I ve spent most of the night trying to sort out how I feel about this book, and I think the gist of what I ve come to is disappointed I was really psyched for The Girl Who Would Be King I m a fan of the author s podcast she seems like a sensible, gender aware woman, and I was super excited by the idea of a female positive YA superhero book that could avoid all of the traps that make this genre so frustrating.Also, that is an amazing cover I mean goddamn, Stephanie Hans should do every cover This is the same woman who did Journey Into Mystery covers too, omg.Ahem ANYWAY The point is, my expectations were unusually high for this book, which is why, even though I wouldn t call it awful , The Girl Who Would Be King was such a let down I was expecting something amazing, and while there is a good story in here, and there are things that I liked about it, there was also a disheartening amount offlab.I don t just mean flab in the sense of padding I mean, yes, the book is three hundred some odd pages of super dense writing, and no, it doesn t need to be, but it s not just about that It s all of it When I say flab , I mean, like, untrained muscle There s so much in this book that could have been amazing if it had been focused, honed to a finer point, crafted with deft skill It s in dire need of a good pruning.One of the problems that s really clear in retrospect is that there s not a whole hell of a lot going on, here Which isn t to say the book is devoid of stuff happening, or even action in fact, there s actually some really good action towards the end but what it is completely devoid of are twists, turns, and dramatic tension What you read in that summary, up there That s exactly what you get from The Girl Who Would Be King.The obvious object, the essential premise of the book, is that these girls embodying these opposing forces will fight That s what it s building up to one big, powerhouse showdown, and that s fine, I guess, but I expected Some sort of twist, a play, like maybe the girl who is compelled to maintain order would go all Justice Lord overboard with it, and only the freedom loving bad girl could stop her But it quickly became clear that wasn t going to happen it s straight black and white, chaotic evil vs lawful good, arbitrary compulsion to save vs arbitrary compulsion to kill.The thing is, once you come to understand that there will be no subversion of that expectation, all that s left is the confrontation Lola vs Bonnie You know it s coming, and that inevitability just makes you that much aware of how long the road to get there is I spent the book glancing at my watch, so to speak, going Okay, yes, that s fine, but when are they going to meet What I m trying to say here is that there isn t really a plot No particular obstacles to overcome, no villains to uncover, no motives to discover just the daily lives of two girls who will inevitably fight The closest we get to a mystery is the question of what the girls are where their power comes from, and thatwell, that whole mythology opens up another can of worms that I ll talk about later What I ll say now is that, while it provided some of the interesting segments of the book, it was far too sporadic and thin to keep a book that long going.So, not a lot of plot Which, I suppose, isn t exactly necessary You could argue that it s a character study, and you would probably be right, and that would be fine, except that, as a character study, it is utterly done in by the writing.I ve said before that I m not a prose Nazi, okay, and it s true Not like that s something to be proud of, and I m trying to work on it, but being up front, I just don t really notice bad or awkward writing unless it is really bad or awkward.The writing in this book is really awkward.The word that kept coming to my mind was fumbling I felt like the words that were being strung together here were often clumsy and imprecise I can t really explain it better than that Sorry Part of that might have been the tone, which was casual to the max, but I think of it is owed to the super frickin tell y writing style.This is actually a problem that I ve run into with first person perspective YA in general it seems like so many books use that as an excuse to dump the character s every single innermost feeling on us without an ounce of subtlety I felt sad, I felt happy, I felt slightly perturbed that my coffee was only lukewarm , blah blah blah It usually goes hand in hand with that conversational mess of a storytelling style, where even when the protagonists are actually experiencing things, it feels like they re just telling you about it in some sort of third hand, relayed experience You know what happened, what they did, and how they felt, and yet you still end up feeling detached from it all Which I m pretty sure is the polar opposite of the first person perspective s goal.The Girl Who Would Be King has exactly that problem, and makes it worse by frequently compressing long periods of time and activity into actual summaries that can last for pages I understand that the book covers months of the main characters lives years, in Bonnie s case and that you can t chronicle every single day, but there are literally paragraphs of straight up telling This is important stuff These are character developments, and oh god, relationship developments that happen totally off screen, and we re still expected to care about them For exampleRead full review at You re Killing.Us. Last night, as I neared the end of the book, my girlfriend asked me what I was reading I told her and said I m not sure I like it That was around 90% through Now I ve finished and I m still not sure I like it I think it was an entertaining story, but the flaws might override that.I didn t realize it was self published at first but it explains a bit I think there s an ellipses in every other sentence, which gets really obnoxious The suspension of disbelief went too far for me Very minor non story ruining spoilers ahead view spoiler Superhuman strength and speed That s believable Fast healing Okay Now you can cleanse your body of drugs just because you think it You decide you should be able to fly and you can Hmmm not so much hide spoiler This is going to be a rough review, because it s been approximately a year since I last read this book I wasn t writing reviews on Goodreads at the time, but there s been some new interest in this title so I thought I d post some quick thoughts on it before rereading it for a detailed review.First, there are some things to be aware of This novel is self published and, as a result, has errors than you ll usually find in something from a major publisher This novel was self published because no one could figure out how to market it This novel is violent Really violent Extremely violent Disturbingly violent This novel has some sex Not a lot, and it s not especially explicit, but it s there The protagonist and antagonist of this novel are teenage girls With super powers Having consensual sex with age appropriate males And engaging in some extreme violenceSee the second bullet point Okay, that gets the basic stuff out of the way Another technical detail to be aware of is the fact that this novel is written in alternating first person perspective Some people don t like first person A lot of people don t like alternating first person I am one of those people, and yet I love this book This story isn t just about the hero s journey to face the villain it s also about the villain s journey to face the hero They share the spotlight, and you ll be glad they did Lola LeFever, our antagonist, is one of the most fascinating villains I ve ever encountered.In fact, she gets her own paragraph in this review right now Lola is self aware, self actualized and self assuredwhen she s not beating herself up, comparing herself to her nemesis, or wondering whether or not she should be murdering henchmen Okay, she never really wonders about the last one they re just henchmen What the author created with Lola is remarkable, though, or at least it was for me She created a villain that grew and despotic, and out of control, and somehow humanized her enough that a significant portion of my brain was rooting for her The crimes this young woman committed were frequently horrific an understatment , and yet she somehow manifested an aura of tragedy and frailty in a number of scenes that made me want to protect her Kelly Thompson convinced me that there was a soul trapped inside the monster.Bonnie, on the other hand, was a little straightforward, a little less nuanced She, like Lola, was self aware She, like Lola, was self actualized She, unlike Lola, was pretty much fated to be the vanilla hero This isn t to say she wasn t relatable, though, because nothing could be further from the truth One of the neatest tricks that the author pulled was remembering what it was like to be a teenager on the cusp of adulthood and infusing her characters with burgeoning confidence and occasional insecurity and inexperience without ever making them feel as if they were either 12 or 25 Also, the punching through walls thing Anyway, Bonnie I liked Bonnie I didn t want Bonnie to lose But I loved Lola, or at least a part of her I wanted Lola to win.Now, some reviewers have complained that, since we know from the very beginning that this whole book is heading toward a big battle between Bonnie woo, alliteration and Lola, there s no mystery to keep the reader interested I disagree, and it has to do with the alternating first person I mentioned We get to watch fascinating parallels between two lives occur, and there s a beautiful symmetry to it We see Bonnie fall in love with a boy, and then we see Lola s disastrous romance We see Bonnie battling insecurity by keeping a low profile in a bookstore, and we see Lola battling insecurity by robbing a jewelry store This isn t a destination book although I thought the destination was well done view spoiler if freaking depressing hide spoiler The Girl Who Would Be King by Kelly Thompson 2.99 E This book is better than Hunger Games A hell of a lot better More exciting, innovative, fascinating And yet Traditional Publishers won t touch it Why Because it doesn t fit their formula It has no genre, no shelf at BN, no section in the library It doesn t fit neatly in a marketing plan.They can t handle it.But you can.The Girl Who Would Be King is not a Young Adult title It s not an action adventure, or a thriller or a romance or a this or a that It s a surprise and an addiction and a romp and a guessing game You cannot predict what the characters will do on the next page because you have not read a book like this.You need this book.Why Because you re smart.You re not interested in reading another mystery by numbers book the dead body in the locked room with three suspects and a bloody knife Those are simple books for simple times You want a book that is so innovative the mystery involved is not who dunnit but rather WTF is Kelly Thompson going to write on the next page This book is long This book has typos This book could use a professional editor But none of that will bother you no matter what kind of editor nazi you are when you read other books rules don t apply to something this original When you read this book, you know you re reading something extraordinary You know you re reading an archetype.President Ronald Reagan coined the phrase unputdownable when he endorsed Tom Clancy s first book It was hyperbole And every book since has carried that non word somewhere on the jacket The Girl Who Would Be King is different It s a siren Homer s kind of siren You put the book down, grab your keys, but you stop because you hear that siren singing You shake it off, you head to the car and there it is again, the siren book singing to you, come read another page just one You stop three steps from the front door because the siren s song is irresistible You look at your watch Yeah, sure, you can squeeze in just one page The next thing you know, you re holding your phone three inches from your ear while your boss shrieks, You don t have any sick days Wrecked on the rocks of Anthemusa You can only hope someone like Penelope is waiting for you If not at least you have a good book with you.Here s another thing to add to the list of things that are awesome about TGWWBK You can t wait to read the ending that you don t want to end You want to know what happens, but you want to keep reading You want There has to be Even my cynical wife who wasn t cynical until after our wedding predictably was surprised by the epilogue.In every book I read, I highlight like an adoring fan I seek out unique passages that might define the book or the writing In this book I highlighted than usual A lot TGWWBK is full of unique passages that change the way we look at characters From the lowliest minor characters, to the sidekicks and historical characters, everyone has great scenes Whether they have delusions of grandeur or realizations of grandeur is irrelevant They just say things in a new and refreshingly different voice.How about telling mom how you really feel I only hope that I can go on to the greatness I expect of myself despite the pathetic standards you ve set for me Or, this passage about jealousy If you keep acting like you lost something you actually wanted people are going to realize that you re not the most beautiful person to ever operate a cash register Or this gem of impatience What I ask, not looking up He tries to speak but has no breath Moe, you ve got twelve seconds to come up with a sentence and it better not start with um See You need to read this book It s the kind you can get lost in for a long time and come back to for re reads But consider the season and be generous buy several copies and give them out as presents Your friends will think you re awesome You might even start a list.Peace, Seeley Special NOTE MY REVIEWS ARE MY REACTIONS TO THE BOOKS I READ and not a response to the voices in my head I have no relationship, financial or familial, with the authors I do not expect, but would not refuse, any reciprocal reviews or recommendations Just sayin. Hardcover Available Only At ThegirlwhowouldbekingSummary Separated By Thousands Of Miles, Two Young Women Are About To Realize Their Extraordinary Powers Which Will Bind Their Lives Together In Ways They Can T Begin To UnderstandProtecting Others Maintaining Order Being Good These Are All Important Things For Bonnie Braverman, Even If She Doesn T Understand Why Confined To A Group Home Since She Survived The Car Accident That Killed Both Her Parents, Bonnie Has Lived Her Life Until Now In Self Imposed Isolation And Silence But When An Opportunity Presents Itself To Help Another Girl In Need, Bonnie Has To Decide Whether To Actually Use The Power She Has Long Suspected She Has Power That Frightens HerAcross The Country, Lola LeFever Is Inheriting Her Own Power By Sending Her Mother Over A Cliffliterally For Lola The Only Thing That Matters Is Power Getting It, Taking It, And Eliminating Anyone Who Would Get In The Way Of Her Pursuit Of It With Her Mother Dead And Nothing To Hold Her Back From The World Any Longer, Lola Sets Off To Test Her Own Powers On Anyone Unfortunate Enough To Cross Her And Lola S Not Afraid Of AnythingOne Girl Driven To Rescue, Save, And Heal The Other Driven To Punish, Destroy, And KillAnd Now They Re About To Meet What a weird week, finishing this and Divergent On one hand you ve got a mercilessly marketed NY Times bestseller, on the other a Kickstarter backed YA ish novel that didn t find a publisher One note about the differences In Divergent, Tris has a weird relationship with an older dude in a position of power who smacks her around in public, then confesses the leavings of his wounded soul in private In this book, you have two separate female protagonists granted, both slightly older teenagers who seem aware of their relationships with their respective male romantic interests, even if those relationships aren t exactly perfect There s actual intent, which is kind of nice Plus there s sex, whereas in Divergent they skirt the issue and the male romantic interest is surprise a secretly sensitive and emotional virgin I haven t read that much YA until recently, since my concentration has been shot and I ve just wanted something entertaining to read But I ve been unilaterally impressed by the rapey, dominating relationships the female leads have with their men, which I don t remember being the case when I was actually in the age range for books like these.Anyway, on its own this book is pretty fun Yes, it did remind me of American Gods It gleefully shows its seams on occasion, ricocheting between emotional realism and comic book style craziness on a paragraph by paragraph basis It s no secret that Lola the bad one is way engaging than Bonnie the good one Lola s dialogue is funnier and her scenes are interesting, although this book takes the violence associated with both characters to dark places Here come comparisons again The Hunger Games had children bludgeoning each other to death, kids eating each other, kids ripping out each other s throats But it s usually stated obliquely, as secondhand knowledge, without the emotional punch that you get when you re casually introduced to a new, sympathetic character only to have that character disemboweled by the next chapter Fair warning The mythological underpinnings of this were kind of expected for me, and the ending fell a little flat But I had fun reading No one could accuse it of being part of a homogenized publishing landscape I ll be interested to know what the author s second novel will be like if when she finds the right publisher for it. When I read about the concept to this book, I couldn t wait to get my hands on it I opened the book and read the first paragraph which was entirely in 1st person perspective I didn t mind that it was in 1st person, but what was starting to bother me was the fact that it was written in the voice of a 16 year old girl I didn t think much of it, until I continued reading and realizedThe whole book was going to be written in the voice of a 16 year old girl One boring the hero and one annoying.To put it simply, the book made me cringe at times and wasn t very exciting for a book about super powered beings.1 The term superhero is overused and extremely campy when utilized Every time Bonnie would say something like, This must be what it s like to be a super hero Or when she says, Superheroes would never do that I couldn t help but cringe while rolling my eyes, who talks like that The writing reminded me of what I would see come out of a 6th grader, unrefined, cheesy and unrealistic, even for a 16 year old.2 I m sorry, but I didn t like Lola very much All the reviews are just piling heaps of praise as to how great Lola is, but I found her to be extremely annoying The fact that she couldn t come up with her own schemes and spent portions of the book milling around doing nothing was just, such a waste of paper I have a pet peeve against people who do nothing, and Lola was a do nothing for a good chunk of the book She felt childish but not in the endearing way, I just really did not enjoy reading Lola s passages With the exception of Liz, who was a great character and someone I enjoyed reading Bonnie was duller than dirt, so you know there s a problem when you don t enjoy reading from the 1st person perspectives of the 2 characters.This book really should have been in 3rd person, trying to write a fight scene when you re taking the perspective of two characters just doesn t work and it showed.3 There s just way too much time spent on these girls thinking about boys The girls are just constantly swooning over their male love interests throughout a chunk of the book, but the love just didn t feel real It didn t feel genuine and I couldn t see why these girls even wanted to be with these guys, asides from good looks Where was the action Where are the super powered fight scenes and dramatic rescues The action scenes that were present in the book, were poorly written and not very engaging For a book that was supposed to be about super heroes, anything that involved super powers was very generic and obviously not a focus The constant attention given to the boys made me think I was reading a superhero version of Twilight.4 Over use of neck breaking, seriously I lost count how many times someone has gotten their neck broken If it was a signature move, I could understand the over use One reviewer said that the book moves at break neck speed that reviewer was clearly not talking about speed, but by how many times a character gets their neck broke In fact, the book moved quite slowly with a whole lot of nothing going on Lola wandering around doing nothing, Bonnie trying to figure out her purpose in life and who she is, but really just doing nothing Anything that did happen was terribly boring.5 Self description in the mirror Of all the things NOT to do, this book commits the cardinal sin of having one of the characters describe themselves in the mirror I don t think anyone would look in the mirror and describe themselves as, lithe Even people who are vain wouldn t describe themselves the way this book did At most they would say, You look gorgeous Never would they be talking about how long their legs are or what color their hair is Maybe they d think about coloring it, but the self description was just awful.6 There s just simply no pay off in this book anywhere There s nothing that made me gasp or made me think that it was clever The girls meeting up for the first time is anti climactic and just really badly written Again, had this book been written in 3rd person perspective, this probably would have been a different review.Overall, although some of the dialogue and wording felt like what a 16 year old kid would say, I didn t want to read a whole book told in this manner I felt no connection to the characters and not because they were female, but because they didn t have anything interesting to say If I had to talk to Bonnie in an elevator, I don t think anything would be said Not because she likes to pretend to be mute, but because she has no personality whatsoever With Lola it d be the opposite, she d be someone I would want to get away with, not because she s a psycho killer, but because she s annoying to listen to.Maybe I m not a fan of Young Adult, but this book was just too childish and boring for my tastes I wanted to like it, I really did, but this just wasn t my cup of tea. In case you don t know, I am what you would call a superhero fan girl, and I love all things comic book related Unfortunately, while I ve read my fair share of comics, I haven t read that many actual novels about superheroes only Perry Moore s Hero and Superman Last Son of Krypton by Elliot S Maggin That s why I was beyond ecstatic to hear about this book while browsing through Kickstarter.The Girl Who Would Be King tells the story of two very different girls Bonnie Braverman and Lola LeFever Bonnie is an orphan who survived the car crash that killed her parents at the tender age of six She grew up in an orphanage, and moved to New York City as soon as she turned eighteen I absolutely adore Bonnie she s a hard worker, has a kind heart, and when she finds out about her abilities, she decides that she wants to use them to help people Bonnie also goes through her fair share of struggles, including trying to balance being a superhero, working at a bookstore, and having time to spend with her friends and boyfriend.Lola, on the other hand, finds no pleasure in helping or being around others Instead, the novel opens with a sixteen year old Lola drugging her mother and driving her off of a cliff in order to steal her powers She then runs off to Vegas, and later Los Angeles, where she commits various crimes and murders While Lola may not have grown up knowing how to trust others, she does take a stab at trying to find love and friendship but those relationships usually end in Lola killing people, to the point where she becomes rather insane I found that Lola s descent into madness was quite fascinating, and I enjoyed reading from her perspective.And yes, this novel is told from both Bonnie s and Lola s perspective I love it when authors choose to alternate viewpoints in a story There are so many things going on in the lives of those two girls that this book never got boring it was a very quick read And once Bonnie and Lola finally met and battled, the story became so gripping that I could not put it down.Kelly Thompson wrote a fantastic first novel, and I d recommend The Girl Who Would Be King to anyone especially those of you who enjoy comic books or superheros in general I will warn you that there are some typos at least in the printed version , but while there are enough to be noticeable, they don t detract from the story at all, and there weren t enough to really be a big bother I truly loved reading this book, and I hope Ms Thompson decides to put out novels soon, as I would love to read of her work This definitely added any of her future books to my insta buy list I really enjoyed this book It is told in first person by two different narrators The switch between the two is noted by a small symbol, but once you re a little ways into the book you don t really need those markers The voices are pretty different from each other The story is about two girls, one raised by a disinterested mother, the other raised in an orphanage from the age of 6 They both discover they have something that makes them than other people They can run faster, they re stronger, they heal from grievous injuries One is drawn to help other people The other is driven to wipe out any competition The girls are like two sides of a coin They are unaware of each other and both are searching for answers This book was hard to put down I read the Kindle file from the kickstarter and there were a few editing or formatting issues But there were only a couple that I noted and they didn t really detract from the story I would highly recommend this book and I hope Kelly Thompson is able to write great stories Projects like this are why I love Kickstarter The Girl Who Would Be King is a fun, well written gem of a book, and if traditional publishers had the final word, it never would have seen the light of day This book is admittedly difficult to classify it s a YA book that is somewhat longer and literary than most YA books, and it also contains sex, violence, and sci fi elements than are normally seen in YA literature Instead of brooding vampires, jealous werewolves, or teens struggling to survive the zombie apocalypse, this book features female superheroes doing both normal and super heroic things I can see why publishers were hesitant to take on this challenge Established genre conventions Marketing difficulties Angry parents , but that doesn t make it any less disappointing that they chickened out At any rate, it s their loss and the Kickstarter backers gain In exchange for my pledge, I received an ebook, a print copy, and the satisfaction of supporting the author directly Take that, traditional publishing I read a lot of YA books, some for pleasure and some for work I m a librarian In my opinion, the best teen books are difficult to categorize specifically because they don t fit the mold Looking out on the teen lit publishing landscape, I see a lot of Twilight Hunger Games Percy Jackson knockoffs They may follow the genre conventions, and they probably sell fairly well, but there s nothing unique or original about them The Girl Who Would Be King is a totally original concept, and without giving anything specific away about the ending, this could EASILY be the first book in a series although I would settle for a sequel However, traditional publishers thought that we needed another vampire romance or dystopian trilogy than we needed this book I strongly disagree, and I suspect you will too I highly recommend this book for mature teens, fans of strong female characters, comic book enthusiasts, and anyone who enjoys solid YA lit that doesn t follow all the rules.
KELLY THOMPSON has a degree in Sequential Art from The Savannah College of Art Design Her love of comics and superheroes have compelled her since she first discovered them as a teenager Currently living in Portland, Oregon with her boyfriend and the two brilliant cats that run their lives, you can find Kelly all over the Internet where she is generally well liked, except where she s detest
- 367 pages
- The Girl Who Would Be King
- Kelly Thompson
- 08 April 2018 Kelly Thompson