August 6, 2018

Book Review: Grim Lovelies by Megan Shepherd

Source: Netgalley

Publication Date: October 2, 2018

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.

Grim Lovelies bewitched me from the first page to the last. I love everything about this book –starting with the decadent black and red cover which perfectly embodies everything inside its pages:

Goblins partying in the catacombs
Witches who as get their powers from living things
Beasties – animals transformed to humans 
Fighting topiaries
Hermes bags masquerading oubliettes
Animal sacrifice (FYI)

And … Paris!

“The more she saw of Paris, the more dreamlike it was; she wasn’t sure where the streetlights ended and the stars began.”

Grim Lovelies married two of my reading loves: Paris and rich fantasy.  Shepherd’s worldbuilding – of a magical Paris alongside an unsuspecting human one – is intricate. I willingly fell under its spell.  Once I started reading, I didn’t want to stop, eager to experience whatever strange and beautiful/repulsive surprise she had in store. Besides the storytelling, I loved the inclusion of gay and transgender fairy tale themes which made the narrative all the richer.  

I cannot wait for the sequel … The Gargoyle Witch???

“’You aren’t heroes.’

“’Then what are we?’

“’Monsters! Oh come, don’t look surprised. Nothing good is ever created from magic. You were made to be the most terrifying thing in the known world.’”

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