The Last Kings of Sark

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The third section takes us back to Sark, and makes a halfway satisfying end to the story, but never really captures the promise of that first part. Much of the writing is truly lovely; rich in myth and metaphor, but there's no story or substance, just a pretty cloud of nothing, sweet and insubstantial as candy floss. I wish I'd liked it more. I loved it at the start, when it seemed so full of possibilities, when it still seemed likely that an interesting story might happen, but never did.

I'm torn on my rating. Two and a half stars would be about right, but I can't give it that, so I'll be generous and round it up to three, for the beauty of the writing, and the setting. View 2 comments. The blurb intrigued me to read this book, that's why I requested it from NetGalley in the first place. Somehow I was kind of wish that I'll get Jane Eyre-esque story, a beautiful-romantic with mystery kind of story. Sark island interesting enough with its mysterious vibe. I think the author did a good job describing it. However it was hard for me to connect to the story and the characters.

I really tried but up to the end of chapter 12 I still couldn't care less with both of them. Jude, the main character and narrator of this story described most of everything but I got so little thing about her. Her co-worker, Sofi is an interesting character but I feel like she talked too much and her character overshadows Jude.

She came to Sark to tutor a boy, Pip, he is supposed to be an interesting character too, but he feels flat to me. It was like he was there just so Jude has someone to tutor while she even rarely tutors him. Esme, Pip's French mom, she's the one I thought could make the story more mysterious, but the way Jude describes her make her isn't mysterious enough for me to know what her story is. And Eddy, Pip's dad, he disappears a lot from the story I didn't get much about him. And there is also something off with the way Jude tells her story.

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Maybe it's just me being a reader with English isn't my first language, maybe it's because I'm still learning it so I don't know much about it. But one thing for sure was I have problem reading her story.

One’s Twenties Aren’t Easy: An Interview with Rosa Rankin-Gee

She likes using 'later'. It's kinda kill the element of surprise for me. I also quite difficult to differentiate when and where she talks about something. I feel like she talks about one thing and then in the same paragraph it turns to other thing. I think the flow doesn't go smoothly. To be honest, I tried a few times to pick this book up again and again in a span of 8 months.

I feel bad I couldn't finish it, maybe it just isn't my cup of tea and it will work differently for other readers. Mar 03, Barb rated it it was ok. I was a lucky winner of this book on Goodreads Giveaways. My thanks to Rosa Rankin-Gee and St. Martin's Press, as well as my apologies. I really don't like to give a negative review on a free book. The writing in this book was pretty good, with lovely and poetic moments, but it was lacking in other areas.

I found the characters very 2 dimensional and uninteresting. Jude was the least interesting one of the bunch, and that really shouldn't be the case for the protagonist for the majority of the st I was a lucky winner of this book on Goodreads Giveaways. Jude was the least interesting one of the bunch, and that really shouldn't be the case for the protagonist for the majority of the story. Sofi and Pip became more like real people in the second half of the book, but still Jude was like a cardboard cut-out. The plot kind of left me scratching my head, in the sense of wondering that the point was.

Everything was kind of wrapped up after Jude left Sark, and nothing further was resolved between the 3 of them in the second half of the book, so why bother? If the character development was better, the lack of plot would have been ok - and vice versa. Unfortunately, the combination of both makes for a very chore-like read.

Nov 17, Sarah rated it did not like it. I feel like this book had potential--the premise was good, but it was so disjointed at times that it swiftly became boring or painful to read. You could see where the story was headed but something is lacking that creates a cohesive narrative. Also, I never really quite figured out Jude's character. I feel like I should have had more of a connection since over half the book is told from her perspective. Maybe that's the point? All I got was that she is probably anorexic, she lies a lot about lit I feel like this book had potential--the premise was good, but it was so disjointed at times that it swiftly became boring or painful to read.

All I got was that she is probably anorexic, she lies a lot about little things, is passive and insecure, and is kind of boring. Maybe it was supposed to highlight the fact that she's just figuring herself and her sexuality out? Rep: female bi characters, polyamorous relationship why do all adult contemporary books have to be sad? Review copy received from the publisher for an honest review. Do you have memories of long careless summer days when you were young?

The Last Kings of Sark is a novel about such a summer — and how those days can leave a lingering taint over subsequent years — making you want to go back to those youthful golden days. Not even a boy. A young man, and someone who could teac Review copy received from the publisher for an honest review. A young man, and someone who could teach their son.

I was none of these things, apart from young. Flying into Guernsey as no planes are allowed to land on Sark, or fly over it blow a certain height, Jude travels by ferry to the island, and into another world, the last place to abolish feudalism, and into a summer that will change everything for her. Jude is twenty-one, herself from a privileged background of public school and St Andrews University. Also helping out in the Defoe house that summer is Sofi — Polish by way of Ealing, she is an exuberant nineteen year old, hired as cook and general dogsbody.

When Eddy leaves on business for a few weeks, summer really begins the three of them enjoying a wonderful golden freedom. All good things of course must come to an end, and summer never lasts for long. Just a few days before Jude is due to leave, Eddy returns with his brother Caleb and his four teenage sons. Immediately the atmosphere changes sharply. Just like the sudden chill that can descend following a blistering hot day at the beach, leaving goosebumps over your skin, the tension in the house becomes palpable.

Planning to spend one last golden day together, Jude, Sofi and Pip are thwarted by the weather, a sudden storm brewing means that Jude will need to leave by the ferry that day. Sofi and Pip travel to Guernsey with Jude to say goodbye, and what happens between them in their last few hours together will make itself felt across the years that follow in Paris, Normandy and London. Naturally they make promises as they part, promising to meet at the Eifel Tower in Paris. With the sun. Sun on Pip, and sun on Sofi. The sun on all of us, when we were young, when we were kings.

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The second part of the book is narrated in a variety of voices, as the three friends move forward in life to different parts of Europe. The summer in Sark has left its mark, but those are days that can never be returned to. Things have changed, the world is a darker place — like those squally autumn days when summer has really finished; life is filled with responsibility, disappointment and even death.

The Last Kings of Sark is an excellent first novel, from an author I look forward to reading again in the future. If I am being totally honest I did greatly prefer the first section of the novel, but the ending comes together beautifully with a lovely sense of time having passed, and the poignancy of looking back at a time that felt perfect.

View 1 comment. These were the days that were golden. But summer passes. Baguettes man. Jun 29, Sojourner rated it really liked it Shelves: reviews. Jude is 21, Sofi is 19 and Pip is Spirited, buoyant, carefree and yet so tender, Rosa Rankin-Gee has hewed out of a simple plot a wonderful and beautiful story which will endear to many readers. Funnily enough, her employers through Jude would be a boy and they were a bit shaken when she arrives in the small island of Sark at the beginning of the summer.

But when the dust and din of the awkwardness settled down, Jude and Pip ended up liking each other so much that their primary task was thrown to the winds and Jude begins to see life in a new way. Jude and Sofi, who employed as a cook, also immediately bonded. Together, the three embark on a voyage of discovery exploring what summer sun brings for them. What you have is a story that will draw you into it as you listen to Jude what she has to say as the early part of the story is told from her perspective, and then from multiple point of views, eventually rounding off with a return to Sark and a nostalgic portrait of an unforgettable summer many moons ago — when the voices in the book were the kings of Sark.

Beautifully written, and so full of life, The Last Kings of Sark by Rosa Rankin-Gee is a debut novel the likes of which we do not come across too often. Jul 14, Bob H rated it really liked it Shelves: fiction , lgbt. The reader could call it "summer reading," in a way, both as an escapist novel -- and as a romance in a romantic setting, a wealthy family's vacation home on the remote, scenic and somewhat exotic isle of Sark, present day.

The story focuses on two quirky young women: Sofi, 19, who cooks for the family, is of Polish ancestry but insists she's really from Ealing; and Jude, 21, who is there to tutor the family's only child, the teenaged Pip. There's also the father, Eddy, who is absent on business The reader could call it "summer reading," in a way, both as an escapist novel -- and as a romance in a romantic setting, a wealthy family's vacation home on the remote, scenic and somewhat exotic isle of Sark, present day. It's mainly about an idle, idyllic and somewhat boozy summer spent together by Sofi, Jude and Pip, three people on the cusp of adulthood, told at a pace that is concise and fast-reading, albeit because they are sketched, rather than detailed.

That's the first half of the book.

Last Kings of Sark Audiobook by Rosa Rankin-Gee

The second half is more like an extended epilogue, and in place of the linear narrative of the first half the reader experiences a series of episodes, vignettes, mostly in various parts of France. It's a bit jarring, and a bit darker, and winds up with a separate finale that resolves things but seems pasted-on. The reason this still works is because Sofi, Pip and Jude are compelling, if somewhat reticent, characters that readers may care about, and their subsequent stories are intriguing enough.

The book seems a little disordered but maybe this story and these lives are disorderly enough, and it's worthwhile. Nov 15, Ella Bowman rated it liked it. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Much of this book is evocative and beautifully observed, which is why I gave it the benefit of the doubt with three stars.

I couldn't connect with characters in the way I felt Rankin-Gee was intending, though. I found Sofi unlikeable, which meant that the dough-eyedness of Jude and Ben was often infuriating. I would have been enchanted by the insta-filter through which Rankin-Gee writes when I was younger, thinking Sofi a bold and enlivening girl, their friendships troubled and romantic, but act Much of this book is evocative and beautifully observed, which is why I gave it the benefit of the doubt with three stars.

I would have been enchanted by the insta-filter through which Rankin-Gee writes when I was younger, thinking Sofi a bold and enlivening girl, their friendships troubled and romantic, but actually I found the friendships based only on their desire to be liked, and lusted after - vaingloriously -, and I more wanted to find out about Jude's experiences as an adult as she seemed the most relatable character. I also expected Ben and Jude to find what they were looking for in each other, and felt hard done by every time the adulation of the narrative pivoted on Sofi.

I felt like my appreciation for the arc of the story would have been improved by some sort of betrayal on Sofi's part, as I felt like there was no real epiphany reached about that Summer, nor the fact of the distance that grows between them. Saying that, the last chapter was beautifully written and - again - inspired my giving the book the benefit of the doubt. For all the aforementioned ambivalence, I did feel susceptible to Rankin-Gee's enchanting vision as an author in so much as I'd like to go for a coffee with her, and I hope that she writes more books for me to tear quickly though as I did, in one weekend.

May 19, Courtney Maum rated it it was amazing. This story, about three young people who forge a special friendship during what might have otherwise been a solitary summer on a remote island is a sensual hymn to youth, and innocence, to lust, to passion, to the thrill of cold water and skin warmed by the sun. My only regret is that I didn't get to spend more time with Pip, Sofi and Jude on the island of Sark-- I missed their hard won camaraderie in the seco Just finished "The Last Kings of Sark," and now I am listless, and in a saddened mood.

My only regret is that I didn't get to spend more time with Pip, Sofi and Jude on the island of Sark-- I missed their hard won camaraderie in the second half of the book, but alas, that is the point. I would be very jealous of her if she weren't a lovely friend! Jul 11, Renee Lareau rated it really liked it.

My editor friend hooked me in with this description of the book: "Do you remember those last days of summer, when the real world was tantalizingly just around the corner, but you were firmly planted in the sun and the glory and the beach and the friends you loved beyond measure?

The Last Kings of Sark by Rosa Rankin-Gee – review

If I close my eyes and reach back around the corner, t My editor friend hooked me in with this description of the book: "Do you remember those last days of summer, when the real world was tantalizingly just around the corner, but you were firmly planted in the sun and the glory and the beach and the friends you loved beyond measure? If I close my eyes and reach back around the corner, the world of Jude, Sofi, and Pip is just within my grasp. Gave it four stars instead of five because the first half was riveting and the second half lost me a bit, but it was because the first half was so GOOD!

Apr 17, Karyn rated it really liked it. I loved how this book evoked the minutiae of life so beautifully, yet so simply. Snapshots of time like super 8. Not at all in a precious instagrammed way. How young relationships imprint indelibly throughout a decade or even more, even as other people and things happen. Sep 04, Sara rated it it was ok.

Have no idea what to make of this book. The writing is pretty good, but the story is lackluster, to say the least. Extremely predictable. Apr 07, Samantha Penrose rated it really liked it Shelves: fiction. I agree with some other reviewers, that the second half of the book was something of a let down, but I believe that it was the author's intention to make the reader feel as lost, disjointed, and unfulfilled as the characters continued to feel after they left Sark and parted ways Such is life.


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I give to you, my two favorite quotes that capture the mood. The first quote is from the first part of the book, the second quote is closer to the end.

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Rosa Rankin-Gee - The Last Kings of Sark | The List

The story follows The Last Kings of Sark. Rosa Rankin-Gee. In , she was one of Esquire magazine's '75 Brilliant Young Brits'.



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