Friday, March 8, 2019

Audiobook Review: Grim Lovelies by Megan Shepherd

Title: Grim Lovelies (Grim Lovelies #1)
Author: Megan Shepherd
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Pages: 376
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Seventeen-year-old Anouk envies the human world, where people known as Pretties lavish themselves in fast cars, high fashion, and have the freedom to fall in love. But Anouk can never have those things, because she is not really human. Enchanted from animal to human girl and forbidden to venture beyond her familiar Parisian prison, Anouk is a Beastie: destined for a life surrounded by dust bunnies and cinders serving Mada Vittora, the evil witch who spelled her into existence. That is, until one day she finds her mistress murdered in a pool of blood—and Anouk is accused of the crime.

Now, the world she always dreamed of is rife with danger. Pursued through Paris by the underground magical society known as the Haute, Anouk and her fellow Beasties only have three days to find the real killer before the spell keeping them human fades away. If they fail, they will lose the only lives they’ve ever known…but if they succeed, they could be more powerful than anyone ever bargained for.

From New York Times bestselling author Megan Shepherd, Grim Lovelies is an epic and glittering YA fantasy. Prepare to be spellbound by the world of Grim Lovelies, where secrets have been long buried, friends can become enemies, and everything—especially humanity—comes at a price. 

Megan Shepherd's The Madman's Daughter trilogy was one of my early YA reads and I absolutely fell in love with it! When I picked up her second series, The Cage, I was... underwhelmed. I read all three books to give it as much of a chance as possible, but I just HATED it. When I saw Grim Lovelies, I was very, very hesitantly optimistic. I actually traded for an ARC and never read it because I was so scared of hating it. Recently I saw it on my library's audiobook app and finally decided to give it a try. I am so glad I did!

Anouk is a Beastie. Although she is seventeen years old as far as the world is concerned, she has only been a human for a year. Previously she was an animal, but she doesn't know what kind (and she has no desire to know). Mada Vittora changed her to her current form and Anouk has been serving her ever since, although she dreams of going out into the world of the Pretties.

Anouk grew on me as the book went on. She begins very naive (obviously), but grows into herself as the story continues. While rightfully scared of the world she's never been in, she's also brave and selfless and sweet. Thankfully, she does a LOT of growing as a character and I loved how confident she was by the end of the story.

Mada Vittora also has other Beasties, Luc, Cricket, Beau, and Hunter Black. Each of these characters is distinct and important and I honestly loved them all, even Luc who is absent at the beginning. I thought Beau, the romantic interest, was mostly okay. He was definitely a bit overprotective of Anouk in the beginning, but he also grew on me by the end. The romance did leave me wanting a bit, but I feel like it'll be even better in the next book. Oh, and there's a not-quite love triangle that's completely ridiculous and done in the best possible way!

But of course we have to talk about the story! There's magic and romance and mystery and adventure, all wrapped up in a Parisian package that I was really surprised I enjoyed. This kind of fantasy is not usually something I'd go for, but I loved the mythology and the world building. Megan Shepherd has created a magical world and magic system that's super unique and endlessly fascinating! There are SO many more magical things aside from the Beasties! There's also a constant feeling of urgency, which makes this a quick read and one you will be dying to know the ending of.

Speaking of endings, this is not a standalone novel and I am now absolutely dying to see what happens next in Anouk's story! I really wasn't sure how she'd be able to wrap it up and yes, there is a cliffhanger, but Shepherd pulled it off and I am now totally invested in Anouk's story. If you're looking for a new fantasy with an amazing, unique magical world and great characters, I definitely recommend giving Grim Lovelies a try!