Monday, July 22, 2013

Emeralds of the Alhambra by John D. Cressler Review

I won a copy from Goodreads First Reads.

"For hundreds of years, Christians, Muslims and Jews lived together in peace, sharing languages and customs, and embracing a level of tolerance and mutual respect unheard of today. Working together, these three peoples spawned one of the great intellectual and cultural flowerings of history in medieval Spain. 

Historical novel Emeralds of the Alhambra reawakens this remarkable era via the relationship between William Chandon, a wounded Christian knight brought to the Sultan’s court in Granada, and the strong-willed Layla al-Khatib, who is on a quest to become the first female Sufi Muslim mystic in a male-dominated society. As Chandon’s influence at court grows, he becomes trapped between his forbidden love for Layla, his Christian heritage, the demands of chivalry, and political expediency. Chandon must make a choice between love and honor, war and peace, life and death, a choice which ultimately will seal Granada’s fate as the last surviving stronghold of Muslim Spain."

Okay, The Emeralds of the Alhambra is an okay book. No... Scratch that, The Emeralds of the Alhambra is an above average book. 

The Emeralds of the Alhambra is set hundreds of years ago, where the people of the book lived and roamed freely. Specifically in Granada. Anyway, the plot is creative and twisty, but isn't anything too shocking or stunning. It's has a nice beginning and went off on the right foot. The writing is really descriptive and sometime repetitive, but in a way that reminds readers of the tiny details in the book. 

The switching POVs are a little helpful in expanding the reader's knowledge of the setting and people (traitors). It changes between William Chandon, Layla Al-Khatib, and some other minor characters like the assassin. (No more further details from me). 

The ending almost, almost made me teary eyed. It's bittersweet and I thought that the ending would be a more "happily ever after" than this one. But after pondering the ending, I thought, "Wow. It's a pretty cool ending that isn't like any other." Or maybe there is other endings like this one. I don't know. I can't possibly read every book in the world. (Goodreads can help me remember them all, but it can't keep track of all the books I'd read.) (I read about fourteen hundred books, including the books on Goodreads.)


Layla al-Khatib is a girl like no other girl at that time. She's bold and unafraid of the consequences. She's determined and stubborn to reach her goal, no matter what. She's an excellent, leading, female character of The Emeralds of the Alhambra. 

William Chandon is a Christian knight. As he falls in love with Layla, he realize that there's only one way he can be with her. As a person with a Christian background, he will become a target to the Christians if he turns his back on his religion. Brave, humbled, and young William Chandon is the main narrator in the book.

Rating: Three out of Five

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