Sunday, May 17, 2015

Book Review: The Artisans by Julie Reece

Goodreads summary:
They say death can be beautiful. But after the death of her mother, seventeen-year-old Raven Weathersby gives up her dream of becoming a fashion designer, barely surviving life in the South Carolina lowlands.

To make ends meet, Raven works after school as a seamstress creating stunning works of fashion that often rival the great names of the day.

Instead of making things easier on the high school senior, her stepdad's drinking leads to a run in with the highly reclusive heir to the Maddox family fortune, Gideon Maddox.

But Raven's stepdad's drying out and in no condition to attend the meeting with Maddox. So Raven volunteers to take his place and offers to repay the debt in order to keep the only father she's ever known out of jail, or worse.

Gideon Maddox agrees, outlining an outrageous demand: Raven must live in his home for a year while she designs for Maddox Industries' clothing line, signing over her creative rights.

Her handsome young captor is arrogant and infuriating to the nth degree, and Raven can't imagine working for him, let alone sharing the same space for more than five minutes.

But nothing is ever as it seems. Is Gideon Maddox the monster the world believes him to be? And can he stand to let the young seamstress see him as he really is?



I had been super excited to start reading this book when I first got it. It started off interesting enough by establishing the protagonist's relationships with her stepfather and friends. I liked how Raven offered herself to repay her stepfather's debt and loved her friends because it shows her selflessness.

Overall, Raven was an all right heroine for me but definitely not my favorite, I'm not sure I would even call her memorable. I liked that she designed her own clothes and that she was known for her talent rather than another aspect about her but I wish she had been more clever or that she took a little more initiative about the things that happened around her. 

I felt the same way with Gideon, I knew he meant well but all the ways he tried to prove it was completely wrong and kind of creepy. His disappearances on end made it confusing and I felt the reader didn't get enough time with him to get emotionally attached. Yes, things happened to him to make him the way he was but I didn't really like him until near the end when he attempts to right the wrongs in his past.

I had trouble with the writing and pacing, it didn't fascinate me or flow well as I read nor was the story believable enough for me. I kept getting confused because I thought this story was a contemporary but then it would switch and when it came to the clothes I would think that I'm in a historical based on the descriptions. I think I'd describe the clothing style as a mixture of historical steampunk/goth. I would assume this could take place in a historical novel with the lack of contemporary elements with the exception of cars and school.

The ending was fine, not mind blowing but interesting enough to keep me reading to the end. My favorite parts ended up being the ones that involved the ghosts or any paranormal activity. I didn't really see the end coming because I think there wasn't enough foreshadowing or hints to what to expect at the end. It was a little more random than I would have hoped. Perhaps, I simply missed all the breadcrumbs left by the author. Either way, the journey to the climax wasn't satisfying to me and I think could have been executed in a more compelling manner.

This story would be good for those who enjoy a story with a sense of gothic fashion design and the paranormal involving ghosts.

3 out of 5 rating for me!

(A copy was provided for an honest review. I was not compensated in any other way.)

About the Author

Julie Reece writes YA stories. Many inspired by life in the southeastern states where she grew up. She's passionate about family, friends, animals, underdogs, and writing, but bubble baths and dark chocolate make the list, too.

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