Monday, October 21, 2013

Review: Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender

Release Date: September 24, 2013
Publisher: Scholastic Press 
Source: NetGalley via Publisher  
Colette Iselin is excited to go to Paris on a class trip. She’ll get to soak up the beauty and culture, and maybe even learn something about her family’s French roots.

But a series of gruesome murders are taking place across the city, putting everyone on edge. And as she tours museums and palaces, Colette keeps seeing a strange vision: a pale woman in a ball gown and powdered wig, who looks suspiciously like Marie Antoinette.

Colette knows her popular, status-obsessed friends won’t believe her, so she seeks out the help of a charming French boy. Together, they uncover a shocking secret involving a dark, hidden history. When Colette realizes she herself may hold the key to the mystery, her own life is suddenly in danger . . .

Acclaimed author Katie Alender brings heart-stopping suspense to this story of revenge, betrayal, intrigue — and one killer queen.
If we're going to be honest (which we are), you don't expect much from a book when it's title is Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer. It might sound harsh or mean but it's the truth. Sadly, I wasn't as enthralled by this book as I had hoped to be. The characters were boring, annoying, and underdeveloped and the plot was all over the place. This is not Katie Alender's debut novel (she wrote the Bad Girls Don't Die series) so I won't hide the fact that I expected a lot more from this book.

We're going to start with the characters because hello deal breakers! Colette Iselin, the main character, was so annoying that I gave up trying to care for her less than half way through the story. Frankly, I saw no character development from the beginning of the book to the end. Sure Colette ended up loving her family and being nicer but that's about it. From the beginning, Colette loved being in the it-crowd. Her image and how people saw her was more important to her than anything else. She would allow herself to be put down (and in turn, put others down who weren't in the same social class as her) by her "friends" and it was annoying to say the least. She had no backbone honestly.

Not only was Colette not developed, neither were any of the other characters in the book. I cared for none of them honestly. Honestly, Colette's two best friends are simply card board cut outs of Mean Girls types of characters. They simply exist to make us like Colette better and for her to look better in compassion. The love interest (and for a while, there was a love triangle, of course!) Jules Martin and for a brief moment, Armand. All I'll say about these two: cliche. Also: I don't even remember how old they were but the characters acted like freshman in high school: childish and inexperienced. 

As for someone who has studied French for many, many years, I was confused as to how characters who are French and have lived in France all of their lives spoke such elementary, simple French. I'm not saying that I'm an expert at French because I'm not but that made no sense to me. The plot, by the way, was...I don't have a nicer word for it but stupid. Frankly, the title and the synopsis gives away who was doing the killing and the mystery wasn't much of a mystery to begin with. 

I love France guys. I LOVE France. I LOVE Paris. I've only been to the Paris airport but one day, I will visit this city for real. But until then, I'll live vicariously through books set in France. But sadly, the Paris depicted in Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer was the tourist version of Paris. I didn't fall in love with the Paris Alender described. It was too perfect, too cookie cutter, too touristy for me. 

Overall, I didn't expect much from this book and I didn't get much out of it. The characters didn't work for me and neither did the plot. While the writing wasn't that bad, too much of the details bothered me for me to actually like it. Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer had the idea of a killer mystery story but wasn't executed well at all. I'm not sure if I'll try any other books by Katie Alender but at this point, I'm not a fan.  
Cover Comments: 
It's too pretty and too bright and not enough blood is there for me to take it seriously. While I wouldn't have minded this book for a historical fiction, it's a bad cover for a mystery, thriller type of book.