Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Review: The Daughter of Siena by Marina Fiorato

Title: The Daughter of Siena
Author: Marina Fiorato
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Published: 2011
Pages: 416

Rating: 2 out of 10

What a disappointing, terribly written book. Earlier in the year, I read Fiorato's The Glassblower of Murano, which, though weakly written, was enjoyable due to its lovely setting of Venice. I was hoping that her second book would do the same for Siena, a city that I don't know nearly so much about.

Unfortunately, all that this book did was make me wish fervently that I had chosen another book.

The story starts off by describing the heroine, Pia, as "the most beautiful girl in Siena," a statement that always annoys me. And not only that - she is descended from Cleopatra, too.
Pia, a member of the nobility, is betrothed to a distasteful boy whom she hates, but falls in love with a lower-class horseman named Riccardo.

It was all just ever so predictable and cliche. Not a single event in this book transpired that even mildly surprised me.
Pia was a cardboard character that I never got the slightest picture of in my head, and every other supporting character was either exaggeratedly good or exaggeratedly bad. The two main characters of Pia and Riccardo are so perfect, they should have halos. The villains or distasteful persons of the story are overdone. For example, Pia's first fiancee tries to rape her within seconds of meeting her, and the author then informs us that he is famous for getting girls pregnant and then abandoning them, forcing them to commit suicide. Just as bad, Pia's second fiancee practically tortures her and seems to enjoy ridiculing her both in public and in private. He didn't seem to have any objective or point to doing this - he was just that evil!

Nearly every character has an animal nickname. Owlet, Eagle, Panther, Zebra... People were frequently referred to by their animal names. It annoyed me because I saw no purpose behind it, and also I found it a bit hard to believe that members of the Siena nobility would go around calling each other "Fox" or "Rabbit."

There was also something about a secret society, which was even more ridiculous. I couldn't resist skimming over these parts because they were so dull and unbelievable.

All in all, I am sorry that I gave Fiorato a second chance. Her first book was average, but this one was far below even that. Not recommended.