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 the glittering first book in a new, epic YA fantasy series. 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 am so mad. So. Mad. I read this book knowing I would love it, but believing that the second book had come out already so I would be able to read it RIGHT AWAY. But, in fact, I am an idiot. The second (and final) book of this series does not come out until AUGUST. So, I simultaneously read it too early to buy the sequel but also too late to scrounge up an ARC. Woe is me.
Basically, this book was g r e a t. Up until the final pages it had me engaged and drawn into the story in a way that not many books can. This book was compared by many to the style of Bardugo and Black, and it will not disappoint if you are fans of their writing. Shepard, whom I enjoyed for her The Madman’s Daughter trilogy, strikes again with an incredibly fascinating and twisty story. Although I had some issues with a few of the characters in that trilogy, Shepard’s writing style really shined and made me keep reading. This series had the same spark to it, but I am much more drawn to the characters and their overall story.
The world building was pretty strong. The readers, and the characters, knew about the magic system and the world enough that they could understand what was going on, but not so much that we were bored. I was left guessing until the end, and honestly pretty dang stressed out.
I enjoyed the dynamics of the characters as a whole. But, a few characters I had a problem with fundamentally (coughBeaucough) but then there were some that I loved and fulfilled my very obvious favorite character of the dark haired evil prince that I should hate but love instead (lol I am so predictable). Now, as I said, I did have some issues with some of the characters. Beau’s treatment of our heroine was a bit subpar, at best. However, I am choosing to believe that this is a reflection of his animal counterpart’s traits, and is something he will grow out of in his human form (no spoilers but also WHAT WAS THAT ENDING).
As I said, I enjoyed this book very much as a whole. It has fascinating magic, great world building (who doesn’t love Paris!), and dynamic characters (I was partial to the British Goblins ( 🙁 rip). There was little that I didn’t love, and i really think most of that will be used as a plot in the second book!
I look forward to seeing what Shepard brings to the table next!
4 out of 5.