There are some books you see and you just know you need to read it. The title all in itself was enough to intrigue me, but the cover’s style also caught my eye. I’m very happy that NetGalley approved my request for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!
After unwittingly helping her mother poison King Louis XIV, seventeen-year-old alchemist Mirabelle Monvoisin is forced to see her mother’s Shadow Society in a horrifying new light: they’re not heroes of the people, as they’ve always claimed to be, but murderers. Herself included. Mira tries to ease her guilt by brewing helpful curatives, but her hunger tonics and headache remedies cannot right past wrongs or save the dissenters her mother vows to purge.
Royal bastard Josse de Bourbon is more kitchen boy than fils de France. But when the Shadow Society assassinates the Sun King and half the royal court, he must become the prince he was never meant to be in order to save his injured sisters and the petulant Dauphin. Forced to hide in the derelict sewers beneath the city, any hope of reclaiming Paris seems impossible—until Josse’s path collides with Mirabelle’s, and he finds a surprising ally in his sworn enemy.
She’s a deadly poisoner. He’s a bastard prince. Together, they form a tenuous pact to unite the commoners and former nobility against the Shadow Society. But can a rebellion built on mistrust ever hope to succeed?
Doesn’t that summary just give you chills?
So as I mentioned in my Goodreads review, this book took me a little while to get into. I don’t know why it took me awhile, but I just didn’t want to pick up my phone and read it. Once I got through that weird phase though, the book was fantastic.
Mirabelle is a fantastic heroine. She has a good character arc, is bold and fierce, and learns to create a new powerful identity for herself. She is brave and has a loyal devotion to those she loves. I think her resilience throughout the book is something to look up to for many readers.
Josse is also an admirable hero. His devotion to his sisters is amazing, and he has so many different emotions throughout the book. It was really fun to see him grow and evolve as we learn more about the other characters, like his royal half-siblings and Mirabelle.
The author’s note at the end explains that most of the events and characters in her book are historically accurate, aside from the magical tonics and beasts of course. This really makes me want to learn more about the actual La Voisin and the chain of events she started. I think this is one of the few historical fantasy books that I’ve read that incorporates so much real history, and I am thoroughly impressed by the amount of research that the author must have done before playing with the fantasy portion of the book.
I think I would have gotten into this book a lot faster if it had been a physical copy rather than a digital copy, just because I don’t like to be on my phone so much. I would really recommend reading this book if you enjoy exciting and innovative plots with a dash of romance and magic.