RELEASE DATE: October 23rd 2018
AUTHOR: Virginia Boecker
GENRE: Young-Adult, Historical, Romance.
PUBLISHER: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
When Lady Katherine’s father is killed for being an illegally practicing Catholic, she discovers treason wasn’t the only secret he’s been hiding: he was also involved in a murder plot against the reigning Queen Elizabeth I. With nothing left to lose, Katherine disguises herself as a boy and travels to London to fulfill her father’s mission, and to take it one step further–kill the queen herself.
Katherine’s opportunity comes in the form of William Shakespeare’s newest play, which is to be performed in front of Her Majesty. But what she doesn’t know is that the play is not just a play. It’s a plot to root out insurrectionists and destroy the rebellion once and for all.
The mastermind behind this ruse is Toby Ellis, a young spy for the queen with secrets of his own. When Toby and Katherine are cast opposite each other as the play’s leads, they find themselves inexplicably drawn to one another. But the closer they grow, the more precarious their positions become. And soon they learn that star-crossed love, mistaken identity, and betrayal are far more dangerous off the stage than on.
I thought I would love this book, but sadly it was not what I had expected. I haven’t read Virgina Boecker’s The Witch Hunter series, but I really wanted to give this a shot because I couldn’t resist a spy novel. I was hoping for a suspenseful YA historical spy novel with a dash of romance but what I got is a dramatic YA romance between two Star crossed lovers. Honestly, It has a good concept but I think this one is not for me because I’m not fan of Shakespeare and this book has a lot of Shakespeare references. People who like Shakespeare will definitely enjoy this book more than I did. The historical setting in this book was perfect. I really loved it. The characters were good but not great. I really liked the bi representation in the book.
Seventeen Year old Katherine Arundell’s father gets killed by the Queen’s guards for being an illegally practicing Catholic. Luckily, Katherine escapes from the guards and runs away with a young priest in training. Later, she discovers that her father is one of the nobles who’s involved in the murder plot against the Queen Elizabeth I which is a highest treason in their country. To fulfill her father’s role, Katherine disguises herself as a boy named Kit and joins with the other rebels. Nineteen year old Toby Ellis is a poet and a writer but he also works as a spy for the Queen. To lure out the rebels who’re planning to assassinate the Queen, Toby comes up with a plan which involves William Shakespeare’s newest play, which is to be performed in front of Her Majesty. To kill the Queen, Kit aka Katherine joins the Globe’s theater group and she was cast opposite Toby. Something In Kit intrigues Toby even though he’s one of the suspect. They gets drawn to each other and develops forbidden feelings for each other, but when dangerous secrets and betrayals are finally unveiled, everything comes falling down for both of them.
Katherine is a strong character but I don’t think she would make a great spy. When she gets caught, she gives away her real name easily that was kinda stupid. She’s only a normal girl who wants revenge for her father’s death. So don’t expect her to be a kickass spy. On the other hand, we have Toby Ellis who’s actually a bi. He harbors many secrets and serves the Queen in order to survive. I honestly enjoyed his character more than Katherine’s. As for the romance part, I really liked Kit and Toby’s relationship more than Kat and Toby’s. Kit and Kat are the same person but I loved the queer relationship more. *wink wink*. Shakespeare was hilarious and insane. Although I didn’t get some of his references, I really liked his character.
The plot was interesting but it was lacking the seriousness and tension which is one of the major issues I had with this book. The romance was okay. I should’ve known this wouldn’t be a slow burn romance because it’s Shakespeare. This book has a slow start and the pacing improves only in the second half. There’s not much action in this book which is a little disappointing because I was hoping for a lot of kickass spy action and assassination attempts. I don’t know about Lady Jane, but this book was nothing like Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. The writing was pretty good. I don’t have any issues with it. The book was written in first person dual pov’s. The world building was fantastic. I really enjoyed the historical setting the author has created. It felt very authentic, it looks like she has done a great amount of research for this book.
Overall, it was an okay-ish read for me! It was a decent YA historical novel filled with drama, conspiracies, and forbidden romance. I liked the ending part which is why I gave it a three and a half star instead of three stars.
Just because I didn’t love it, it doesn’t mean it was a bad read. If you’re into books inspired by Shakespeare then I highly recommend this book. I’m pretty certain that there are many people who’ll love it.
So, What do you think of this book? Have you read it yet? Do you Plan to read it?
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