First Lines: “I’m glad you girls are all here; by the looks of the crowd outside we’ll be busy, even for a Saturday.”
Who knew that life could so quickly get so busy and that I’d still manage to read a ton of books? I’m three reviews behind right now! This book was one that I figured I would like after I read the synopsis, but just look at that cover. So darkly pretty.
Thea’s mother is cursed with a spell that is slowly driving her insane, and Thea can’t touch her without feeling the chill of the magic herself. Struggling to keep her mother from being taken away, Thea works as a waitress at a local club with a glitzy clientele. When Thea’s best friend, Nan, goes missing, Thea is determined to find out what happened. With the help of Freddy, a young and charismatic patron at the club, the two of them begin to discover the city’s secrets. The city’s underbelly is much more dangerous than any of them had suspected…and it’s restless…
Goodreads says it’s a cross between Cabaret and Cassandra Clare’s magical world. Clare I can somewhat see, but I’ve never seen Cabaret. All I can tell you is that it is set in an undefined 1920s-1930s world where magic is real. Also, it feels a lot like Germany. So if that interests you, I encourage you to keep reading.
The story revolves in narration between three narrators, but I can really only tell you about two without being in spoiler range. Thea, our obvious main character, was strong-willed and a skilled leader when she needed to be. I liked seeing a heroine who could take care of herself instead of relying on someone else. Freddy is our next narrator and he was something of a naive sweetheart. Innocent, I guess would be a better way to sum that up. Which is strange for a guy, but I liked it. It made the story a little less predictable.
I will say, though, that the narration wasn’t quite what I thought it would be. It did rotate between the three characters, but it wasn’t like it did that after every chapter. We would have 3-5 chapters as Thea before we switched to the next narrator for 3-5 chapters. I had a love-hate relationship with this. It was great because that meant there were no cliffhangers at the end of chapters that I had to quickly read 2 chapters to find out what happened next. But it also started to feel like I was reading 2 different books at once. It was really a game of give and take, and I think, in the end, that it was a good thing that it did this. Not every book can.
The magic was woven into the story pretty well. A lot of the time, it felt like it was just a piece of scenery in the background. While it was the crux of the plot in multiple ways, it just never played a big role in the story. And that was ok, because that meant there was more of a focus on characters and relationships and what was actually going on than making the magic look cool.
I ended up really liking this. I thought it was exciting and gripping while being really focused on the characters and their relationships. Loved the magic, and I can’t wait to see how this ends in the next book. (It’s only going to be a 2-part series, or so I’ve heard.)