PURCHASE:Amazon | Book Depository
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, the infamous Thief Taker General who moves seamlessly between the city's criminal underworld and its most elite upper 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 Graeden Sinclair, the son of a wealthy merchant. Grae has traveled the world, has 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 received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
I haz mixed feelings about this book and that makes me very sad. I really wanted to love it and love it I did not.
Before getting into the nitty gritty, I just wanted to give a shout out to whoever was in charge of all the artwork on the pages and whoever was in charge of the cover because holy guacamole, can I get a GORGEOUSSSSS?
On to more serious stuff though. Lady A was not exactly what I expected. She is not nearly as badass as I had imagined her to be. I wanted to be blown away by her badassery. I wanted to cheer her on as she dealt with the nobility and watched them shrink in fear but sadly that’s not what happened because Arista, aka Lady A, does not enjoy blackmailing the nobility. Alas her soul is not as dark as mine and she hates the life she lives. She would do anything to get out of it (and rightfully so because her ‘master’ is a complete waste of oxygen.)
I just really have a thing for books involving crime okay? I love seeing people be manipulated and not even know it’s happening. I LOVE all the cleverness usually involved in books where the main character is part of the crime life but that’s not what I got in this book which would explain my reaction. Now please understand that a lot of this is just personal taste and not really reflective of the book because in spite of my expectations, I actually found myself warming up to Lady A. Sometimes she was a little too loyal in my opinion (given the way she had grown up I kind of expected her to be hardened instead of being soft in terms of the people she has emotional connections with) but in the long run, she was just a young girl trying to make the best of her resources to figure the best way out of a life she wants nothing to do with. I even enjoyed seeing her come across barriers she should have been able to account for but couldn’t because no one can think of everything.
I loved that she was faced with challenges that might have seemed obvious to the reader (and weren’t even major twists or anything) but the actual truth is that no one can be all knowing and more likely than not, things aren’t going to turn out the way you want them to.
My biggest issue with this book was the romance. I didn’t like it. At the beginning of the novel Arista clearly has a crush on Nic but then suddenly she meets Grae and her feelings just disappear. I am appreciative of the fact that there was no love triangle but seriously. Feelings don’t just vazoom (aka disappear)! I also just didn’t like Grae. It’s not that he was bad by any means. He was a sweetheart and treated Arista with the respect she deserved and blah blah blah. My problem was that I didn’t understand his fascination with Arista and I didn’t like how he was casted as Arista’s savior. That girl has brains and is clever, she can save herself. She is a young independent woman who don’t need no man! (although romantic interests can be fun) I think Grae contrasted her character so much it almost made Arista seem helpless when she isn’t.
My favorite character was obviously Nic. Nic is great. He is such a complex character and I LOVED IT. I only wish we could have seen more of him.
The book was very well paced and even though there were some cheesy bits, it was a fun read. I actually really did enjoy all the complicated tangledness (trying to make a pun here guys, just roll with it.) I just wish we actually got more into the secret bartering bit and got to learn what exactly was happening and what kind of secrets the nobility traded to get things accomplished. I did enjoy the set up though and I also liked the world that Bross had created.
I would suggest not to get lured in by the promise of crime because this book doesn’t focus so much on the fascinating crime life than it does on Arista. It’s her story to a better life, not about how she engages in crime. The bits involving crime were great but also, like I said, it’s Arista’s story to a better life.
This was a fun book to read and while I didn’t love it, I’d still say it’s something to read if you’re in the mood for a light and entertaining book.
Post Script: I also just found out there will be a sequel and I am DEFINITELY curious to see where things will go! This could get verreh interesting.
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