Release Date: 05/8/18 | Urban Fantasy | 376 Pages | HMH BFYR
The servants bound to the home of the Parisian witch Mada Vittora may appear human but are in fact beasties–animals enchanted into humans. When Mada Vittora is mysteriously murdered Anouk, her newest beastie and the other servants find themselves on a high stakes adventure across Paris to discover the truth of their origins and find a way to stay human before time runs out.
I went into this book knowing literally nothing and was completely sucked in to this unique and thrilling urban fantasy. I think magic systems are so key to how believable a story is and Shepherd builds a complex and imaginative magic system with steep consequences and rules.
This book does the thing that I really like in YA fantasy where a girl gets hero jounrey’d, discovers she has more power than she thought possible and takes a level in badassalong the way. I appreciate that Shepherd is able to write a female-centered fantasy without a lot of violence. One thing that has turned me off some YA fantasies lately is just all the sexual violence and abuse heaped on the (particularly female) characters before they can gain power. It’s one of the reasons Ember in The Ashes didn’t work for me and almost turned me off the genre.
I have read some critiques of Shepherd’s portrayal of the POC, gay and trans side characters. Pretty much everyone who isn’t Anouk has to give up something in service of her but I’m willing to reserve my judgment until the end of the series. I have a feeling Shepherd is setting up for a wider plot arc and will expand the world and characters.
And let me tell you, this book ends in one of the biggest cliffhangers I have ever read and I can’t wait for the next one.
I hope HMH releases this as an audiobook, I feel like Rebecca Soler would kill it.
I’m a lifelong reader who started blogging about YA books in 2011 but now I read in just about every genre! I love YA coming of age stories, compelling memoirs and genre bending SFF. You can find me talking all things romance at Romance and Sensibility.