Review: Bohemian Gospel by Dana Chamblee Carpenter

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Thirteenth-century Bohemia is a dangerous place for a girl, especially one as odd as Mouse, born with unnatural senses and an uncanny intellect. Some call her a witch. Others call her an angel. Even Mouse doesn’t know who—or what—she is. But she means to find out.

When young King Ottakar shows up at the Abbey wounded by a traitor’s arrow, Mouse breaks church law to save him and then agrees to accompany him back to Prague as his personal healer. Caught in the undertow of court politics at the castle, Ottakar and Mouse find themselves drawn to each other as they work to uncover the threat against him and to unravel the mystery of her past. But when Mouse’s unusual gifts give rise to a violence and strength that surprise everyone—especially herself—she is forced to ask herself: Will she be prepared for the future that awaits her?

I ended up liking this book a lot more than I thought I would and even though the ending was a bit rushed, I am curious about what happens in the sequel. Mouse is a vibrant character who is ostracized by no fault of her own. Her powers and parentage leave her at a loss with how to deal with the world and the demons that haunt her are incredibly dangerous. The fantasy element of the story never felt forced and it was almost an element of horror rather than fantasy in that Mouse was always in danger and is never able to free herself from monsters that follow her powers.

The romantic element is understandable as Mouse pines for Ottaker, but her heritage and his duties as king keep them apart. The main question of who Mouse’s parents actually were remains hinted at throughout the entire book. I made a guess myself, but it wasn’t completely clear until the end. I wasn’t sure if I’d be sold on this whole concept as a book, but it turned out being very interesting and a good plot.

4 out of 5

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