Review: Muse by Brittany Cavallaro

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“The year is 1893, and war is brewing in the First American Kingdom. But Claire Emerson has a bigger problem. While her father prepares to reveal the mighty weapon he’s created to showcase the might of their province, St. Cloud, in the World’s Fair, Claire is crafting a plan to escape.

Claire’s father is a sought-after inventor, but he believes his genius is a gift, granted to him by his daughter’s touch. He’s kept Claire under his control for years. As St. Cloud prepares for war, Claire plans to claim her life for herself, even as her best friend, Beatrix, tries to convince her to stay and help with the growing resistance movement that wants to see a woman on the throne. At any cost.

When her father’s weapon fails to fire on the fair’s opening day, Claire is taken captive by Governor Remy Duchamp, St. Cloud’s young, untried ruler. Remy believes that Claire’s touch bestows graces he’s never had, and with his governing power weakening and many political rivals planning his demise, Claire might be his only and best ally. But the last thing that Claire has ever wanted is to be someone else’s muse. Still, affections can change as quickly as the winds of war. And Claire has a choice to make: Will she quietly remake her world from the shadows—or bring it down in flames?”

REVIEW:

I love alternate-history stories, so when I read the synopsis for Muse I immediately requested it from my library. I did not expect to finish this book in less than 48 hours, but once the plot picked up I was sucked into this story.

The fact that this takes place during what would have been the Chicago Worlds’ Fair really strengthens this plot and setting. Claire is a very passive heroine. She is smart and capable but during this time period, a woman’s place was to be seen and not heard. She is just looking to escape her cruel and mad father, not change the world. Her friend Beatrix is the exact opposite, she wants to start a revolution.

I loved the mystery surrounding Claire and her “powers”. Is this just the raving madness of the geniuses surrounding Claire’s life, or does Claire actually have some kind of magic touch? It was super interesting to try and figure out. I liked the argument presented as well for equal representation. Which is more important, just a woman in power or someone who reflects your ideals?

My one flaw with this book is that I just didn’t like the friendship between Claire and Beatrix. To me, it felt like Beatrix didn’t care about Claire and just used her to her advantage. Talking about her secrets to the D.A.R., not being sympathetic to her father’s abuse, and using her to further the D.A.R’s schemes without truly asking Claire. I just didn’t understand the bond, we weren’t really shown why their friendship was so important.

This book leaves us with a great cliffhanger and I will be eagerly awaiting the next book’s release.

RATING: 4/5

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February Releases to Get Excited About

I can’t believe January is almost over. A new month mean new releases! There are a ton of releases happening in February, below are just a couple that I am excited for…

# 1 – A Court of Silver and Flames by Sarah J. Maas (February 16, 2021)

A Court of Silver Flames is the first spin-off book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas.  It is set after the events of A Court of Frost and Starlight and is told in the perspectives of Nesta and Cassian.

I feel like this is on everyone’s TBR. I pre-ordered my copy just last week, and I’m starting to get more excited as the date gets closer. Honestly, for me this is kind of a mixed bag. I love this series because I love Feyre and Rhysand. I don’t really care about Nesta, so it should be an interesting read.

#2 – The Gilded Ones by Namina Foma (February 9, 2021)

Sixteen-year-old Deka seeks acceptance and absolution. Every year adolescent girls in the patriarchal kingdom of Otera prepare for the Ritual of Purity that determines whether they can join their communities as pure-blooded women or be cast out and branded impure monsters. Brown-skinned, gray-eyed Deka yearns to prove she belongs, but when her blood runs gold, she’s revealed to be an alaki—a near-immortal woman warrior—and is carted away to become the front line of defense for the people who’ve discarded her.

Honestly, this book sounds incredible and seems like the start of an exciting new fantasy series.

#3 – A Lady’s Formula for Love by Elizabeth Everett (February 9, 2021)

“What is a Victorian lady’s formula for love? Mix one brilliant noblewoman and her enigmatic protection officer. Add in a measure of danger and attraction. Heat over the warmth of humor and friendship, and the result is more than simple chemistry–it’s elemental.”

A Victorian bodyguard romance novel, sign me up! I am so excited for this book.

#4 – Muse by Brittany Cavallaro (February 2, 2021)

American Royals meets The Winner’s Curse in the first book of bestselling author Brittany Cavallaro’s new duology, set in an alternate history American monarchy where a girl grapples for control of her own life in the middle of a looming war.”

I really love takes on alternate history. This book sounds super interesting and honestly, the cover along sucks me in.

#5 – A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth (February 23, 2021)

The Cruel Prince meets City of Bones in this thrilling urban fantasy set in the magical underworld of Toronto that follows a queer cast of characters racing to stop a serial killer whose crimes could expose the hidden world of faeries to humans.

A new exciting fantasy series, that helps to make the fantasy genre more inclusive.

#6 – Into the Dark by Claudia Gray (February 2, 2021)

“Padawan Reath Silas is being sent from the cosmopolitan galactic capital of Coruscant to the undeveloped frontier—and he couldn’t be less happy about it. He’d rather stay at the Jedi Temple, studying the archives. But when the ship he’s traveling on is knocked out of hyperspace in a galactic-wide disaster, Reath finds himself at the center of the action. The Jedi and their traveling companions find refuge on what appears to be an abandoned space station. But then strange things start happening, leading the Jedi to investigate the truth behind the mysterious station, a truth that could end in tragedy….”

Lucasfilm launched their new series of novels taking place in the High Republic Days in January. I’m very excited for this new series and Claudia Gray has written some of my favorite Star Wars novels.

Now I’ll be adding all of these books to my ever growing TBR! Follow along on my Instagram!