Number of pages: 478
Number of times read (including the time before this review): 1
Rating (out of five stars): 0
Have you ever read a book with so much praise and gone “what do people see in this?” That was me after deciding to DNF The Passion of Dolssa. The book isn’t boring (though it’s certainly not interesting), but there were things that rubbed me the wrong way and eventually made me give up. Let’s go over them, shall we.
The Passion of Dolssa is set in 13th century France. Naturally, the book contains French. As I was a French Immersion student from senior kindergarten to the end of grade nine, I know a little bit of French. The problem is that I learned to speak 21st century French, not 13th century French (I’m not even sure the language in this book is accurate, as after hours of research online, I couldn’t find a lot of the words used). My knowledge of 21st century French made reading this book confusing as the words are similar, yet different from the ones I know. A particularly confusing word used was “oc”. I went fairly far into the book not knowing what “oc” stood for. That was until I reach a chapter where the word “mère” was spelt maire. I then assumed that the author was spelling French words as they are pronounced, which meant that “oc” could be the word “aussi”. However, that didn’t make sense in context. It was then that I did a bit of research and found that “oc” stood for a language in the 13th century, but that didn’t make complete sense either. I then came to a spot where it compared “oc” and “non” as if they were opposites, and I made my final guess that “oc” stood for “oui”. The thing is that the author used “oc” as both the language and “oui”, so it became a fun game to see which one had been used.
Another problem I had with the inclusion of 13th century French was that the author used it in a way that it looked like she was proving how much of the language she knew. She would call a thing by its English equivalent for 15 chapters and the suddenly use the 13th century French word for it. It just seemed like she was trying to prove how smart she was for knowing these words.
Also, you basically have to be a 13th century historian in order to understand what’s going on. The author thrusts you into a world with hardly any explanation, and you are just supposed to know everything about where you are and what’s happening. This is a YA book and the author wrote it as though the average 17 year old has a university degree in the 13th century French history.
Overall, The Passion of Dolssa was uninteresting and confusing, earning it a DNF and 0 stars out of 5.