The Nostradamus Prophecy

Book Review: The Nostradamus Prophecy by Theresa Breslin

“Deeds done by stealth will come to light and all but one consumed. Safe from the sword, saved by the word.”

The Nostradamus Prophecy
The Nostradamus Prophecy by Theresa Breslin
Image from Penguin NZ

About The Book

The Nostradamus Prophecy
by Theresa Breslin
Originally Published in 2008
Genre: YA - Historical Fiction

Synopsis

‘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 late sixteenth century in France – a time of assassination, poisons, seers and the sword.

A time when a king must be saved…

Source: Goodreads


My Thoughts

I have a personal inclination to historical fiction. When I found this book on a shelf during the recent Big Bad Wolf book sale, I thought I should give it a try. After all, it was only sold for less than US$4. I finished reading this book in less than a week (I read for around 15 to 30 minutes a day, depending on how busy I am) and thought it would be nice to write my views about this book.

Disclaimer: This review is based on my personal taste and opinion and my insights may differ from yours. =)


Plot

The book was written in four parts. The plot was set in South of France and started in the Spring of 1566. The story unfolds through the eyes of Melisandè, the youngest daughter of the king’s minstrel who lives among the royal French court. 

It tells about the religious conflict between Catholics and Protestants during the late 16th century. In those times, Master Nostradamus is a well-known and respected soothsayer in France — in fact, the royal French court, through Queen Regent Catherine de Medici, often sought out his prophecies. 

The plot is simple and the pacing is just right — not too fast and not too dragging. It mostly revolves around Melisandè and her turmoil when she ran away to save herself from the sudden misfortunes that befell her family and to find evidence that will help avenge her sister and free her father. During her quest, she discovers that she has a vital part to play for the prophecy made by none other than Nostradamus himself for the Kingdom of France.

I like how Breslin used simple and easy-to-understand language to tell Melisandè’s story. I also like how she organized the events to make the novel uncomplicated to read and easy to follow. My favorite part was the unanticipated yet heart-wrenching love story that has gradually developed in the third part of the book.

However, I didn’t like the twist so much because it didn’t make a clear sense to me. The intention of the protagonist’s betrayer was not properly detailed. It seems a bit frustrating that it was not explained well and I feel a sense of dissatisfaction after reading the book because of that. Also, I found more than one gray area in the entire fictional plot.

Characters

Because the book was written through Melisandè’s perspective, I got to know each character based on how she sees them and what she has heard about them. There is not much information about most of the other characters in the book and I think this is something that could have been improved.

I would have loved to know more about the other equally important supporting characters. However, it is understandable that the story mostly revolves around Melisandè and the information about all the rest of the characters in the book is limited through her encounter with them.

I was so attracted to the character of Lord Thierry, the nobleman of Salon. In fact, he is my favorite. I love how Breslin gradually revealed his life history and motivation in doing the things that he did in the novel. He stole my heart and for me, he should be the hero of the story.

Recommendation

Overall, the book is a good read. I recommend it to teens, young adults, and other readers who are satisfied with a simple, uncomplicated storyline. The book has kept me engaged until the end but left me with many unanswered questions. If you are like me who love to combine history and fiction, then this book will definitely make a great pick.

My Rating

3/5: It’s an OK read


Have you read this book? We would love to hear what you think! Please share your views in the comments below.


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