*I received a copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Title: Grim Lovelies
Author: Megan Shepherd
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
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.
From New York Times bestselling author Megan Shepherd, Grim Lovelies is an epic and glittering YA fantasy. 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.Review: While there were elements of suspense keeping this story fast-paced, I didn’t really feel invested in the story. I think I kind of expected a darker story with more of a fairytale vibe. I think the issue with this story is that there is a lot going on. There are a lot of different subplots happening and nothing ever really feels like it gets resolved in any way. Including the Beasties, there are so many characters in this book and there wasn’t enough room to develop them all. It would have been nice to feel invested in the characters and for them to have more background and emotional depth.
The Haute is made up of four categories of beings: Royals, Witches, Goblins, and Beasties. In this book, magic is a delicate balance; it can only be done if enough life is consumed, and if a difficult spell is attempted by a lesser magical being, the consequences can be deadly. There are definitely a few gruesome scenes in this book, especially concerning animals.
Grim Lovelies begins with the murder of Mada Vittora, a Witch who has kept the Beasties as slaves. Anouk suddenly finds herself free to leave the house for the first time and she and her Beastie friends end up on a mad dash across Paris in a race against time. Once a Witch dies, all her spells die with her, and so the Beasties only have three days to find someone to recast the spell that keeps them human.
There is a sort-of romance subplot, but it was kind of bland and super awkward to read because it played out like an instant love type of relationship, but it also felt one-sided. I think the main issue with the romance is that the characters definitely lacked the emotional depth necessary. One thing I did enjoy in this story were the villains. One actually slightly reminded me of the Darkling, at least in his personality. There was definitely a lot of betrayal going on and not many places Anouk and her friends could turn for help.
Overall, this was an okay read for me. I think most of it has to do with what my expectations were going in and what the book actually was. This book definitely had all the right ingredients to be great, but it needed more depth I think. I also didn’t realize that this would be a series when I got to the end as I expected a standalone. But, if you love books with suspense, magic, secrets, romance, and murder then Grim Lovelies is definitely for you!