My rating: 2 of 5 stars
There are a couple of reasons this isn’t getting one star. The first is the writing. I will admit that there were moments that the writing in this book was beautiful and I have to give the author credit where credit is due. The other is my understanding that a lot of my dissatisfaction with the story has to do with the fact that I am not a Spanish native. It is my understanding that this book was written by a native of Spain and translated (quite well, I might add) into English. So the references to Spanish historical events and people that I didn’t understand and therefore found distracting, are probably common knowledge to many Spanish citizens and added to the story for them rather than detracted.
But then we come to the story itself. I didn’t have a problem with the main character, the fencing master. He was, quite frankly, the only interesting, multilayered character in the whole book. I found the other characters (especially the “femme fatale”) to be one dimensional and unbelievable, when I could keep the characters straight that is. The plot was flat and predictable. (view spoiler) The glimpses into the maestro’s past were far more interesting to me than the action happening in “the present” and honestly THAT’S the book I’d like to read 😛
Overall, this book was a chore to get through, but I powered through it because it was short and occasionally had glimmers of hope in the pretty prose and the main character, but these were well overshadowed by the many problems with the plot and other characters. Take from that, what you will 🙂