Oh man this cover is giving me so much life! And this banner that FFBC made for this blog tour is absolutely perfect. I’ll be honest and don’t shoot me down for this, but I have personally never read The Count of Monte Cristo ever in my life, nor do I really know what it’s about, so even though this is marketed as a gender-bent retelling of that book, that in no way shape or form turned me on to this novel. Clearly I do better not knowing the source material for retellings because a lot of the retellings I’ve had the pleasure of reading have been amazing in their own right, without being in the shadow of their predecessors. This is no exception.
So click on the banner for more info, the rest of the schedule, and let’s see what I thought about this very interesting book that I’m so glad I got to read!
When Amaya rescues a mysterious stranger from drowning, she fears her rash actions have earned her a longer sentence on the debtor ship where she’s been held captive for years. Instead, the man she saved offers her unimaginable riches and a new identity, setting Amaya on a perilous course through the coastal city-state of Moray, where old-world opulence and desperate gamblers collide. Amaya wants one thing: revenge against the man who ruined her family and stole the life she once had. But the more entangled she becomes in this game of deception—and as her path intertwines with the son of the man she’s plotting to bring down—the more she uncovers about the truth of her past. And the more she realizes she must trust no one…
Packed with high-stakes adventure, romance, and dueling identities, this gender-swapped retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo is the first novel in an epic YA fantasy duology, perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Sabaa Tahir, and Leigh Bardugo.
Tara Sim is the author of SCAVENGE THE STARS (Disney-Hyperion) and the TIMEKEEPER trilogy (Sky Pony Press) and writer of all things magic. She can often be found in the wilds of the Bay Area, California.
When she’s not writing about mischievous boys in clock towers, Tara spends her time drinking tea, wrangling cats, and occasionally singing opera. Despite her bio-luminescent skin, she is half-Indian and eats way too many samosas.
Tara is represented by Victoria Marini at Irene Goodman Literary Agency.
Name pronunciation: “tar-ah” (not “terr-ah”).
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Fantastic Flying Book Club, Netgalley, and Disney-Hyperion for this free copy. All quotes in this review are taken from the Advanced Reader Copy and may change in final publication.
I personally have never read The Count of Monte Cristo before, no have I ever watched any of its adaptations, or anything really to do with the novel. I’ve heard of it because it’s supposed to be a classic, but other than that, I went in blind for this novel as far as retellings go. And for me, I feel like that works a lot better than having a preconceived notion of how I think something should go based on its source material, and I think it really worked in my favor for this one.
Without knowing the source material very well, I personally really, really enjoyed this novel and I had so much feelings for our main characters. I think the person that I felt for this most was Amaya/Silverfish especially in the beginning. I couldn’t imagine being her shoes, spending seven years at minimum on a debtor’s ship because of the money that your father supposedly owed. That mini-backstory that we got from Silverfish to the man she ended up rescuing from drowning before the real adventure begins was enough to make me really sorry for her and her mother. But then again, was it her mother that made her go on that ship as a child, or was she forced to go since there wouldn’t be any adult to run the estate? You know? Little nuances like that may or may not be explained in the novel, and when you’re first hearing about that snippet of life before Silverfish came to be, it makes you question what some adults are either willing to do, or what they have been forced to do.
Even this above example of how the two identities within Amaya are so different that they have two different thoughts on the man that she saved. Since she was so close to going home to see her mother – if she is even still alive, I don’t even know if she knows honestly – and yet gets added a whole month to her sentence for this transgression, both sides of her – Amaya and Silverfish – are fighting their decision. Amaya, the person with the most humanity, feels like at least she saved his life. That should count for something and should be worth an extension of her sentence. Silverfish – the “Water Bug” with no humanity left, who has had to fight to survive and stay alive in this tense and deplorable condition – feels like the only thing worth saving him would be if he were rich enough to buy her out of this hellhole.
And maybe both sides of her are right.
Oh, Cayo. My poor, sweet Cayo. The things that you’ve had to go through in order to gain your father’s trust, even if it’s not at the level you want it to be yet. The addictions that you had to learn to live without, and the life that you had to leave behind, no matter how tempting it was and how much you wanted to go back to it. The love you have for your sister, and how close it seems you are. The stress that you have to deal with in your life.
My poor Cayo. I was so proud of him. I just wanted him to get out from under his father’s imposing shadow, and live the life that I knew he could. Without that harsh voice in the back of your mind telling you that you’re a screw up to the Moreno family. Oh, Cayo.
Clearly I had feelings throughout this book, and I’m dying to see how Sim ends this series. I don’t want it to end though, so can we just keep them going forever? Mini side quests? Something?
Wow I haven’t done a dream cast in a long time! Like… mid-November was my last dream cast. I’ve been slacking, gentle friends! I need to do them more often, although I know that sometimes I get super stuck on who I want to have as certain characters so that could be why I’ve been avoiding it. Oh well, I’m glad I picked doing a dream cast for this one!