part of the Royal Family and to be so clueless on her surroundings, it’s nearly unforgivable because knowledge is power and one should not need such a book. Then again Kialan seems bloodthirsty and sadistic so maybe the history of the five kingdoms is filled with soothing violence that calms her down in some way, but we never find out because the writer soon lies to us, as we discover.

The birth progress begins and Kialan instantly tells us, well the writer tells us what the character is going through and obviously this writer has never actually done any research on what the process is actually like. The details are short, boring and predictable. Kialan, though goes back into man hate mode and decides that the only one who can help her through this is the servant they hired two weeks ago, a girl no less. You’d expect a member of the royal family to be under constant watch being this close, and thing always being ready but apparently this isn’t the case. The whole mansion as it is seems rather deserted and empty.

She trusts no man, and her husband, it’s revealed that he is magically away on the queen’s yearly hunting trips. What man would be that far away from the coming birth of his child if he could help it? Seems like a silly plot device to me, unrealistic and unfortunately expected in a poorly written story like this. And queen, queen of what, exactly we don’t know. Once other royal figures are mentioned without titles people get confused rather quickly. Is it Kialan’s mother or the queen of some other kingdom, we have four nameless ones to choose from after all, but we are never told or shown about any of them.

Princess Manhater and her two week servant, who she would rather trust(But who would blame her after the way she treated the poor guy earlier, skin as a trophy, yikes!) than Abra who is in the all-important task of getting wood for the fire. By the way there only seems to be three servants in the whole place, named anyway. Prepare for the birth of the new kid. Nola, the two week servant is only fifteen years old, yet due to the ‘falling snow’ outside a midwife couldn’t be summoned although you’d think it being the royal family there would be one living in the house at all times this late in the stage of things, they obviously have the money for servants, I guess being prepared isn’t in the Royal family’s plan book and honestly they don’t seem to have much of a plan at all. We are told there are butlers and servants, people everywhere but we never see anyone. This is a bleak world in desperate need of attention.

The birth process is basically described as ‘intense and painful’ but really this is all the writer tells us of it, it’s obvious that this writer knows very little about the reality of birth and it shows in the second chapter. It is also revealed that Kialan has done this twice before but ‘doesn’t really remember it being this intense.’ I am a guy but I can pretty much assume this is something you really don’t forget, ever. So the writer seems to be fumbling through the whole thing, and it all moves incredibly fast. As it is told to us, also it is told to us that Kialan is coherent enough to give the incredibly young servant step by step instructions on what to do. We never hear what those instructions are, we are just told she does this and the whole thing predictably goes flawlessly.

Kialan’s manhating goes into overdrive however when Nora tells Kialan(Princess manhater) that her child is a boy. We get this. This is quoted directly from the preview word for word.

Kialan's brow darkened. She frowned. She thought at once of throwing the baby down upon the floor, dashing its head open until its brains spilled out. Then, after she found herself gripping the child tight, she let go. The baby continued wailing. Kialan inspected the baby, finding evidence of the child's masculinity. Kialan said, “This is not a boy. This is a girl. I name her Julia Samantha Rominar, after my grandmother. She will lead this household one day, as soon as I correct her birth defect.”

So the princess is insane, too. This writer has told us many things but shown us practically nothing that would amount to such a disaster of a personality. Nora understandably gets the hell out of dodge as the insane mother begins show her true colors, but then if we were paying attention to anything the best we could we already knew that she was a spoiled little brat who always wanted things done her way and apparently wanted a daughter than a son. Talk about being eternally unhappy with life.

I believe this story is written by a man pretending to be a woman and the end of this preview is just a glimpse into their mental psychosis of their condition of being a transgendered individual, and this story is a weak attempt to live out their fantasy in a very sadistic way. It’s little more than weakly disguised torture porn that it is; so far anyway it is entirely pointless, a wasted message of how useless men are. If you don’t believe me read the last line available to this story.

However now I kind of want to read the rest of this train wreck to see just how far the madness will go. It’s said to be released this month but we will see how committed the so called author of this wall of non-descript text really is to telling us all about her world and showing us nothing at all, if the trend continues as I have seen it thus far.
(review of free book)
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