They are the Beautiful Ones, Loisail’s most notable socialites, and this spring is Nina’s chance to join their ranks, courtesy of her well-connected cousin and his calculating wife– GoodReads
One of the things I love about Silvia Moreno-Garcia is how diverse she is as an author. This book is a different flow, atmosphere and completely different time period as well than her other books. Then again it’s not so startling all of this differs when it’s an entirely different genre from Mexican Gothic (and that is entirely different than Gods of Jade and Shadow which is different than..you get the point).
For this book, I would say the most accurate comparison is The Illusionist. There’s a sense of darkness, there’s a sense of things not being entirely what they seem for our MC and a love story that over-arcs it all.
Nina is a naive character, she’s young, sweet, and best of all she is unafraid to be herself despite how it chafes against society; that especially angers her cousin’s wife. A wife who has a secret to her past and in a way reminds me a little of Becky from Vanity Fair but only in mannerisms and ambition, this story is uniquely its own.
Nina and Valerie are two opposing forces and there’s one person between them that they share a connection to, and it isn’t Nina’s cousin it’s Hector. A man spurned by the past and who Nina finds herself drawn to, he’s just like her; he has powers and rather than being shamed for them he has become a man of the stage. I loved the connection between Nina and Hector and the growth of their relationship was super satisfying.
The women are showing two different sides to women who straddle this certain circle of society and their times during the Grand Season are so different; one a wife already and the other just having her first season. What Nina can’t prepare for is Valerie’s scheming or even what Hector has in mind. I loved watching her deal with all the curveballs though and watching her grow.
The writing is lyrical and vivid, the pacing is this lovely sort of meandering walk for the story to properly build up. It’s a love triangle and the magic is more of an added nuance than a huge part of the plot though it does play its part! Especially for Nina! (Also the fact that Nina loves entomology, beetles in particular, is just a favorite part of the book for me)
All’s fair in love and war and I really just enjoyed it from start to finish. It takes its time and Moreno-Garcia gives us a really well rounded story with such a satisfying ending. I loved it!
5/5 Cups of coffee from me, now, I’m off to watch ‘The Illusionist.’