Monday, November 4, 2013

Book Review: Blythewood by Carol Goodman

Blythewood
Author:  Carol Goodman
Publisher:  Viking Juvenile, 496 pages
Publication Date:  October 8, 2013

From Goodreads:
At seventeen, Avaline Hall has already buried her mother, survived a horrific factory fire, and escaped from an insane asylum. Now she’s on her way to Blythewood Academy, the elite boarding school in New York’s mist-shrouded Hudson Valley that her mother attended—and was expelled from. Though she’s afraid her high society classmates won’t accept a factory girl in their midst, Ava is desperate to unravel her family’s murky past, discover the identity of the father she’s never known, and perhaps finally understand her mother’s abrupt suicide. She’s also on the hunt for the identity of the mysterious boy who rescued her from the fire. And she suspects the answers she seeks lie at Blythewood.    

But nothing could have prepared her for the dark secret of what Blythewood is, and what its students are being trained to do. Haunted by dreams of a winged boy and pursued by visions of a sinister man who breathes smoke, Ava isn’t sure if she’s losing her mind or getting closer to the truth. And the more rigorously Ava digs into the past, the more dangerous her present becomes.    

Vivid and atmospheric, full of mystery and magic, this romantic page-turner by bestselling author Carol Goodman tells the story of a world on the brink of change and the girl who is the catalyst for it all.


Review:
1911, all girls boarding school, mystery, magic, faeries, and Darklings (cursed angels)...what's not to like?  I love Carol Goodman, and her first YA novel is not to be missed.  I loved the magical setting and the mystery.  I really liked Ava, who is suddenly thrust into this new life, trying to find out the truth about her mom's past (including who her dad is), and learning why she hears bells ringing in her head (the whole bell thing was fascinating).

There are a lot of secondary characters that are important to the story and extremely well-developed, including Helen, who comes from a very wealthy family in New York, Daisy from Kansas City, Sarah, a scholarship student, Nathan, the Headmistress's son and the only boy at Blythewood since he got kicked out of his school, and of course the mystery boy who saves Ava from the fire.  It's interesting how the novel deals with prejudices among the students (definitely a class division) and prejudices when it comes to the faeries and the Darklings.  

The book is so well-written and richly detailed.  The world-building and the mythology/legends were amazing and there were twists and turns in the plot that kept me turning the pages.  It's light on romance, but I see a lot of potential about that sub-plot in the future (and there may even be a love triangle that could be quite interesting).  I'm definitely looking forward to the next book.

Posted by:  Pam

10 comments:

  1. Oooh, this sounds like something right up my alley! Never heard of it, but will definitely be adding to my TBR. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've read almost all of Carol Goodman's "adult" novels, so I knew I had to read this. ~Pam

      Delete
  2. I've been wanting to read this for a long time! I saw it on GR months ago and just knew it would be something I liked. So glad to hear it turned out well. I love books with well-developed world building!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great world-building and complex, interesting characters make this a really good read. Hope you enjoy it! ~Pam

      Delete
  3. I'd been seeing this a lot but wasn't too sure if I should give it a try. Actually sounds really interesting and thanks to this review, it's definitely one I will be getting my hands on soon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's definitely interesting, there's just so much to this world Carol Goodman has created. I'm glad it's a trilogy, hope you end up enjoying it! ~Pam

      Delete
  4. I like how you talk about the different prejudices in this story. That's a great point. You're' right, world building, surprises and mythology including the bells is fascinating. And so well written and rich. All the better! I can't wait for more from these characters. There are a lot of them! I love how the smallest moments between Ava and that boy were filled with shivery tension. MMMM. Excited to discuss this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I'm glad this is a trilogy because there are so many great, complex and interesting characters along with such a rich world. And yes, the I loved the scenes between Ava and the boy, I wish there had been more of them! ~Pam

      Delete
  5. Oo glowing review! Adding this to the TBR!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really did enjoy it, hope you do too! ~Pam

      Delete