Monday, September 2, 2013

ARC Book Review: Marie Antoinette Serial Killer by Katie Alender

Title: Marie Antoinette Serial Killer
Author: Katie Alender
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Rating: 3/5

Cover Impressions: 
I like this one a lot.  The piercing blue eyes draw you in and the blood splatter elevates it from the "pretty girl in a dress" typical fare.  I do wish there was something in the background; a room, a palace, even the Eiffel tower.  Also chuckling at the tagline. 

The Gist:
Colette's life has fallen apart.  Her parents are separated, she has had to move into a tiny apartment and, despite being able to stay at her fancy prep school, she can't tell her snotty friends or they will ditch her.  BUT, there is one shining hope - a class trip to Paris that Colette hopes will change her life.  Upon landing, however, she discovers that there have been several gruesome murders in the city, and that they may have something to do with the mysterious family heirloom that she discovered in a long forgotten box. 


I am a huge fan of Katie Alender's Bad Girls Don't Die series.  So, naturally, I was all in when I found out that she was releasing a new book.  I don't know a great deal about Marie Antoinette, but the premise seemed really interesting.  The thought of the famous queen hunting down and decapitating those who had wronged her made me giggle and the promise of a Parisian setting had be intrigued.  I loved following the characters through some famous sites and hearing tidbits of history (punctuated by the appearance of a few dead participants!).  The plot is fun and unfolds at a brisk pace.  Once the mystery is laid bare, there is a real sense of urgency that kept me reading late into the night. 

I did have a little difficulty connecting with the main character.  Even though Colette is the better of her friends, she is still pretty shallow and vapid.  I had a hard time taking her seriously and I kept rolling my eyes at the very "teenagerness" of her every thought and comment.  I remember not being particularly fond of the main character in the Bad Girl's Don't Die series, but Alender had three books in which to let her grow and mature, this (as far as I know) is a stand-alone and Colette's transformation is a little too quick.  It was nice to watch her finally make some good choices when it comes to her friends.  The other characters are fun, but not particularly well developed.  Audrey didn't have much personality other than being the complete opposite of Hannah.  Brynn seemed completely unnecessary.  Hannah was completely heinous - Regina George would be proud of this one and I honestly felt bad for Pilar, she seemed so sweet and talented and kept putting up with Hannah's abuse.

The love interest is sweet, but doesn't overtake the plot.  This is not the story for someone looking for passion in Paris!  Jules is cute, sweet and respectful.  He is the complete opposite of Armand, who had developed a strange fixation on Colette and gave me a serious case of the heebie jeebies (also, I completely pictured him as Gaston from Beauty and the Beast).  I did really enjoy getting to see the relationship between Jules and his family, but the way it impacted Colette's own relationship with her brother was a little unrealistic.  By the end, Colette is a completely changed person.  She stands up to her friends, is generous with her mother and kind to her brother.  If this had happened at the end of a series of books, it could have felt like a genuine change, but the fact that it all occurs in 10 (I think) days, makes me doubt that it would last beyond the first few days at home.  Overall, the ending is a little too clean and easy.  All the loose ends are tied up, everyone is safe, Hannah is alone, Colette is a better person and everything goes back to normal.

I am definitely an Alender fan.  I will stick around for any other books that she writes, but here's hoping that she goes back to the series format that allows for some realistic character development.

Teaching/Parental Notes:

12 and up
Gender: Female
Sex: Kissing
Violence: Death by decapitation
Inappropriate Language: None
Substance Use/Abuse: None


Mel@Thedailyprophecy said...

It's a shame that her development and the ending aren't the best, but I love the sound of this book. Especially the fact that the romance doesn't overtake the story :) Great review!


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