Review + Q&A: “Foul is Fair” by Hannah Capin

42595554Title: Foul is Fair
Author: Hannah Capin
Publication Date: February 18, 2020
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Content warning: Sexual assault, rape, physical violence, murder, suicide, transphobic bullying
(For a more comprehensive list of CWs please visit the author’s site.)
Get it: IndieBound | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Books-a-Million | Amazon | Kobo | Apple Books

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ARC provided by the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Dark and gritty, Hannah Capin tells a tale of burning rage and bloody vengeance in her sophomore offering Foul is Fair.

Elle and her friends Mads, Jenney, and Summer rule their glittering LA circle. Untouchable they have the kind of power other girls only dream of. Every party is theirs and the world is at their feet. Until the night of Elle’s sweet sixteen, when they crash a St. Andrew’s Prep party. The night the golden boys choose Elle as their next target.

They picked the wrong girl.

Sworn to vengeance, Elle transfers to St. Andrew’s. She plots to destroy each boy, one by one. She’ll take their power, their lives, and their control of the prep school’s hierarchy. And she and her coven have the perfect way in: a boy named Mack, whose ambition could turn deadly.

Revenge and murder, these two words seem to always draw my attention, and it’s those same words that brought me to this book.

Foul is Fair is vicious, bloody and unapologetically angry. Capin channels the Bard’s Macbeth putting her own twists to it supplanting power-grabbing, murderous Scottish nobles and prophesying witches with entitled rich kids from an elite prep school and a group of knife-sharp girls bonded by their pact of vengeance.

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This book doesn’t hold anything back but consider yourselves forewarned: a good chunk of what happens in this book is implausible so suspend your disbelief, leave it at the doorstep before delving in.

This book was just impossible to put down. The story is fast-paced; the writing is crisp and sharp. Capin tackles rape culture and privilege head on, no frills, no social commentary buried in complex prose. Manipulative, diabolic, and so full of dark, deadly secrets, her characters in this story are not ones you usually see or even want to root for. These characters are shallowly drawn, almost like a caricature – something that usually turns me off but for this story, it works.

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It may not be for everyone, Foul is Fair is grim, even more grim than I thought it would be. At several points, the story could be too much that’s it’s hard to continue pushing back your disbelief, but there is certainly something freeing reading something that puts into words some of the deepest and darkest thoughts you’ve had. If you’ve enjoyed Sadie (Courtney Summers,) The Female of the Species (Mindy McGinnis,) and Sawkill Girls (Claire Legrand,) this book is for you.

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Though it was tough at times, I enjoyed reading Foul is Fair. It was filled to the brim with heedless, reckless rage, which was just so deliciously gratifying.  So, I’m happy to have a chance to ask Hannah Capin a few short questions about her new book.

What inspired you to write Foul is Fair?

For a very long time, I’ve wanted to write a story that subverts the expected narrative of a sexual assault survivor. FOUL IS FAIR centers a girl who seizes her power back by any means necessary. She isn’t a “good girl,” she doesn’t do what she “should” do, and she absolutely never apologizes.

What would you like readers to take away after finishing this book?

That’s up to the reader! Books should *make* you think, not tell you *what* to think.

In 2 GIFs or emojis, sum up Foul is Fair.

about the authorHannah Capin

HANNAH CAPIN is the author of Foul is Fair and The Dead Queens Club, a feminist retelling of the wives of Henry VIII. When she isn’t writing, she can be found singing, sailing, or pulling marathon gossip sessions with her girl squad. She lives in Tidewater, Virginia.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

 

 

 

 

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Special thanks go out to Meghan Harrington and Wednesday Books for inviting me to this tour and giving me the chance to read Foul is Fair in advance.

Review: “The Gilded Wolves” by Roshani Chokshi

The Gilded WolvesTitle: The Gilded Wolves
Series: The Gilded Wolves #1
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: Wednesday Books/Macmillan
Publication Date: January 15, 2019
Rating: ⭐⭐
Get it: IndieBound | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Kobo | iBooks

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ARC provided by the publisher as part of the PH Blog Tour hosted by The Royal Polar Bear Reads & Wanderer in Neverland.

A group of outcasts, mysterious, powerful relics, and a treasure hunt – Roshani Chokshi’s The Gilded Wolves takes readers on an adventure through the dark and dangerous side of Paris.

Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can’t yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much.

Together, they’ll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.

Have you ever delayed finishing a book? Deliberately read slower, stop after each chapter?

I have with The Gilded Wolves.

It’s so rare for me to intentionally delay finishing a book. Usually, I keep on turning the pages because I can’t wait to find out what happens next. Even for my most loved books, I just keep on turning until I get to the end. But, with The Gilded Wolves, it was different.

Readers will find a lot of things to love about this fresh new series. I will have to warn you, this review may easily turn into me just raving about how wonderful The Gilded Wolves was. So, to rein in my excitement and be as objective as I can I’ll try to list down all things I loved about this book and why, if you haven’t read it yet, you totally should!

  • Strong writing that lures you in.

The writing was so lush, you could almost taste it, feel it – both soft and romantic, sharp and cutting when and where it needed to. Roshani Chokshi created this dark, glamorous albeit dangerous magical world, and I just wanted to jump into the pages and spend some more time within it.

While the first part is loaded with information, it did not weigh down the story. It was necessary world-building, and if it weren’t put there, I think I would have been lost. I admit that it took me some time to fully grasp the rules of Forging, described in the book as a power of creation rivaled only by the work of God. Once I got my head wrapped around it though everything went down smoothly for me and I, once again, got lost inside Roshani’s world.

  • Historical facts that blend well with fiction

You know, I’m a history geek. I mean, how else would I explain the number of historical fiction books on my TBR? But the downside to this is that, like whenever anything medical is included in the story, I get a little bit picky. Creative license could only create so much leeway for you, and it is the author’s job to blend these two contrasting elements – fact and fiction – seamlessly.

Roshani does just that.

Yes, she took liberties here and there with dates and places (La Solidaridad was published in Barcelona & the Ilustrados were also there by 1889) but you know what got me? It was all still believable. Why? The rendering was natural, it just flowed.

I know some of you will say, but history doesn’t play a big role in the story. I’ll give you that, but it is where it was set and that influences the way characters move and act through their world. Also, if you decide to include a bit of history into your story, you might as well do it right.

This was an important element for me, and I’m very happy with what I got from this book. Plus, all those historical tidbits – the Exposition Universelle de 1889, the human zoos (sad and angering, but nevertheless true,) & all the other stuff Enrique throws in the whole length of the book – were simply delectable to this history geek.

  • Explores and challenges some really heavy topics

It’s may not be overtly stated, but, sprinkled throughout the pages of this book are some really important topics – gender identity and sexual orientation, racism, privilege, subjugation and colonialism. All of these were treated with utmost sensitivity and were challenged every time.

  • A diverse, fully-realized cast of characters

Now, I saved this for last because it is, I daresay, the best part of The Gilded Wolves. I fell in love with this band of misfits right from the very first page that by the time the book ended with that cliffhanger (!!!) I’m so into deep I swear I’ll adopt them if they ever come out of the pages.

Roshani Chokshi put together a group of characters from different backgrounds – all well-intentioned and flawed and so utterly human – but still find in themselves a family. It was so easy to love all of them, and good luck with picking favorites because you’ll find a little bit of yourself in each of these wonderful characters.

🍂 Séverin – The obvious leader of the pack. He’s bi-racial – an Algerian mother and French father – and it was implied in that this played a part in him being losing his title as heir of House Vanth. A rich hotelier, he gathered together his crew to help him reclaim his birthright. Sure it may have started like that, but he so obviously care for this little pack he’d made and will keep them safe for as long as he can.

🍂 Laila – Baker, the person behind sought-after L’Énigme – she’s the “mom” friend of the group. She came from India to France in search of a mysterious book that could hold the answers to her existence. With her ability to read objects just by touching them, she’s an invaluable member of the group. There’s also this thing between her and Séverin, though they are both, for reasons you’ll find out once you read the book, holding back.

🍂 Tristan – Séverin’s brother in all but blood. Tristan and Séverin grew up together being bounced from one foster family to another. He’s a softie, loves his pet tarantula Goliath maybe a little too much (we don’t mind) and, with his Forging affinity, is a master botanis. Tristan is also behind some of the group’s weapons, concocting stuff from the plants he cultivates.

🍂 Zofia – The engineer, Zofia’s Forging affinity allows her to bend any kind of metal to her will. She came to France from Poland, leaving her sister there, to study, but she was kicked out of university because of an accident. She’s hoping that, with this big mission Séverin sets them on, she’ll get enough money to get her sister to France and fund her education so she could study Medicine.

🍂 Hypnos – Patriarch of House Nyx, he was a friend of Séverin’s when they were younger, but drifted of when the latter’s claim to his own House was forfeited. He’s unashamedly queer, flirtatious, and has this big personality that just fills whatever room he is in. I was suspicious of him at the start of the book, but as I read more I felt that he sincerely wanted to have Séverin assert his claim so he could also be in the Council with him because, even if Hypnos is already a patriarch, he is still an outsider because of his heritage.

🍂 Enrique – As the resident historian, Enrique guides and helps solve puzzles for the group. I may sound biased, but Enrique has a special place in my heart. He’s funny, making jokes especially when the group is in a tensed situation, but, while he does try to lighten things for everyone, he also hides behind humor and sarcasm. But deep inside he’s just trying to look for his place in the world.

Filipino and Spanish, Enrique straddles the line between two race and culture. He has joined the Ilustrados, a group of Euro-educated Filipinos lobbying for reform for their Spanish-controlled motherland. He also submits articles to La Solidaridad. Still, he can’t break into the group’s inner circle.

“It wasn’t his intellect that made him unwanted.
It was his face.”

I’m a full-blooded Filipino, but this still hits home. It’s hard to see printed within the pages of a book, but we have to admit that even within our group there are divisions. We may or may not be aware, but we judge each other and consider one person superior over another just by the way they look, and that only creates even more discord and harm.

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There, I’ve listed down the things I loved most about The Gilded Wolves. I’m sure I could find more things to love about this book once I finish reading again. Captivating writing, diverse and nuanced characters, thrilling adventures, this book has everything I want and more. Thinking that this is only the beginning of what promises to be an amazing series only excites me more to get my hands on TGW#2. I cannot recommend it enough (I’ll probably be pushing this book to people the whole of 2019.) Doesn’t matter if you like Fantasy or not, I think there’s something in this book for everyone.

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About the Author:

SIC_0760-719x1024ROSHANI CHOKSHI is the New York Times bestselling author of Aru Shah and the End of TimeThe Star-Touched QueenA Crown of Wishes, and The Gilded Wolves. Her work has been nominated for the Locus and Nebula awards, and her books have appeared on Barnes and Nobles Best New Books of the Year and Buzzfeed Best Books of the Year lists. Chokshi lives in Georgia, but doesn’t have much of a Southern accent. Alas.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

 

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Also, check out the other stops of The Gilded Wolves PH Blog Tour hosted by Wanderer in Neverland and The Royal Polar Bear Reads.

The Gilded Wolves Blog Tour Banner

Tour Schedule

January 14, 2019

January 15, 2019

January 16, 2019

January 17, 2019

January 18, 2019

January 19, 2019

 

First Line Fridays: “The Gilded Wolves” by Roshani Chokshi

First Line Fridays is a weekly feature hosted by Hording Books.


Happy Friday! I hope you are all doing well. My week has been busy at work, but life at home has been good. We have three new puppies! All of them plus mama dog are doing fine, and we couldn’t be any happier. It’ll be another two to three weeks before their eyelids start to open, but I’m really excited to have them start seeing their new world, start to run and play around the house.

Book-wise it’s been slow. I was able to finish Emma Rous’ The Au Pair but haven’t yet started a new read. So, this week I’ll be sharing the first few lines of a recent read that’s coming out soon.

The Gilded Wolves

Fléctere si néqueo súperos Acheronta movebo.
If I cannot move heaven, I will raise hell.
– Virgil

Once, there were four Houses of France.
Like all the other Houses within the Order of Babel, the French faction swore to safeguard the location of their Babel Fragment, the source of all Forging power.
Forging was a power of creation rivaled only by the work of God.
But one House fell.
And another House’s line died without an heir. PNow all that is left is a secret.

 

I know I’ve said it before, but I am sooooo in love with The Gilded WolvesThis beauty’s coming out next week and I couldn’t be more excited. I already got the notification from Book Depository that my pre-order has been dispatched from their UK warehouse. I waited almost a year for this book and I’ll finally have this lovely next week.

The Gilded Wolves comes out January 15 published by Wednesday Books. You can still pre-order it. Trust me on this, you need this book!

Pre-order links:

IndieBound | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Kobo | iBooks

Another thing…

The Gilded Wolves Blog Tour Banner

The Gilded Wolves PH Blog Tour, hosted by Wanderer in Neverland and The Royal Polar Bear Reads, starts on January 14. My blog tour stop is on the 18th, but you can check out the other blog stops and read the raves of other awesome book bloggers for this book. You can see the blog tour schedule here.

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Rachel

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Come and join in the fun. Visit Hoarding Books to see what other FLF bloggers has to share.

Word for Word: Laurie Halse Anderson on “Real Books”

If you haven’t heard about Macmillan’s new program, you better check it out. It focuses on books tackling real life themes, especially ones concerning teens. Check it out here.