Sep 25, 2018

ARC Review--Grim Lovelies by Megan Shepherd

Seventeen-year-old Anouk envies the human world, where people known as Pretties lavish themselves in fast cars, high fashion, and have the freedom to fall in love. But Anouk can never have those things, because she is not really human. Enchanted from animal to human girl and forbidden to venture beyond her familiar Parisian prison, Anouk is a Beastie: destined for a life surrounded by dust bunnies and cinders serving Mada Vittora, the evil witch who spelled her into existence. That is, until one day she finds her mistress murdered in a pool of blood—and Anouk is accused of the crime.

Now, the world she always dreamed of is rife with danger. Pursued through Paris by the underground magical society known as the Haute, Anouk and her fellow Beasties only have three days to find the real killer before the spell keeping them human fades away. If they fail, they will lose the only lives they’ve ever known…but if they succeed, they could be more powerful than anyone ever bargained for.

From New York Times bestselling author Megan Shepherd, Grim Lovelies is an epic and glittering YA fantasy. Prepare to be spellbound by the world of Grim Lovelies, where secrets have been long buried, friends can become enemies, and everything—especially humanity—comes at a price.

I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Megan Shepherd's Grim Lovelies is a unique fantasy read that is a blend of all things fairy tales. We know all the fairy tales by now, but have you ever wondered about the "animal friends" the princesses had. What would happen if the animals turned into a footman in Cinderella wanted to stay human? While this story doesn't involve him directly, it does pose the question of whether the animal friends wanted to remain human or not.

Anouk is one of these animals turned human, she works for Mada Vittoria who's a witch. She's a maid in the house and she longs for a bit of freedom, to go outside, for she's never been allowed outside before. Her friends, Beau and Cricket have been let out, even Hunter Black gets to go outside with Viggio, who is the witch's "son". Then one day, something happens and the Mada Vittoria is found dead. Anouk, Beau, Cricket and even Hunter Black are technically free, but there's a time limit to their freedom. Vittoria kept them all human by a spell and it's long been known that Beasties--what they are called--can't do magic...or can they?

Anouk and her friends will have to work together and try to find the spell that will let them remain human forever. But they are going to have to trust people they never thought trustworthy. They will have to do things they were never allowed to once do. They have quite the quest on their hands and all the while the clock is ticking away.

What we soon learn about Anouk is that she has a bit of magical talent herself. By observing Vittoria cast her spells before and reading some of the spell books from the house library, Anouk knows more than she realizes about magic in general.

Though there's something else Anouk and her friends don't know, something very few people know and it's that Beasties serve a greater purpose than just being slaves to those who own them. We don't get to know exactly what this is yet, at least not in great detail. Though we do learn that Anouk and her friends encounter plenty of enemies who will do whatever it takes to remain the more powerful.

This was quite an interesting read! I have to admit it was my first Megan Shepherd book, though I have her past series in my TBR pile to read at some point! I've always loved fairy tales and while this one isn't exactly a fairy tale, it has all the right elements, and yet, the setting is surprisingly modern. Which was actually rather intriguing. Taking the fairy tale creatures and thrusting them into a modern technological world. It definitely made for intriguing world-building.

There was just the tiniest bit of romance in this one too! It was a sweet budding romance between Anouk and Beau. I could see it coming long before the first kiss. But it was such a sweet little romance for neither really knows much about love and romance. It was cute. While there were other possible couples popping up, it's hard to say just yet if there will be more romance brewing in the future. I'm not even sure how serious these other possibilities are. I might just be making guesses, it's truly too soon to tell.

I felt like the pacing of this one sort of falls in between fast paced and slow. While there is a ticking clock working against Anouk and her friends, I felt like they weren't rushing as much as they should've. True, Anouk was outside for the first time and had to do a little exploring or staring and wondering kind of thing. They also struggled to know what their plan of action should be and then when one was decided it involved travel. So as I said, it fluctuated between slow and fast. And while I would've loved a more faster paced read, I will say that the characters were positively awesome and they made up for the lack in action at times. They were all of different personalities and types, they were a nice little group to get to know.  

Then there's the little added mystery of what happened to Mada Vittoria, add in the fact that one of the other beastie friends is missing and has been for some weeks, you have a nice slew of mysteries going on amid all the other secrets.

I wasn't sure at first if this one was meant to be a standalone or series, but based on the ending, I feel like it is safe to say that it's a series of some sort. Whether it will be a duology or longer is really too soon to tell. I will definitely be looking forward to reading more from this world. It's a very detailed one filled with intrigue and mystery. It's a world that will suck you in and have you wondering about many of its puzzles and characters. It's a read not to be missed, especially if you're a fan of anything fairy tale related. Grim Lovelies is sure to be a hit among the fantasy readers of the blogosphere, so don't miss out!

Overall Rating 4/5 stars

Grim Lovelies releases October 2, 2018

1 comment:

  1. Hmm I'm not sure this one is for me. I've heard good things about it in the past and it's definitely on my TBR. But your note about the pacing has me a little worried. I'm glad you enjoyed this one though!

    Thanks for sharing,
    ~Brittany @ Brittany's Book Rambles


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