Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Elysium Girls by Kate Pentecost. This tour is being hosted by Fantastic Flying Book Club.
by Kate Pentecost
Release Date: April 14th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
In this sweeping Dust Bowl-inspired fantasy, a ten-year game between Life and Death pits the walled Oklahoma city of Elysium-including a girl gang of witches and a demon who longs for humanity-against the supernatural in order to judge mankind.
When Sal is named Successor to Mother Morevna, a powerful witch and leader of Elysium, she jumps at the chance to prove herself to the town. Ever since she was a kid, Sal has been plagued by false visions of rain, and though people think she’s a liar, she knows she’s a leader. Even the arrival of enigmatic outsider Asa-a human-obsessed demon in disguise-doesn’t shake her confidence in her ability. Until a terrible mistake results in both Sal and Asa’s exile into the Desert of Dust and Steel.
Face-to-face with a brutal, unforgiving landscape, Sal and Asa join a gang of girls headed by another Elysium exile-and young witch herself-Olivia Rosales. In order to atone for their mistake, they create a cavalry of magic powered, scrap metal horses to save Elysium from the coming apocalypse. But Sal, Asa, and Olivia must do more than simply tip the scales in Elysium’s favor-only by reinventing the rules can they beat the Life and Death at their own game.
I normally don’t read western type books, but I was so intrigued by the story for this book. I love anything with witches and demons. What I found in this book was a found family, so it was even more than I expected.
There are two gods, sisters, Life and Death. They began a game, sort of a test. The people had ten years to build and contain a city. The city will have struggles. They’re walled in and there has been no rain. People die from dust sickness. But Mother Morevna was making things work using her magic and rules. After ten years, the gods will judge the society and how they handled themselves and all the issues they’ve had. If they were good and responsible, Life would win and society continues. If they were not, Death won and Elysium would be gone.
The beginning of the book focuses mostly on Sal Wilkerson, a young girl whose mother dies from dust sickness. She had visions of rain when she was young. But when it didn’t come, everyone made her an outcast. She still had the visions and would black out. Sal doesn’t have many friends and is bullied and even beat up. Lucy has always been nice to Sal. It seemed like Sal had feelings for Lucy beyond friendship, but it was never really spelled out. Lucy did have those feelings for Sal. Mother Merevna had to choose her Successor and her stone picked Sal. Everyone was surprised, but Sal believed she would finally be respected and important. She was to learn magic from Mother Mervena.
Life decides that Death is winning and decides to send in a wildcard. A Daemon that wants to be human. She gives him a body and a name, Asa. He’s sent with a stone and mission to defeat Death. Asa has strong magic and when he shows it, people start begging him for things. Sal isn’t treated as a strong witch. So they plan a fake duel to make Sal the stronger of the two. Things don’t go well and they’re both exiled.
Once Sal and Asa were exiled, I found that the story really picked up. I loved everything after part one. There are small groups of survivors living in the desert. Sal and Asa were found by a couple of young girls and brought to their hideout. I don’t want to get into too much from this part, but the girls end up taking Sal and Asa into their group instead of killing them. Olivia, Susanah, Mowse, Judith, Cassandra, and Zo are doing everything they can to survive, including building horses to be powered up by magic. None of theirs has been strong enough, but Asa can power them. Olivia lived in Elysium, but she was kicked out after killing her stepfather. She had nothing to go back for once her sister, Rosa, was dead. This group of girls became a family. It didn’t matter where they were from, they would all die for each other.
When some secrets come out, the girls need to decide if they stay where they are or if they go to Elysium to lead a fight against Death.
I gave this book 4 stars. Thank you to Disney-Hyperion for my earc.
Warnings for illness, death, blood magic, talk of sexual abuse of a child, bullying, and racism, sexism, and people almost starving.
Kate Pentecost was born and raised on the Texas/Louisiana border, where ghosts and rural legends lurk in the pines and nothing is completely as it seems.
She holds an MFA in Writing for Children &Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She was recently nominated for a Rhysling award for her poem “Small Town Witches.”
Her debut novel, Elysium Girls, is forthcoming from Disney Hyperion in 2020 in print and audio formats.
She is obsessed with the Romantic Poets and can be identified by the enormous tattoo of Percy Bysshe Shelley on her arm. She lives in Houston (H-Town, Space City, etc.)
Prize: Win a copy of ELYSIUM GIRLS by Kate Pentecost (US Only)
Starts: 8th April 2020
Ends: 22nd April 2020
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