ARC Review: “Girls at the Edge of the World” by Laura Brooke Robson

Happy June, friends! I can’t believe we’re practically halfway done with the year already. It hasn’t been a blazing 100 degrees where I live so I’m not quite convinced it’s summer yet. 😛

I’ve got a few eARCs and physical ones to get through, which is a goal for June outside of reading queer books for Pride month!

Thanks to PenguinTeen for giving me a free digital copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Content warning: homophobia

Title: Girls at the Edge of the World
Author: Laura Brooke Robson
Publisher: Dial Books
Expected release date: June 8, 2021 (tomorrow!)
Genre: Young adult, fantasy, romance
Length: 416 pages (hardcover)
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “In a world bound for an epic flood, only a chosen few are guaranteed safe passage into the new world once the waters recede. The Kostrovian royal court will be saved, of course, along with their guards. But the fate of the court’s Royal Flyers, a lauded fleet of aerial silk performers, is less certain. Hell-bent on survival, Principal Flyer, Natasha Koskinen, will do anything to save the Flyers, who are the only family she’s ever known. Even if “anything” means molding herself into the type of girl who could be courted by Prince Nikolai. But unbeknownst to Natasha, her newest recruit, Ella Neves, is driven less by her desire to survive the floods than her thirst for revenge. And Ella’s mission could put everything Natasha has worked for in peril.

As the oceans rise, so too does an undeniable spark between the two flyers. With the end of the world looming, and dark secrets about the Kostrovian court coming to light, Ella and Natasha can either give in to despair . . . or find a new reason to live.”

Welp… The might be one of the strangest dystopian fantasy novels I’ve ever read. Obviously I read the synopsis but I couldn’t quite seem to grasp the reality of what I was reading. It’s like a weird mix of a Noah’s flood from the Bible, pagan myths, colonialism, dystopia and post-apocalyptic…something. The plot itself was…meh? But it was the characters that really made this book rather unbelievable.

Okay, don’t get me wrong. The concept of the flyers is neat but the fact that they evolved from cool tree climbing spies to…girls who “flew” with silks is kind of baffling. But how am I supposed to dig the rest of this if I can’t really stand any of the characters? You want me to believe that Nikolai and Natasha have a romance when they’re barely even friends? I feel like I didn’t even know Nikolai until the last few pages, and I still can’t decide if he’s a horrible person or not. Then you have Ella who wants revenge and her “mission” to be complete above all else but she’s practically a nobody and given this great “mission” when… How? How in the world is she going to accomplish that at all?

The romance between Natasha and Ella was just…okay. It almost felt forced… But then again, the relationship Ella had before didn’t feel fully real to me anyway in the same way Natasha and Nikolai’s felt like a sham.

I struggled with the world-building as well. Okay, so there is going to be a giant flood and only certain people are allowed in the royal fleet/ships. The Sacred Breath seemed fo be based on Christianity and I see a lot of parallels, not only in terms of lore but also contradictions. It was…interesting to say the least. I thought the whole idea behind the “siren” was kind of dumb in the modern context the book used it. I did, however, like the use of Tamm’s Fables and how these stories were more than just words on a page but real in a loose sense.

And that ending? What the heck? I literally thought the eARC had a mistake so I checked both the NetGalley app and the Kindle app but yeah, it really did end like that. Like??? There’s more??? Maybe???

I couldn’t find other reviews (besides on Goodreads) to post of this book, but you end up reviewing it or know someone who did, please let me know and I’ll happily link their review below!

You can still pre-order this book from Amazon (the only buying option right now is a Kindle and I don’t know why!), Barnes and Noble, Book Depository, or Bookshop.org.

4 thoughts on “ARC Review: “Girls at the Edge of the World” by Laura Brooke Robson

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