I received a review copy from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.
Genre: Fantasy Age Range: YA Star Rating: 4 stars Series: yes - first book in duology CW: child prostitution
Aster. Violet. Tansy. Mallow. Clementine.
Sold as children. Branded by cursed markings. Trapped in a life they never would have chosen.
When Aster’s sister Clementine accidentally murders a man, the girls risk a dangerous escape and harrowing journey to find freedom, justice, and revenge – in a country that wants them to have none of those things. Pursued by the land’s most vicious and powerful forces – both living and dead – their only hope lies in a bedtime story passed from one girl to another, a story that only the youngest or most desperate would ever believe.
It’s going to take more than luck for them all to survive.
Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
THE GOOD LUCK GIRLS is a Wild West-inspired book about freedom and sisterhood. And to make fleeing from the law all the more dangerous, not only do the law have magical bloodhound-like people (who can also torture your mind) on their side, but dead beasts also wander the land.
I enjoyed the ghostly/dead monsters element. Aster (the narrator) can’t see them except in moonlight, like everyone but Clementine, and that made them all the more horrifying as a monster that’s mostly only seen by the damage they inflict is a hard one to fight and can wreak havoc.
There are hints of possible romances in the book, but it’s never the focus and, other than Tansy and Mallow, nothing is ever confirmed. Aster is clearly attracted to Violet, in my opinion, but it does take subtext reading to understand. I honestly liked that, and it felt like such a breath of fresh air in YA. Perhaps the next book will spend more time on it, but I really liked that there were only hints, nothing concrete and nothing distracting from the pacing.
This is a rare book, in my experience, that manages to keep the pacing up even with very long chapters. There’s just so much happening as they lurch from danger to danger, with the law one step behind and the dead monsters all around, with the occasional reprieve of safe havens.
The one thing the blurb doesn’t mention that seems pretty important to know (for expectations and also CW) is that the girls are all part of a “Welcome House”, aka a brothel that they’ve been sold to. Their parents/guardians are told it’s a good place with medical care etc, and that it spares the families mouths to feed. But the girls don’t get paid and are marked so they can’t run away. Not to mention they’ll get thrown out (still marked) when they get too old.
I feel like I have a few ideas where the second book will go (possibly dual POV as Clem is no longer in the same place as Aster?) and it’s on the TBR to read at some point!