1. Under the Oak Tree by Suji Kim
My reviews come from the book club in my discord. Be sure to join us! And yes, that means there will most likely be spoilers, so read at your own risk.
1. Your star rating (1-5)
3.5 - adjusting my rating here from book club
2. Would you recommend?
For romance readers, yes. For fantasy / epic fantasy readers, no.
3. Favorite part?
When Maxi yelled at Ruth for trying to buy expensive books. It was amazing to see her finally put her foot down, though she did end up giving in. But it was amazing to see that moment of her speaking up like that.
4. Least favorite part? Why?
Maxi and Riftan's first few times together were a bit hard to read through simply because she was forced to do it, not understanding at all what was happening. Her naiveness made those scenes difficult.
5. Would you read again? Why?
I am changing my answer after more time to think about it after posting in book club, but no, I wouldn't. Will I read on with the series, yes. I'm interested, but the first book felt a bit more fluffy in terms of what is going on, like if a reader skips it entirely, the only thing they'll miss is character introduction.
6. Main Female Character(s) Rating (1-5)
I get that she's still growing into the person she can be, but there were moments that were just too frustrating for me and it brings up the question on how naive is too naive. She knows nothing of sex, even after doing it often with Riftan. She knows nothing about money and its worth, nothing about budgeting. Nothing in general, and while I get the kind of situation she grew up in was pretty shitty, it goes to a certain level that is just extremely frustrating and makes it hard to enjoy her as a character. Gives her a ton of room for growth though, so we can only wait and see what kind of person she will become as she begins to learn about the world and herself.
8. Main Male Character(s) Rating (1-5)
He does decently well working with the information he has, which isn't very much considering Maxi isn't too forth-coming. The beginning made me not like him so much, but it was nice seeing him dote on her and actually caring about her as the book continued.
10. Favorite minor character? (Minor characters deserve love tooooo)
Easy answer - Ruth. He's hilarious, and probably one of the few characters in the first book with actual depth. We got introduced to other characters, but he's the one who we really get time with. I'm sure more minor characters will begin popping from the pages as the series progresses, but in terms of just this book, they fell flat.
I really did enjoy this book. In terms of stars, I only give five stars those to the books I couldn't put down and got mad when I finished reading it. That wasn't this book. I'm definitely interested in seeing where this series goes, but the hype was a little bit more than it should have been. But with this being a web novel with what looks like an extremely strong fan base, I can see why so many would be hyped about the eBook. I would be too if I was a follower of the web novel.
This was NOT what I expected, I have to admit. There was more sex in it than I expected, which I usually don't go for. I'm fine with a few scenes, but this was a bit over the top for me in particular. That's fine. We got to see her grow sexually, understanding more about it, and gaining a bit more confidence. But in terms of genre, this is highly more romance rather than epic fantasy. The plot focuses mostly on Maxi's relationship with Riftan. I do like where the relationship is leading.
I do like how casual the book is about magic. It's nice. Magic is simply there, part of their world, and there's no over the topness in terms of introducing the bit of magic we did see. I would like to see more though and how it's utilized outside of magic barriers/shields. I think I only read about how it was used in like two cases. Oh, and the tree part too, which I thought was a nice scene to read.
Plot wise, there is some, but none that is firm and overly exciting. She married Riftan and when he comes back from war and killing a dragon, he takes her back to his home, where she should have gone years prior after their wedding. Once she's there, she works on renovations because there isn't much in terms of style to the castle, just efficiency. She's realizing the work it takes to run an estate, including budgets and money. All the while, her relationship with Riftan grows deeper and she gets to know the people around her more, though it seems there are still those around her who are not happy with her. It's all built off of misunderstandings, which is also a frustrating thing for me. Misunderstandings that could so easily be cleared up are annoying. And Maxi doesn't help, letting people hold onto those misconceptions about her, granted its out of fear, but still. Clear up the misunderstandings. Let's have some fun conflicts outside of those.
And here we have it! My first book review for my first book club selection! Yay!