I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Tangled Webs by Lee Bross
Series: Tangled Webs #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on June 23rd 2015
Genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
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London, 1725. Everybody has a secret. Lady A will keep yours—for a price. This sumptuous, scandalous YA novel is wickedly addictive.
Lady A is the most notorious blackmailer in the city. With just a mask and a gown to disguise her, she sweeps into lavish balls and exclusive events collecting the most valuable currency in 1725 London—secrets.
But leading a double life isn't easy. By day Lady A is just a sixteen-year-old girl named Arista who lives in fear of her abusive master, Bones, and passes herself off as a boy to move safely through the squalor of London's slums. When Bones attempts to dispose of his pawn forever, Arista is rescued by the last person she expects: Jonathan Wild, an infamous thief who moves seamlessly between the city's criminal underworld and its most elite circles. Arista partners with Wild on her own terms in the hopes of saving enough money to buy passage out of London.
Everything changes when she meets Grae Sinclair, the son of a wealthy merchant. Grae has traveled the world, seen the exotic lands Arista has longed to escape to her whole life, and he loves Arista for who she is—not for what she can do for him. Being with Grae gives something Arista something precious that she swore off long ago: hope. He has promised to help Arista escape the life of crime that has claimed her since she was a child. But can you ever truly escape the past?
I liked this. It was pretty much what I expected. I liked the historical aspect. I wished there was a bit more of it, though. It seemed very focused on Arista.
I liked that she had a friend in Becky, but it was more of a servant/mistress relationship than a friendship. I guess it was a friendship, but it didn’t feel like enough. Also, Arista didn’t talk enough to Becky. Becky seemed to do all the talking and Arista was silent. That happens a lot in books. Jesus, just talk to people. Acknowledge them in some way. They say something, then we get a lot of exposition or inner dialogue from the MC, then they say something else, and the MC just stays silent and then eventually does something or changes the subject. So frustrating. And unfair.
I also thought Grae was basically too good to be true. At least he was suspicious at all the right moments, but he forgave way too quickly. And wanted to move things along pretty quickly. There was definitely some insta-love there. I mean, great for Arista and all, to have the perfect man come into her hellish life, but seriously, how lucky is that? Especially the circumstances that allowed them to be together in the first place.
I mean, the story did seem to be going a little too well for the middle of the book, up until about 70%. I was thinking, this is great and all, but please don’t wrap this up in a pretty little bow and say The End. No way. You’re not getting off that easily. And sure enough, everything went to hell. Probably some of the worst things happened.
We ended up losing someone pretty important, but it would have been more meaningful if I had grown to care about that person, but that wasn’t really the case. The person was introduced in the beginning as this great person, always looking out for Arista, her one true friend/protector and all that, but then disappears for the middle of the book, and we learn some shady things. Then the person comes back towards the end and does an equal number of horrible and good things. And then BAM. Gone. So I’m not really sure how to feel. But I guess it gives a clean ending to that part of the story. I’m not sure what any other ending would have been.
I dunno, the rest of the plot was fine. I was never really sure where it was going to go. I could predict some things, but was occasionally wrong. It was the sort of book where you never really feel completely safe or certain about anything. As Arista, I was constantly looking over my shoulder and distrusting everyone. She was a little naïve about some things, but ultimately she was smart. And apparently very good at passing for a boy.
So, good book. Average amount of time to read. Intriguing story. So-so characters.
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