Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Sterkarm Handshake by Susan Price

The Sterkarm Handshake is a time travel tale set in the 16th and 21st centuries respectively. The Sterkarms are a family of Border Reivers, a law unto themselves on the English and Scottish Border in the 16th century. Their simple lives of tending sheep, raiding cattle and defending against other bands of robbers is interrupted by the 'Elves'. These 'Elves' are from the future and hope to exploit the seemingly backward Sterkarms, their neighbours and the unspoilt landscape in which they live. As past and future collide, who will win and is it really possible for love between an Elf and a Sterkarm to survive all these odds?

Susan Price is a well established writer and as one might expect has produced a well written, readable piece. The premise of the story is good and has excitement, action, romance and adventure all mixed in. It is an enjoyable read and a good romp, definitely something to try.

Where unfortunately this story falls down is that it has to have one of the most annoying lead characters I've ever come across. The girl has no backbone, is forever incapable of choosing what to do and spends a lot of time whinging or whining. Perhaps Price should be congratulated for the fact that despite this character the book is still readable.

Another problem with the story was the romance side of it. I just didn't understand the relationship between Andrea and Per. I couldn't quite understand why either of them would go for the other and a lot of the time I just felt they were doing things because they had to. I know life in the 16th century is vastly different from today and to be honest I expected there to be more conflict between Andrea and Per. It almost felt as if they were just settling for each other and kept going back to each other even if they weren't wholly suited because they couldn't be bothered to do anything else. Perhaps I was searching for something that wasn't there. Perhaps what I was hoping for was that the relationship would grow, evolve etc.

I would still recommend this book to read, although possibly not as whole heartedly as some of the others I've read lately.

**3 stars**

No comments: