Historical fiction is always an intriguing genre. Unlike fantasy, the world which the characters wander through is–or rather was–real. Sometimes real historical figures are taken into account and we get a little educational at the same time as being fictional! Victorian settings are often popular in HistFic, so when I saw this Canadian YA Historical Fantasy, I knew I wanted to pick it up right away!
Game of Secrets by Kim Foster
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Pub Date: July 3rd, 2018
Felicity Cole sells flowers in the streets of Victorian London to feed herself and her young brother. But she has a close-guarded secret–her brother is a Tainted, born with special abilities that society fears and a shadowy organization called the Hunstsman scours the country to eliminate. When Felicity becomes the target of one of these individuals, she discovers something horrible: she’s Tainted, too.
Rescued by a mysterious gentleman on the eve of execution, she’s whisked away to a school funded by Queen Victoria, established to train selected Tainted into assassins in service of the crown.
Struggling to harness her incredible strength, speed, and agility, and despised by her classmates, all she wants is to use her new position to find a cure so she can be normal and reunited with her brother.
But with the Golden Jubilee fast approaching and the discovery that there’s a traitor in their midst, she has no choice but to embrace the one thing she’s been fighting all along.
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*My gratitude goes out to Thomas Allen & Son for providing me with a copy for review!*
What I Liked:
I liked Felicity. She was headstrong and yet afraid of the new world she was thrust into. She comes from a lowly background which is much unappreciated by her new peers. She is one who looks for loopholes to get out of the world until she finally becomes a willing part of it.
None of the other characters really stood out to me. The love interest was really–in my opinion–bland. He had some substance but it was more like water. You can hold it for a while, but then it slowly slips away leaving just a wet feeling that lasts only until it dries. And yet I need him in the story to add in some interest. (How poetic, Rendz)
The magic was very cool and I liked how well it fit into the Victorian setting. All these Victorian books I have been reading always include a secret society of some kind and I honestly love it. It leaves room for mystery and adventure in an otherwise pristine and aristocratic era.
The plot was fine. It was not utterly astounding, not too complicated in terms of following and keeping up with all the secrets, but it lacked that bit of oomph. It had some great action scenes, but not nearly enough. If this is a secret society of training assassins, how come there is so little action????
It is an evenly paced book. The writing is very smooth and I sped through it rather fast. I will say that the chapters were very short, sometimes where they paused was a little awkward. I felt like some could have been combined, just to keep up a better flow.
What I Disliked:
Most of my dislikes comes from the fact that this book is tropey. You have the special snowflake MC. With powers that are better and more magnificent than all others. I would have been fine with this if there was a solid reason as to why she was so crazy amazing. And don’t spring up this “one in a million chance” thing on me. That’s not a solid origin. There was also some girl-on-girl hate. Not as terrible as other books I’ve read, but it would have been nice to see the girls not be competitors and instead allies in this mans world.
The book was not boring per se. I just thought that it could have used more excitement, more risk and more twists to make this something that really grabbed at my attention. It held it while I read, but I could close it to easily. There was never a need to read it. That’s what I found quite disappointing.
Overall, the book was okay. It was neither utterly amazing, nor terribly awful. It holds your attention, the MC is quite fun at times, there is some drama and the few action scenes are ones to look forward to. And the author does bring up quite a mini twist at the end, which I found wrapped this historical fantasy quite good.
Rating: 3 / 5 Stars
Recommend: Like Historical fiction but want a fantastical twist? Then sure.
Let me know what you think! Have you read this? What are some of your favourite Historical Fiction books? What historical setting would you love to read about?