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All art is unstable. It's meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author, There is no authorative active voice. There are only multiple readings. David Bowie, 1995

Monday, March 24, 2014


The Golden Apple by Michelle Diener  

Witches, kings with secrets, a princess with a hidden talent, dark magic, wild magic, evil sorcerers, giant cats--the list goes on and the telling of these happenings enrich every page.
Princess Kayla of Gaynor is placed by her father in a gilded chair atop a glass mountain. Whomever reaches her and 'plucks' the golden apple from her lap will have won her hand in marriage and become heir to the kingdom.
...'if [Kayla] had been clamped naked into the stocks she could not have felt more exposed, more vulnerable. more disrespected.'
The Princess however has not submitted to this indignity entirely. She has taken some matters into her own hands prior to this mortifying contest.
She makes further choices now. Her father wore gloves when he placed the apple into her lap with instructions not to touch the apple. Kayla decides otherwise!
She recognizes that what the contenders want is power. What she wants is not considered.
Rane is battling for his brother's life. He cannot count the cost to the Princess or himself. Jasper is holding his brother Soren captive. Jasper wants the apple in exchange for Soren's life.
But Dark sorcery is at work and Rane and the Princess Kayla are ensorcelled. They must enter the Great Forest and fulfill a task before they can be freed. A task fraught with dangers and uncertainty. The Great Forest is a place alive with wild magic--primeval and unpredictable. And yet these surroundings will force the discovery of a hidden talent within Kayla
I loved the cover design. The colours, the astounding purple tones of the dress, the way the golden colours of the apple clasped in the figure's hand focuses our attention. The line of the dress against the figure's back is entrancing. All are set against a forest background, portraying an atmosphere that is at once both gorgeous and mysterious.
I am drawn back to the cover, it's colours and this view of Kayla when I read Rane's thoughts as he walks behind her.
'Having her in front of him all day...he can see the delicate nape of her neck, a hint of the smoothness of her back, [this] aroused him far more than seeing any woman naked.'
We see Rane seeing Kayla, not just in the poetic imagery of Diener's words but through the visual imagery of Laura Morrigan's wonderfully appropriate cover.
I am enthralled by both.
A sparkling story loosely based on a Norwegian fairy tale, the Princess on the Glass Hill. Diener once more demonstrates her storytelling talents with The Golden Apple.

A NetGalley ARC

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