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General Winston's Daughter by Sharon Shinn

General Winston's Daughter

by Sharon Shinn

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I have been less enthusiastic about Shinn's more recent novels, but after rereading The Truth-Teller's Tale I was inspired to look for more of her books.

General Winston's Daughter is classified on Shinn's website as "young adult". It's only fantasy in the sense that it's set in fictional countries. The tropical setting reminded me of Troubled Waters, but thematically it felt very similar to Summers at Castle Auburn. Eighteen year old Lady Averie Winston travels to the recently-conquered Chiarrin to join her father, the general in charge of the occupying army. Averie is out-going, impulsive, and eager to explore - she makes new friends and horrifies her conservative chaperone by adopting local fashions. But Chiarrin is not as safe as the general would like, and Averie is confronted with challenging questions about the recent invasion.

General Winston's Daughter is comfortably predictable in some ways, yet still managed to surprise me. I appreciated the bluntness of its message about imperialism, having worried that it might have been too understated.

There's also a love-triangle that I thought was a) very believable and b) sensibly resolved… I can't think of any other books which have gone this route and that seems like a massive oversight.

This definitely exceeded my expectations (which, admittedly, were rather cautious). ( )
  Herenya | Jan 18, 2017 |
My least favorite book that I’ve read from Shinn so far. ¬I’ve read quite a few of her books, both ‘adult’ and YA, and while she sometimes comes dangerously close to stepping off that romance cliff, and plunging into sentimentality, usually she hovers [happily] on the brink. However, here the romance was at the annoying level (even if the love triangle functioned more as a symbol of rejecting one culture and embracing the Oppressed, than an actual romance), and I also felt something I haven’t felt in any of Shinn’s other books: that it was written ‘down’ to a younger (teen girl) audience.

I felt like the author said: “Hey! I’m gonna sucker the tweens in with the promise of a romance, and then I’m gonna hammer in some Important Points: Colonialism is BAD! Imperialism: AWFUL! Racism: NO GOOD! Oh yeah, and girls should stick up for themselves! GO GIRL!”

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against books which show the conflicts and harm inherent in the maintenance of an empire. There’s near-infinite potential for powerful stories there. But this story simplifies to the point of absurdity. The characters are all one-dimensional (which also makes Our Heroine, Averie’s main romantic decision conflict-less and unsurprising), and Averie is naive to a degree that beggars belief. (But of course, once her eyes are opened, she instantly sees her way to Righteousness and Saviourdom! [Good thing she’s insanely wealthy.])

About three-quarters of the way through, I was really fed-up with the whole thing. Then the ‘twist’ happened (the ‘friendly’ local turns out to be a terrorist spy/freedom fighter), and I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised. But the chance to explore some moral ambiguity was passed up completely.

I did however, appreciate that in a romance novel, for ONCE, the girl is the one who proposes and has a strong opinion of what she and her fiancé should do in the future. But even that wasn’t quite enough to redeem this book from its clunky and ham-handed politics.
( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Amazon preorder,Amazon received
  romsfuulynn | Apr 28, 2013 |
This book...I loved it. It is truly amazing. The characters are very well developed. The story is a page turner. The ending is such a surprise. I can't say enough about this book. ( )
  jmorrison | Jan 7, 2012 |
I really enjoyed this latest young adult fantasy from Shinn. The topic of colonization is an interesting one to me and was dealt with very well while still informing the overall world building and characters. ( )
  janemarieprice | Feb 1, 2011 |
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To my agent, Ethan Ellenberg, who loved this book from the very beginning
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It seemed like the voyage to Chiarrin would take forever.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670062480, Hardcover)

When seventeen-year-old heiress Averie Winston travels with her guardian to faraway Chiarrin, she looks forward to a reunion with her father, who is a commanding general, seeing her handsome fiancé Morgan once more, and exploring the strange new country. What she finds is entirely different. Although the Chiarizzi appear to tolerate the invading army, rebels have already tried to destroy them; Morgan is not the man she thought he was; and she finds herself falling in love with Lieutenant Ket Du’kai, who himself comes from a conquered society. Can the irrepressible Averie remake herself in this new world? Sharon Shinn’s newest romance has an epic sweep, piquant humor, social commentary, and love to spare—just the thing when you want to lose yourself in another world.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:08 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Seventeen-year-old heiress Averie Winston travels with her guardian to faraway Chiarrin, a country her father's army has occupied, and once she arrives and is reunited with her fiance, she discovers that her notions about politics, propriety, the military, and even her intended have changed.… (more)

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