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The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden (Review)

Title: The Casquette Girls
Editor(s): Alys Arden
Edition: Paperback, 565 pages
Publisher: Skyscape (imprint of Amazon Publishing)
Publication Date: November 17, 2015
Source: Won through Goodreads Giveaways
Buy: Amazon - Barnes & Noble - Book Depository

The Summary

Seven girls tied by time.
Five powers that bind.
One curse to lock the horror away.
One attic to keep the monsters at bay.

After the storm of the century rips apart New Orleans, sixteen-year-old Adele Le Moyne wants nothing more than her now silent city to return to normal. But with home resembling a war zone, a parish-wide curfew, and mysterious new faces lurking in the abandoned French Quarter, normal needs a new definition.

As the city murder rate soars, Adele finds herself tangled in a web of magic that weaves back to her own ancestors. Caught in a hurricane of myths and monsters, who can she trust when everyone has a secret and keeping them can mean life or death? Unless . . . you’re immortal.
My Opinion

I had never heard of this book before I won it from Goodreads.  The premise sounded interesting, so I figured why not?  Not a bad decision because The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden was excellent.  Set after the desolation from Katrina (though the hurricane is never named), Arden pays homage to the macabre history of the city, and the resilence of the people of love New Orleans.

The story follows two girls living centuries apart, Adele and her ancestor Adeline, both destined to save their loved ones from a supernatural threat: vampires.  Yes, this book does have vampires in it, but that falls in line with the history of New Orleans.  As the title of the book suggests, young brides sent from France, came to the new world with nothing but their "hope chests", a box that resembled a coffin.  Hence the name Casquette, or Casket, Girls.  Legend has it that vampires stowed away in these boxes to come to New Orleans and started feeding on the people.  This is the lore that Arden works with, changing some of the origins for her own purposes, but still keeping her vampires close to the traditional vampires of old (no sparkling here).

Vampires aren't the only supernatural element either.  Arden also incorporates New Orleans long history with magic, both voodoo and witchcraft.  These are the two forces working against each other, with both Adele and Adeline learning what they are capable for through trial and tribulation.  Both girls have a journey of survival and rebuilding, one trying to build her home back from destruction and another trying to build a new home in a completely new place.  

To tell both girls stories, Arden uses alternating chapters, which I thought was done very well.  I was never confused about who's point of view I was reading from, which can sometimes happen when their's alternating narrators.  Her prose was beautiful, the description of New Orleans obviously lovingly crafted, but the pace was slow, so don't expect a fast resolution.  This books comes in at a whopping 565 pages, and most of that is setting up the last quarter of the book.  I personally don't mind a slow build when the pay off is good, so if this bothers you keep that in mind.

The each character was much more complex than at first glance, and I loved them all...well the mortal characters.  I did not like any of the vampires, which is good because honestly why should I like murderers (think about it, they drain people of their blood; that is NOT sexy)?  But man, of course there is a romance, which I don't think will ever be written out of supernatural books nowadays.  So while I really liked the characters and the plot, the romance aspect annoyed me.

I got really into this book right away: Adele is a great leading lady, the plot is engrossing and has many twists and turns, the setting paints a picture of New Orleans both pre- and post-hurricane, and I love the lore within it.  It was slow, but with all the twists it still kept you on your toes.  I'm trying not to reveal too much because I think it's really important for you to discover everything that happens for yourself.  I know this is a big book, but it is very good.  Also fun fact: this is a part of a series, which is another reason why I'm cool with the slowbuild.

If you love the supernatural, if you love New Orleans, if you love kick-butt leading ladies, and if you love the slow build, then you have to check out The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden!

Final Rating

Book Cover: 3/5

Book Title: 4/5
Plot: 8/10
Characters: 9/10
Writing: 9/10
Endings: 8/10
Overall: 41/50: B-

1 comment:

  1. Haha, what is it with New Orleans and urban fantasy? I've read a number of ones set in that particular city with vampires and witches, lol.

    At the very least, this book DOES seem to have a pretty awesome premise, even if vampires are pretty overused in urban fantasy nowadays. I'll have to look into reading it when I need my next UF fix. ^-^

    Congrats on winning it via Goodreads. You're having much more luck than me lately!

    Brittany @ http://www.spacebetweenthespines.com/


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