So before I run off to a tropical paradise and get eaten by a jaguar, I figured that I would give you a book review before I left. Mostly so that there is something to remember me by after I’m nommed by a giant cat. Because if there is one way in which I definitely want to be remembered it is by my stellar book reviews. Surprisingly, one of the books I reviewed is about getting stranded on a tropical paradise and having to survive!
Libba Bray, author of Going Bovine (also in our library, hint, hint) is at it again with another amazing book that kept me up for most of the night, mostly due to my unwillingness to put it down. Beauty Queens is all about the survival of a few teen beauty queens whose plane crashed onto a deserted island. They are without food, water, shelter, communication and make up. There is no way for them to know who is going to survive to become Miss Teen Dream, but they are not going to lose their sparkle power! This island’s new leadership is based on the core foundation of the pageant industry, smile and shine! The beauty queens survival is in jeopardy thanks to a shady government, a crazed dictator, and a few larger than life snakes. Nothing that a Teen Dream Queen cannot handle. The hunky pirates on the other hand, they could cause a few problems.
This book is a wonderful combination of snark, adventure, romance and social commentary. Libba Bray does a wonderful job of making a cast full of beauty queens identifiable, an especially hard job considering the number of characters that this book contains. The relationships between girls, pirates, government agents and political leaders are all well thought out and make complete sense. The humor is tempered with serious commentary, and gives one a chance to look at the beauty industry, reality TV, our culture and what it means to be a woman without being overwhelmed. I was in stitches the whole time thanks to Libba Bray’s wit, and strongly recommend this book for everyone who has existed ever.
Not to be outdone by Ms. Bray, the lovely Jennifer Bradbury has a book coming out as well and once again, strong heroines and political drama reign supreme! Wrapped is the tantalizing story of Agnes Wilkins, a girl getting ready for her debut season and all of the rigors of finding the perfect husband. Too bad Agnes will never be the perfect wife. She is fluent in ten languages, loves learning and wants to travel the world, not travel to the next party in London. Agnes is sure that her fate is sealed when Lord Showalter pays special attention to her, making it obvious to everyone that she is his intended. Agnes decides to rebel a little, taking an ancient artifact from a mummy unwrapping party. Lord Showalter did say they got to keep what they found, so what harm was it really? Anyway, that artifact belongs to the Egyptian people, not the English. Then people who were at the party start getting hurt, their homes ransacked. Agnes knows that something is not quite right with this situation, and it is up to her, and a very handsome museum worker, to figure out how mummies, Napoleon, and Egyptian death gods fit together.
I love me a good debutante drama. I love it even more when it is brilliantly crafted, with a smart, competent heroine who is not about to shriek the moment a dead mummy is placed before her. Agnes’ has all the sense I would wish on a heroine, plus the historical sensibility one would expect in a historically set piece of fiction. The political intrigue is wonderfully woven into the story, and feels quite right for the time period. There are no far-fetched happenstances, you are never left trying to piece something together that does not quite make sense, a welcome thing in a historical romance, where you can sometimes trip over plot holes. Bradbury does a wonderful job crafting this story, and leaves me wanting more. I loved Agnes and Caedmon and want more adventures with them, preferably with the same historical bent. So Jennifer you can just go about writing a sequel right now, I’ll just sit here and wait impatiently.