- Author: Sherwood Smith
- Genre: Romantic Fantasy (and a sidedish of Epic fantasy*)
- Sex: Off page.
- Violence: Light.
- ReadingLevel: Easy.
- Adult Subject Matter: Occasionally.
- Language: Safe for work.
I have pretty varied tastes, and Sherwood Smith writes a lot of stories. While she has written an epic-styled fantasy, I have only read one of those books. It wasn’t what I was looking for when I bought it, as it was substantially different from her romantic fantasy fare. So, the above rating is for her romantic fantasy novels, not her epic fantasies. Her epic fantasy includes course language, adult subject matter (including rape and torture), and is rather violent–I can’t remember if there’s romantic sex in it or not.
When I first was introduced to Sherwood Smith, I was looking for something light, romantic, and fluffy. I had come off the heels of a couple of really dark epic fantasies, and feeling a bit burned out, I need some happy feelings. I saw one of her titles as a free giveaway and decided prince and princess romance was exactly what the doctor ordered.
I don’t read romance or fluff very often. Giving this stuff to me is either a recipe for me spending the next two or three hours making fun of what I’m reading, or I am in the corner, giggling like a maniac while my husband worries he should be calling someone for help–or taking the book away. I become a totally different person when I need a happy high after a soul-crushing epic fantasy.
It frightens the cats, to say the least.
The Trouble with Kings is one of my favorite light and fluffy Sherwood Smith novels, although I find it’s far easier to identify the ones I didn’t like. There aren’t many of them.
In a way, it pains me to admit this, but the reason I like Sherwood Smith’s stories so much is that they are easy reads and it’s very easy to just escape for a bit in stories that are generally happily ever afters. If you’re looking for innovative and creative, you won’t find much of it in these novels. That said, there are some really clever uses of magic and a unique magic system, which does add nice flavor to the stories. Generally, that’s all it is, though–flavor.
So, your mileage will definitely vary on this one, but if you’re looking for a fun, easy ready, romantic without being smutty or erotic or overly sexual, Sherwood Smith may be up your alley. This is the sort of book I’d leave around for a eight year old to find, because it paints men and women in good lights on an emotional level. There are bad guys, sure, but there are as many good guys–and girls–to serve as role models.
Best of all, Sherwood Smith tackles bullying and social issues face on–in a way suitable for children. They’re meant for the teenage crowd and the young adult crowd, but if you’re an adult looking for escapism–or you want to show a younger teen or pre-teen some good fantasy stories with good messages about relationships, have a look-see at this.
Note: Once again, the epic fantasy (Inda, The Fox, and stories of that series) do not fall under these guidelines. Don’t leave those books out for kids. Some of the subject matter is disturbing.
In the romantic fantasies, most of the protagonists range in age from teens to young/new adult. As one warning, she has a mix of traditionally published stories and self-published stories; she has published some of her really early works for fans. You can really tell how her writing has matured and polished over the years. This isn’t a criticism, as I personally enjoy seeing how authors improve and enjoy seeing the early works, but those who want perfection in fiction won’t get it with some of her titles.