May 13, 2014

BOOK REVIEW | The Nostradamus Prophecy by Theresa Breslin


Basic information
Title: The Nostradamus Prophecy (Goodreads)
Author: Theresa Breslin (Website)
Genre: young adult, historical fiction
Published by: Doubleday in 2008
'Hark to the Beating Wings of the Angel of Death!'

When Nostradamus, wild-eyed and trembling, proclaims to the French court his prophecy of a great massacre, the young King Charles only laughs. His mother, Catherine de Medici, pays more heed to the soothsayer's words - she believes he can truly see the future.
But Nostradamus's prophecies are not only for those who rule: he also has a message for Melisande, the minstrel's daughter. For he is certain that Fate links him and Melisande together. And as the Angel of Death approaches, the soothsayer gives into her safekeeping some very special parchments - parchments that the titled heads of France would do anything to see.
A rich, dramatic adventure set in the tumultuous years of the alte sixteenth century in France - a time of assassination, poisons, seers and the sword.
A time when a king must be saved...

Review
The history of France never seemed very interesting to me, probably because they only teach you the boring stuff at school. I want to learn more about Nostradamus and the intrigue at court. Naturally, I picked up this book when I saw the title: The Nostradamus Prophecy.

Keeping in mind that this is still a work of fiction, I enjoyed reading about France in the 16th century. The book doesn’t focus on what the castles and the dresses looked like (which I would have enjoyed very much) but more on the fact that Catherine de Medici strongly believes in Nostradamus’ prophecies. Catherine is also portrayed as a scheming and ruthless queen-regent. That’s the picture of her we all love to believe as the truth. Personally, I don’t think she was that evil.

A lot of things happen in this book, which I am grateful for. There was one moment I thought the book was dragging a bit and I had to push myself to continue reading. From that point on, the book was action-packed. One thing I didn’t enjoy very much is that the problems the MC encounters are very conveniently solved. The character never got into serious trouble.
The plot twist at the end was very obvious and I had already seen it coming half-way through the book.
The Nostradamus Prophecy could be categorized as middle grade when you look at it in general. There’s no focus on romance, though there is one but I thought it was very unrealistic and unbelievable.

There’s a ‘hidden message’ in this book along the lines of ‘a sixth doom’. SPOILER! Nostradamus basically predicts that we will all end up at war again and that mankind as a whole will perish. SPOILER OVER

All in all, I enjoyed reading this book and I would recommend it to someone looking for a YA historical fiction. An index of all the dukes and lords mentioned in the book would have been handy because it can get confusing at times.

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