This is an amusing book. It has its issues – including that, for a smart girl, our heroine takes quite some time longer than I would have expected to figure out what is going on in Stranje House – but is a fun read nonetheless. It’s definitely a YA, but can still be enjoyed by adults. The themes, however, are all aimed more at teens than adults. For instance, even though there is talk of treason and spies on both sides of the cause, the girls worry more about how to stop the (good) spies from getting hurt instead of what the other side is up to. We find out about the bad guys’ plot because of events that occur, and not because of anything the girls are told or find out.
Granted, this is quite possibly more realistic for the time period. However, when the novel starts out with a girl being banished for trying to design invisible ink and sent to a reform house where the other girls are being tortured, something tells me that realism is to be taken with a grain of salt. In any case, it is a fun story and I am looking forward to the second book, which will follow Tess’s life (and young romance). Hopefully we’ll get to see more of Georgie (the heroine from this first novel, short for Georgiana) in book 2 as well, since she finally started to get truly interesting (as opposed to confused) by the second half of this first book.
I do like the premise for this book. I like a lot of the supporting characters, and look forward to reading from the other girls’ points of view (since that appears to be the way the series is going). I also think that at least the main villain for this book is well thought-out, and provides a good adversary for Georgie. However, since Georgie is completely untrained, that may not be saying as much as it could. I will be interested to see how this villain grows (or shows more depth) to keep up with the other girls, or what new villains are introduced to keep things interesting. Hopefully the other girls don’t get shallower to compensate.
Anyway, this was a fun read. I’ll be looking for book 2. But do go into it expecting a fun read and not something deeper.