{Book Review} Eligible: A Modern Pride and Prejudice Retelling

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Mhairi McFarlane’s retelling of Pride and Prejudice spoiled me. I read Here’s Looking at You two years ago, and I still can’t stop thinking about how perfectly it updated Jane Austen’s most popular work to modern day sensibilities. McFarlane impressively managed to keep the spirit of Jane Austen’s writing–the romance, humor, social commentary–without keeping every plot point of the novel in place. Too many of Jane Austen’s revisers slavishly stick to the source material without wondering whether the plot points transition believably to a story set in the 21st century.

One such revisionist is Curtis Sittenfeld, but even as Jane Austen acolytes go, I don’t think I’m completely off-base in calling her Pride and Prejudice retelling, Eligible, a particular train wreck. Unlike McFarlane, Sittenfeld forgoes the spirit of the novel in favor of transcribing the plot and inserting unnecessary twists for shock value.

In Eligible, Liz Bennet and her sister, Jane, leave New York City for Cincinnati after their father has a heart attack. Liz and Jane–the only vaguely respectable and responsible ones in the Bennet family–are forced to take over their father’s care and the maintenance of their parents’ crumbling house since their three sisters and mother claim to be unable to help.

Liz, a writer-at-large for a feminist beauty magazine, spends her days in Cincinnati trying to get an interview with icon Kathy de Bourg, sorting out her father’s astronomical medical bills, and trying not to dwell on her married boyfriend, Jasper Wick.

Jane, on the other hand, has bigger worries. She’s nearly forty and still single so she’s been trying to get pregnant from via artificial insemination. This may or may not have complicated repercussions when she begins falling for the star of a Bachelor-like reality show, Chip Bingley.

With Jane more than preoccupied with her own drama, Liz struggles to keep the family afloat while trying not to get too distracted by the pompous neurosurgeon, Fitzwilliam Darcy–who just so happens to know more about her boyfriend’s past than he’s revealing.

Things go from bad to worse for the Bennet clan over the course of Eligible as couples are ripped apart, spiders infest their already declining home, and Lydia runs off with her boyfriend, Ham–who has a Secret with a capital “S.”

Spoilers Ahead.

Curtis Sittenfeld’s Eligible has many problems, but the greatest of these is Liz Bennet herself. Somehow, Sittenfeld manages to make one of the most vivacious heroines in English Literature pitiful and annoying. Mostly, this is because she chooses to have Liz pine for scumbag Jasper Wick (our Wickham stand-in) for FOURTEEN YEARS. Unable to move on with her life during that time, Liz allows Wick to string her along through his various marriages until he finally notices her a decade and a half later(!!). They then begin an affair. For me, lead characters having affairs with married men is an absolute deal breaker, but somehow, Sittenfeld manages to make my standard deal breaker even more repellent by having the affair be really, really sad for Liz. She waited for this guy–who is the ABSOLUTE WORST, by the way–for so long. What does that say about her? Nothing good. It makes her come across as weak and pitiful–two words one wouldn’t generally think of as describing Elizabeth Bennet.  

To top that off, Liz is super sarcastic and mean about her sisters. She speaks ill of them to Darcy in a way that I *suspect* is supposed to be self-deprecating but is actually just awful. There’s shockingly none of Elizabeth’s wit present in Liz. Instead, her snarkiness is simply uncomfortable to read and makes her seem like a fifteen year old rather than someone who is thirty-eight.

While on her own Liz’s characterization is enough to make me loathe this novel, it didn’t help matters that I also hated how the other Bennets were presented (so cliched and predictable), the entire Bachelor plotline, and the incredible boringness of Darcy. As a Jane Austen retelling, Eligible is really one of the worst, but it doesn’t help matters that it doesn’t work on it’s own as a Contemporary Romance either. Dull Darcy and Elizabeth simply have no chemistry. I sincerely doubt their relationship would last beyond the last chapter of the novel–which isn’t the feeling I want to have at the end of a romance novel.

I definitely wouldn’t recommend picking up Eligible unless you are in the mood for a hate read. It really was only my rage and morbid curiosity that kept me going to the end of this book. If you like being fueled by rage, by all means, read this book. Otherwise, give it a hard pass and read Bridget Jones’s Diary or Here’s Looking at You instead.

What are your deal breakers in romance novels? Do you have a favorite Jane Austen retelling?

{Short Takes} Three Graphic Novel Reviews

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Secret agents, fairy tales, and high school drama. It’s been a good reading week for graphic novels!  

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Mockingbird Vol. 1: I Can Explain

Writer: Chelsea Cain

Artists: Kate Niemczyk & Ibrahim Moustafa

Bobbi Morse, ace S.H.I.E.L.D agent, struggles with nearly constant doctor checkups. She’s been dosed with both the Super Soldier Serum and the Infinity Formula, and S.H.I.E.L.D.’s worried she might develop negative side effects.

They’re right about the side effects. Not so right about the negative part.

Bobbi doesn’t let any of this effect her in the field or keep her from saving her ex (Clint Barton), her new “boyfriend” (Lance Hunter), or protecting teenage girls from other themselves.

Bobbi’s story in Mockingbird Vol. 1 is a blast to read. Chelsea Cain brings humor and adventure to the comic while the artists, Kate and Ibrahim, bring eye-popping action and the female gaze. I loved that Bobbi was the type of snarky, capable hero you don’t often see in female characters. It was such a relief to read a comic with a female lead that was sexy, angst-free, and fun. It’s a shame that this series was cancelled. I am glad, though I still have one more volume of Bobbi’s story to read. It’s definitely high on my TBR.

 

30073153Jim Henson’s Labyrinth Tales

By Cory Godbey

Labyrinth Tales collects three stories set within the universe of the 80’s film.  The stories are short, sweet, and make perfect bedtime stories (which just so happens to be when I read them). Some might be familiar to you from Free Comic Book Day or the Labyrinth 30th Anniversary Comic released last year, but in spite of their familiarity, I think Labyrinth Tales is worth the purchase. It’s hard covered–and so more durable than a floppy comic–and Godbey’s breathtaking art looks fabulous and glossy on the page. Definitely a must-buy (or, at the very least, a must-read) for Labyrinth fans.

 

25852959 (1).jpgArchie Vol. 1: The New Riverdale

Writer: Mark Waid

Art: Fiona Staples, Annie Wu, and Veronica Fish

Archie and Betty broke up. The cause has something to do with a certain “lipstick incident,” but no one at Riverdale knows exactly what that means. Unfortunately for the rumor mill, the ex-golden couple refuses to say anything. Thankfully, when the theories begin to run dry, drama arises when new girl, Veronica, turns Archie into her errand boy. Will Betty and Jughead be able to save Archie from her clutches or is he truly lost to his newest crush?

Archie Vol. 1 is my first introduction to the world of Archie comics, and surprisingly, I loved it. I somehow missed out on reading Archie as a kid, but Mark Waid and Fiona Staples’ work has gotten me curious as to what I’ve been missing all these years. I know this rebooted Archie isn’t exactly the same thing as old-school Archie, but I’m going to delve into it all the same. I loved the humor, drama, and wackiness of The New Riverdale, and I have a feeling that that is what’s been carried over from the older Archie comics.

Besides, I want more stories about these teens–especially Jughead!
What comics or graphic novels have you been reading lately?

Five Books About Fascinating Women in History

Your Visual Travel Guide (5).jpgGoing back through my Goodreads categories, I discovered something surprising. Once upon a time, I’d read non-fiction regularly–particularly non-fiction of the ladies-in-history sort. Mostly, I picked up these types of books right out of college when I was missing all my History and English courses and looking to expand my horizons. I wasn’t drawn to the dry stuff though (I had gotten enough of that in school). I preferred histories with some scandal and lushness to them.

I blame watching a lot of biopics on the Tudors for this.

So, if you’re looking to expand your horizons and read more about prominent (and not-so-prominent) ladies in history, these books are a good place to start. Especially if you don’t mind a bit of outrageousness.

Five Books About Fascinating Women in History

Elizabeth and Leicester by Elizabeth Jenkins

Funny story time: In college, I was sitting on a bench reading this book about the scandalous romance between Elizabeth I and Dudley when some random dude walked up and told me I was beautiful. Me, being the very picture of tack, said “Thanks” before promptly returning to my book. (I was that girl in college who sat on benches and read and had to listen to people walking past me whispering in horror “Is she reading a book?!?!?” Basically, I am Rory Gilmore.) Gossipy historicals are completely my thing and so a book about one of my favorite historical couples (thanks entirely to Anne-Marie Duff’s Elizabeth miniseries) was pretty much un-put-downable. While it is more about the relationship between Elizabeth and Dudley, there is a lot of information about the early years of Elizabeth’s life to be had within its pages. Sadly, this book is ancient, but you just might be able to find it through the library. If not, there’s a book of the same name by Sarah Gristwood that might be worth checking out.

Bride of Science by Benjamin Woolley

Speaking of gossipy non-fiction, Woolley’s biography of Ada Lovelace is gloriously chatty about all the scandalous goings on of Ada’s life. I started reading this book entirely thanks to the webcomic Lovelace and Babbage and I wasn’t disappointed. While there might not be as much of a focus on the science-y aspects of her life, it was interesting to get a picture of what she was like as a person. I especially remember there being some focus on the relationship between Ada’s mother and Byron–which really is fascinating in and of itself.

Princesses Behaving Badly by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie

There are plenty of books out there compiling biographies of kings, queens, bad marriages, and scandal. (Surprisingly, I don’t read as many of those as you might think.) Princesses Behaving Badly was one book of that sort I couldn’t pass up. Just reread that title! It’s so easy to overdose on toned down princess stories, but this was definitely not toned down. If you want stories of princesses who murder, cheat, and rule countries with an iron fist, this is the book to check out.

Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff ~ While not heavy on the melodrama (for once), Cleopatra’s a fascinating read. (Except maybe the parts about agriculture and the economy.)  I loved taking courses on world history in college and Schiff’s book totally satisfied that longing for more information about the ancient world. I’m really looking forward to reading Schiff’s new book about the Salem witch trials. How interesting will that be!

Wild Romance by Chloe Schama ~ Back to the melodrama for a moment. If you want to get mad about the plight of women in Victorian England, this is the book to read. It reminded me of the book/miniseries He Knew He Was Right because it was all about marriage, divorce, and who’s telling the truth. Theresa Longworth isn’t famous–like most of the others on this list–but her story was cool to read none-the-less.

What are some of your favorite non-fiction books? Any slightly gossipy histories to recommend?

Cozy Period Pieces for Winter Evenings

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Winter is my season to watch Period Pieces. I’m not sure if that’s influenced by the return of Masterpiece Theater or the fact that I drink buckets of tea when it’s cold out, but come January, I inevitably start in on British, historical dramas.

Last year, I binged the first five seasons of Downton Abbey while simultaneously watching the sixth on PBS (which was a tad confusing, I’ll admit). In 2015, I watched The Paradise–which was alternately legitimately enjoyable and legitimately hilarious depending on which season I was watching (the second season definitely falls into the “So Bad It’s Good” category). Unfortunately, I haven’t settled on which Period Piece I’ll watch in 2017 (I had to finish Alias before I could tempt myself with any such question), but I thought I’d recommend some of my favorite Winter-y Period Pieces to you.

May they keep you feeling cozy and entertained this frosty season!

Cozy Period Pieces for Winter Evenings

Bleak House

I’ve watched Bleak House in both the Summer and Winter, but it feels so much more appropriate watching this particular Dickens’ adaptation when cuddled under a blanket with coffee in one hand and a plate of cheese and crackers in the other. The setting of Bleak House is chilly, damp, and desperate and the entire story peopled with bizarre characters than one can quote at any moment (“Brimstone beast!”). I’ve seen this miniseries about once a year since it aired and I’ve not gotten tired of Esther, Mr. Guppy, and the gang yet.

The Way We Live Now

It took two viewings of The Way We Live Now for me to properly fell in love with this political satire. You might thinking “Political satire doesn’t sound like something Melissa would like,” and you’d be right. The characters, however, make this mini series for me. Between Matthew McFadyen and Shirley Henderson’s performances are reason enough to watch this Trollope adaptation (also, Miranda Otto’s horrible American accent).   

North and South

I don’t feel like I need to sell watching North and South to you. If you’ve seen it before, there’s probably not a moment when you don’t feel like rewatching it, and if you haven’t seen it before, you should just go watch it immediately. It’s like all of those Pride and Prejudice adaptations you’ve adored but better. Trust me.

Our Mutual Friend

It may have taken me two viewings to fall in love with The Way We Live Now, but it took me at least three to fall in love with Our Mutual Friend. Again, it’s the bizarre characters that finally made this mini series for me, and yes again, I have found myself quoting this film with the one other person I know will recognize my references (my mom, basically). If you ever found Colonel Brandon attractive in the 2008 version of Sense and Sensibility, I’d recommend not watching this. You will never look at him the same way again. Everyone else, enjoy Eugene Wrayburn and Lizzie.

Elizabeth I: The Virgin Queen

Anne-Marie Duff plays my favorite Queen Elizabeth I in this biopic mini series. She’s fierce and perfect, and I like to pretend this is the sequel to the TV series, The Tudors–in spite of the fact that Michael Hirst wrote the Cate Blancett version. On top of the impeccable Duff, Tom Hardy plays Dudley and dances the volta. To me, that’s all the reason you need to give this a watch.

What Period Pieces Do You Like to Watch in the Winter?

Ten Bookish Items I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree

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Joining in on The Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday yet again!

It’s usually fairly easy for me to think of ten books I’d love the have for Christmas, but this year, I keep coming up with only half a dozen. That’s fine, really, because that means I’ve been reading unread books from my own shelves since my birthday in May!

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Twenty-sixteen really was the year of rereads and shelf-cleaning for me. It might not be surprising then that a lot of the items I’m longing for are related to my Harry Potter reread. It’s still shocking to me that I managed to reread all of the Harry Potter books over the Summer and Fall. The last three books were a challenge but I got them all done (thanks to a little binge-reading) the day before Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was released. The one downside of my reread, of course, is that my stack of Harry Potter collectibles has grown exponentially since I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in May. I have a burgeoning Harry Potter Funko Pop collection and a desire to replace all those Harry Potter DVDs I got rid of a year ago.

I have a feeling my shelves will be in troubles–especially if I get a few of the things on this wish list.

 Ten Bookish Items I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree

christmas-wish-list.jpg1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Illustrated Edition / 2. Harry’s First Spell Q-Fig / 3. The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clarke / 4. Hermione Ornament / 5. Labyrinth Tales by Cory Godbey / 6. Harry Potter with Hedwig {Hot Topic Exclusive} / 7. A Dance With Dragons by George R. R. Martin / 8. Jacob Kowalski Funko Pop / 9. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Illustrated Edition 

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10. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay

What bookish items would be in your letter to Santa?

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Top Five Literary Classics on My TBR

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About once a year, I tackle a classic novel. In 2016, I reread Jane Eyre and in 2015, A Christmas Carol. While these rereads were pleasant enough, it’s a shame that it’s been several years since I attempted a new-to-me work of classic literature. The burnout from my years as an English Major are finally dissipating so, hopefully, in 2017, I can change that.

I don’t expect to read all the classics on my TBR, but I’d love to raise my count to two or three classics next year. It shouldn’t be too hard, especially since I’ve been longing to reread Persuasion for months.

Yes, I might even allow myself one more reread before the real work begins!

Top Five Literary Classics on My TBR   

Rob Roy by Sir Walter Scott ~ Ivanhoe is one of the most enthralling novels I read during the course of my English degree. I attribute that mostly to the fact that I pictured Richard Armitage (in his Robin Hood leathers) as Bois-Guilbert as I read it. Beyond that, I loved the swashbuckling, adventure of Ivanhoe. It’s a shock, really, that I haven’t picked up Rob Roy already.

Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens ~ Choosing one and only one Dickens novel to add to my TBR was difficult. There are several Dickens I’d like to read–Little Dorrit and Bleak House among them–but his books are too long for me not to narrow down my goal a bit. Our Mutual Friend caught my attention more than the others because (1.) I like the story and (2.) I can picture “Creepy Colonel Brandon” a.k.a. David Morrissey as Mr. Headstone as I read it.

Sylvia’s Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskell ~ I’ve read Gaskell’s Wives & Daughters, Cranford, and North & South. It’s about time I moved on from her books which have been adapted into miniseries and ventured into unknown territory. Sylvia’s Lovers is her take on historical fiction and I’m curious to see if it holds up to her more well-known novels.

Daniel Deronda by George Eliot ~ My relationship with Daniel Deronda is a fraught one. I’ve watched the miniseries twice, and I’ve come to realize there are few characters I loathe as much as Daniel Deronda. I want to read the novel because I’m curious if my hatred simply rests on Hugh Dancy’s version of the character or on the character himself.

Cecilia, or Memoirs of an Heiress by Frances Burney ~ I’ve read Frances Burney’s Evelina twice. It’s ridiculous and fun and weirdly addicting for a 500 page epistolary novel about a socially inept girl. Burney’s definitely the predecessor to Jane Austen–which means I need to get on with reading the other two novels of hers I own. Cecilia, an “usual love story and deft social satire,” according to Amazon, seems the best bet for my second venture into her oeuvre.  

Are there any classics you’ve been wanting to read?

{Funko Friday} Funko Pops on My Winter Wish List

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It’s Funko Friday! I can’t believe it’s been such a long time since I’ve blogged about Funko Pops. My collection certainly has grown since since my last Funko Friday post in July. I have a handful of new Stars Wars and Harry Potter Pops and *maybe* a new DC Comics one or two. I have been very good about sticking to my four franchises. The only non-Disney/Star Wars/Harry Potter/DC figure I’ve gotten is Katniss Everdeen in her wedding dress. Seeing as The Hunger Games film series is one of my favorites of all-time, I’m giving myself a pass on that one.

Sadly, I have a feeling it’s going to be hard to stick to my four franchises rule in 2017. There’s rumors of The Lord of the Rings, Alias, and Lost Pops, and besides that, I’m already struggling not to pick up all the X-Men figures being released. If they ever start making Pops actually based off the X-Men films, I’m going to be in major trouble!

For now, I’m being good and only wishing for four up-and-coming Funko Pops. One on my list is a Pop from that forbidden X-Men line, but I’m going to allow it–at least for this one character.

Funko Pops on My Winter Wish List

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Beauty and the Beast: {Hot Topic Exclusive} Belle

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Beauty and the Beast: The Beast

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X-Men: Logan

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Harry Potter: {Hot Topic Exclusive} Harry Potter and Hedwig

What Funko Pops are on Your Wish List?

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Top Ten Authors I Read For The First Time In 2016

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Joining in on The Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday yet again!

I don’t think I’m alone in saying 2016 was a remarkably stressful year. I had great expectations when it came to all the books I wanted to read. I had hoped to get through A Song of Ice and Fire, read diversely, catch up on series, and tackle non-fiction.

Most of that didn’t happen. Instead, I ended up rereading Harry Potter and diving into cozy mystery and fantasy series. With real life hanging over me, I wasn’t up for anything more challenging than that.

Somehow, I did manage to find some excellent new-to-me authors in-between all my rereading and catching up on YA. Most of these authors write mysteries, fantasy, and historical fiction so if you’re looking for nice, escapist reads, the authors on my list are definitely ones I’d recommend.   

Top Ten Authors I Read For The First Time In 2016

  •   K. B. Wagers ~ Behind the Throne was a surprise hit for me this year. I’d read awful Science Fiction novel after awful Science Fiction novel, but Wager’s space outlaw book pulled me in and I loved it. I’m especially excited to pick up the sequel, After the Throne, this month. I’m always happy to find a new author with a new series to look for to.
  • Susanna Clarke ~ This year was my year of gigantic Fantasy novels. Along with A Song of Ice and Fire, I finally tackled Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. I adored it (even if the book dragged terribly in the middle), but even more so than Jonathan Strange, I loved Clarke’s book of fairy tales, The Ladies of Grace Adieu. I was so disappointed when I realized she hadn’t written any other books. I’m impatiently waiting for Book #3.
  • Anne Helen Petersen ~ With the demise of The Toast, I had to drown my sorrows in Anne Helen Petersen’s “Scandals of Classic Hollywood” series on The Hairpin. I read through most of the web-based essays before I finally picked up the book based off the series. It was fascinating to read about the classic film stars and the studio system. Next year, I want to read more about Hollywood and, hopefully, watch some new-to-me classic films too.
  • Kerry Greenwood ~ I discovered Miss Fisher’s Mysteries! Phryne Fisher is an amazing heroine and I cannot wait to continue with the series so I can take in all the sumptuous details of Phryne fashion and lifestyle.
  • Dorothy L. Sayers ~ Dorothy Sayers is one of those authors I can’t believe I hadn’t read before 2016. Her Lord Peter Wimsey books are just my sort of thing, and I’m only disappointed I wasn’t able to find any of her books at the last library book sale. They’re the perfect sort of cozy reads I like having on hand for bad days.
  • Amanda Grange ~ Amanda Grange writes the memoirs of Jane Austen’s heroes. I’ve added so many of her Austen books to my TBR after reading Edmund Bertram’s Diary earlier this year. I’m hoping to pick up to Captain Wentworth’s Diary soon. Of course, I might wait until I start my reread of Jane Austen’s novels next year.
  • Winston Graham ~ Ross Poldark was one of the best books I read this year. Unfortunately, I haven’t made it any further in the series (mostly because horrible Francis got on my nerves in Book Two). Next year, I’ll try to tackle Demelza and Jeremy Poldark. I’ve heard the series gets more frustrating as it goes on so we’ll see how much more I can manage.
  • Matthew Kneale ~ I found out about When We Were Romans from Jen Campbell’s Youtube channel. It’s a story of a parent’s mental illness told from the child’s point-of-view. It was a beautiful if heart-wrenching read and I loved it. Kneale has another book, English Passengers, with an even better rating on Goodreads. I definitely added it to my TBR. Another one to get to in 2017!
  • Virginia Woolf ~ I FINALLY read a book by Virginia Woolf. I choose A Room of One’s Own and it was one of those books where I started dog earing pages because there were so many good quotes. It was a dense, little book but so worth the read. I own Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway and, while stream-of-conscious novels fill me with dread, I might read it anyway.
  • Morgan Matson ~ Morgan Matson wrote my “Summer-y” read, Since You’ve Been Gone. It’s been awhile since I’ve read Contemporary YA, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Matson’s written about three other books so if I need a Summer-y book next year I know which author to turn to.

Who is your favorite newly discovered author?

Book Review ~ Behind the Throne by K. B. Wagers

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For twenty years, Hail’s been on the run. She’s an outlaw and gunrunner, but the people on her trail aren’t tracking her down for any crime. She’s a princess (third in line to the Indranan throne). She ran away from her Empress mother at eighteen to hunt down her father’s murderer and bring him to justice. She never found the killer, but she kept running.

The constrictive life of court couldn’t compete with the freedom of space.

Hail’s life outside the law, unfortunately, can’t last forever and everything’s thrown into upheaval when a pair of Imperial trackers catch up with her. They destroy her ship and take her captive, but the worst news is still to come. They’re taking her home because her mother is dying and her two sisters and niece have been murdered. Hail is now heir to the Indranan throne.

Between political machinations and murders attempts, Hail struggles to stay alive long enough to find her sisters’ killers and take her place as Empress. Thankfully, all her years dealing with crime bosses prepared her for staying alive–even when someone has a gun to her head.

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K. B. Wagers’ Behind the Throne is a fast-paced, Science Fiction romp. The plot catches you up and drags you along as its unlikely heroine dodges bullets and maneuvers deftly through court. Hail’s an engaging lead character. You feel for her losses, cheer as she takes on her enemies, and long for her to survive so her awful cousin won’t take the throne. Her gunrunner past makes her far more interesting than a lot of your resistant princess characters, and her age (thirty-eight) allows her to bring realistic maturity and experience to her actions.

Her home empire also sets her apart from many other Science Fiction heroines. The Indranan Empire was colonized by Indian settlers thousands of years before the action of the novel takes place. Hail wears saris, worships Hindu gods, and drinks chai. On top of that, her mother rules a matriarchy. Only women can inherit the throne and hold most important political positions. Hail does wish for more equality between the sexes, but for now, it’s the women of the Indranan Empire who run things.

Behind the Throne reminded me a lot of The Hunger Games and The Winner’s Curse series. Both The Hungers Games and Winner’s Curse are YA and not adult Science Fiction, but the pacing, style of political intrigue, and reticent heroines were reminiscent regardless. Wagers’ novel could actually be a good stepping stone from YA to Adult Sci Fi. The writing’s easy to read (if sometimes clunky), and the characters, diversity, and exciting storytelling are perfect for younger reads as well as older looking for a quick, engaging read.

I thoroughly enjoyed Behind the Throne. After reading a handful of horribly paced novels, this was just the book I needed to break me out of my reading slump. I had trouble putting Behind the Throne down and I’m looking forward to grabbing the sequel, After the Throne, when it’s released in December. I’d definitely recommend picking up Behind the Throne if action-packed Sci Fi with diversity is just your thing.

What Book has Broken You Out of a Reading Slump Lately?

Read Like a Gilmore: A Starter’s Guide to Rory’s Reading List

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Rory is a hardcore reader–at least in the first several seasons of Gilmore Girls. As the show progresses, she reads less and less AND YET she still manages to read and/or name drop 339 books over the course of the series. That’s a lot of books, particularly when you take into account most of them are Literary Fiction, Classics, or Nonfiction. Those genres lend themselves to hefty reads.

The whole, wild list can be found here. Check it out and take in all those titles. I may have read a lot of Epic Fantasy and Literature in high school and college, but I certainly didn’t read that much–even as an English Major!

Thanks to the sheer overwhelmingness of the list, I decided to make my own abridgement to it. I haven’t read everything Rory has, but I’ve read enough to give a starter’s guide to some of the best of the best on her bedside table. (I’ve actually read a good amount of these books this year so I can attest they hold up outside of a college classroom!)

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Read Like a Gilmore: A Starter’s Guide to Rory’s Reading List

The Fun Stuff

  1. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  2. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
  3. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
  4. The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling

The Spooky Stuff

  1. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  3. The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
  4. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  5. Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems by Edgar Allan Poe
  6. Carrie by Stephen King

The Awesome Women’s Stuff

  1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  2. Emma by Jane Austen
  3. The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker
  4. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
  5. The Awakening by Kate Chopin

The Other Stuff

  1. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  2. Sonnets by William Shakespeare
  3. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  4. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  5. Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi

What’s Your Favorite Book On the Rory Gilmore Reading List?

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