I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Amulet Books on September 12th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Paranormal, Young Adult
Trudchen grew up hearing Odette’s stories of their monster-slaying mother and a magician’s curse. But now that Tru’s older, she’s starting to wonder if her older sister’s tales were just comforting lies, especially because there’s nothing fantastic about her own life—permanently disabled and in constant pain from childhood polio.Amazon •
In 1909, after a two-year absence, Od reappears with a suitcase supposedly full of weapons and a promise to rescue Tru from the monsters on their way to attack her. But it’s Od who seems haunted by something. And when the sisters’ search for their mother leads them to a face-off with the Leeds Devil, a nightmarish beast that’s wreaking havoc in the Mid-Atlantic states, Tru discovers the peculiar possibility that she and her sister—despite their dark pasts and ordinary appearances—might, indeed, have magic after all.
Mature-Content Rating: Mention of Prostitution, Mild Sexual Content
Od is the spunky older sister full of adventure and secrets. She’s honestly full of bad decisions and dumb ideas, then drags her sister along with her. Most of the things she does seems to have no rhyme or reason other than to further along the plot. The character doesn’t really have that much structure.
The younger sister Tru gets really whiney; something I can put up with in secondary or minor characters but don’t have much love for in a main character. She’s very reluctant to go with her sister, but has a surge of bravery; then seems to be drained of it all. For the rest of the book she’s mainly pushed and pulled along during the story until the very end.
The story itself is told in part truths and lies; bouncing from the present to different episodes in the past. It’s not all that hard to keep up with where you are in the story line once you get used to the format, but it also doesn’t quite work for me. The reader is shown a half-truth or a full out lie, then pulled into the past and shown what really happened. It leaves no mystery and no big revealing moments, just small snippets throughout the book. It doesn’t have much of a plot, and nothing interesting happens through 70% of the story.
The supernatural element of the book hangs in the air during the entire story; is Od just making it up or does the supernatural really exist? Naturally it’s revealed at the end of the book, but in a way that still leaves the reader skeptical of everything that took place.
Overall, I did not like this book at all. It had it’s moments, but the characters were flat and the pace was so slow that most readers will probably give up within the first few chapters. Historical readers may read through it for the setting, but fans of supernatural or adventure novels will be disappointed.