Sunday, June 29, 2014

Review: The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden

After the Storm of the Century rips apart New Orleans, Adele Le Moyne and her father are among the first to return to the city following the mandatory evacuation. Adele wants nothing more than for life to return to normal, but with the silent city resembling a mold-infested war zone, a parish-wide curfew, and mysterious new faces lurking in the abandoned French Quarter, normal will have to be redefined.

Events too unnatural – even for New Orleans – lead Adele to an attic that has been sealed for three hundred years, and the chaos she unleashes threatens not only her life but everyone she knows. Mother Nature couldn’t drain the joie de vivre from the Big Easy, but someone or something is draining life from its residents.

Caught suddenly in a hurricane of eighteenth-century myths and monsters, Adele must quickly untangle a web of magic that links the climbing murder rate back to her own ancestors. But who can you trust in a city where everyone has a secret, and where keeping them can be a matter of life and death – unless, that is, you’re immortal.

My Rating


My Review

YA paranormal is a genre that seems to get a lot of crap about being overdone and having a load of cliches. Well, clearly, people who think that haven't read Arden's stunning debut, which tells a paranormal story like no other. Delightfully dark and unique, fans of the strange and abnormal will absolutely devour The Casquette Girls, and end up hungry for more.

Despite it's fictional classification, the novel begins with a very real event - showing the consequences and devastation carried in the strong winds of natural disaster. Of what it is like to return to your home and find parts of it completely destroyed. On the resulting crime that plagues the town and the overbooked police. On the death. The scenes appear to mirror those of some apocalyptic films when they show something startlingly real. But more important than the destruction and darkness of The Storm is what else comes with it - rebuilding the city and a sense of unity and hope that gradually progresses throughout the novel.

Arden transitions cleanly from what could easily pass as realistic fiction to something a bit more supernatural. Through the use of myths and small but shattering glimpses of the abnormal, readers are eased into the change without the pace slowing. The truth behind the myths then felt more welcome and intriguing and not too much like a Band-Aid being ripped off.

For a novel with this kind of lore and magic, what better setting than the great city of New Orleans? Not only does The Casquette Girls capture some of the city's history, but shows just how unique and wonderful New Orleans is. I felt like I was learning more about the city and walking on the tour right alongside Isaac (as he's a Northerner). Now, after reading, I want to get my Yankee butt down to Louisiana more than ever.

Speaking of Isaac, I really did enjoy the characters of The Casquette Girls, whether they be lead or supporting. Initially, it did seem like the number of attractive men around Adele's age was exceptionally high (is it something in the water? If so, can we bottle it?). But, even if it didn't more naturally progress into a love V and make a lot more sense through circumstance, I suppose that's not a bad problem to have. I liked Adele as a protagonist as she's smart, creative and very authentic as a teenage character. She's open without completely accepting everything. Even more impressive was Adele's father, 'Mac;. In so many YA novels, the parents are looked over or forgotten. Not only is this not the case in The Casquette Girls, but Mac manages to have such a great involvement that his character quickly becomes a favorite. Even Adeline was interesting, and I absolutely loved the journal entries that gave a new voice, a historical background, and an adventurous narrative all rolled into one.

The Casquette Girls takes superstition, magic, and lore and incorporates them into reality, resulting in a plot that is dark, dangerous and exciting. It was a hard-to-put-down novel that had me changing my predictions and opinions more often than not. Although I was left with some unanswered questions and cliffhanging lines (of which I will not go into but may or may not involve a certain Italian Stallion character who has the attractive bad boy image down pat) that have me itching for book two. The Casquette Girls is definitely a novel to check out.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Justine! Thanks so much for reading and reviewing The Casquette Girls. Your last line actually had me cracking up ^_^ xo Alys