Monday, July 4, 2016

Reader's Review: "Girls Can't Be Knights" by Lee French

Synopsis from Amazon:
Portland has a ghost problem.

Sixteen-year-old Claire wants her father back. His death left her only memories and an empty locket. After six difficult years in foster care, her vocabulary no longer includes "hope" and "trust".

Everything changes when Justin rides his magical horse into her path and takes her under his wing. Like the rest of the elite men who serve as Spirit Knights, he hunts restless ghosts that devour the living.

When an evil spirit threatens Claire's life, she'll need Justin's help to survive. And how could she bear the Knights' mark on her soul? Everybody knows Girls Can't Be Knights.


My Review:

Once again, a recommendation from +Jeffrey Cook  pays off! I have actually met Lee on a few occasions (usually in the company of Jeff) and at long last, I read her book.

What I expected was the normal "girl-who-nobody-expects-things-of-decides-to-stick-it-to-the-patriarchy-and-be-an-expert-at-everything" with a sizable dose of useless adults to underestimate and deride her as is typical for your average, mainstream YA. It's happened before, it could happen again.

What Lee presented was a girl hardened by lack of purpose, predisposed to assume the worst, because others assume it of her—and an adult figure who takes notice, who pursues her, and helps her make sense of her place in the world, without underestimating her or piling on more than she can handle. And the skills she has are more spurred by survival, not innate expertise far beyond one of her age. She has a lot to learn still. She makes mistakes, and learns from them.

I loved every moment of it. Justin and Marie are simply wonderful characters, quirky, messed-up, but absolutely going to bat for each other when it counts. Claire begins both vulnerable and hardened, a vagrant in her morals as well as purpose—but by the end, she has the confidence she needs, she has friends she can rely on, and she is beginning to understand her world in a deeper way than just living for today and for herself. Lee paints a vivid world and colors it with humor, sorrow, disappointment, and love. The fact that it's also basically set in my backyard only makes it more fun as I am reading and envisioning the different locations. I am intrigued by the concept of the Spirit Knights, and I would love to read more of the exploits of a crew I have steadily fallen in love with. The banter is perfect, the stakes are plenty high, the plot develops easily and the whole thing is just the greatest kind of rousing adventure from start to finish.

I would wholeheartedly give GIRLS CAN'T BE KNIGHTS a full *****5 STARS***** and add an Upstream Writer Certified HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating too. I really loved it and I will definitely take any opportunity to continue the series! (The sequel has dragons... A weakness of mine!)

For lovers of secret knight orders, alternate dimensions existing within the real world, a legacy nobody saw coming, talking horses with attitude, and a realistic heroine everyone can relate to, look no further than GIRLS CAN'T BE KNIGHTS. It's a pleasant urban-fantasy adventure from a talented local author that readers of all ages can enjoy!

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