Review: The Artisans (The Artisans #1) by Julie Reece

July 27, 2015 Review 0

Review: The Artisans (The Artisans #1) by Julie ReeceThe Artisans by Julie Reece
Series: The Artisans #1
Published by Month9Books on May 12, 2015
Genres: Romantic, YA Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Pages: 344
Excerpt: Excerpt
Sexual Content: Kissing
Reviewed by: Kate
2 Stars

They say death can be beautiful. But after the death of her mother, seventeen-year-old Raven Weathersby gives up her dream of becoming a fashion designer, barely surviving life in the South Carolina lowlands.

To make ends meet, Raven works after school as a seamstress creating stunning works of fashion that often rival the great names of the day.

Instead of making things easier on the high school senior, her stepdad's drinking leads to a run in with the highly reclusive heir to the Maddox family fortune, Gideon Maddox.

But Raven's stepdad's drying out and in no condition to attend the meeting with Maddox. So Raven volunteers to take his place and offers to repay the debt in order to keep the only father she's ever known out of jail, or worse.

Gideon Maddox agrees, outlining an outrageous demand: Raven must live in his home for a year while she designs for Maddox Industries' clothing line, signing over her creative rights.

Her handsome young captor is arrogant and infuriating to the nth degree, and Raven can't imagine working for him, let alone sharing the same space for more than five minutes.

But nothing is ever as it seems. Is Gideon Maddox the monster the world believes him to be? And can he stand to let the young seamstress see him as he really is?

In the original description I read of THE ARTISANS, this crucial sentence was at the end: "The Artisans is a delectably rich, layered and dark YA Southern Gothic inspired by Jeanne Marie Leprince de Beaumont's classic Beauty and the Beast." Generally anything promising a retelling of Beauty and the Beast (my favorite fairytale) is an instant win for me. And while I can definitely see the parallels between THE ARTISANS and Beauty and the Beast, THE ARTISANS had quite a bit more to it, that in fact, at times I felt like there was almost too much going on.

In THE ARTISANS, we've got a Southern Gothic feel, ghosts, a mysterious young man and his mysterious mansion, coupled with elements of other fairy tales, such as clothes being completed overnight. Gideon, poised to be a romantic interest from the beginning, is clearly set as the beast in the story. The issue with Gideon is that there are no immediate reasons why he's a beast, other than his deal with Raven that basically traps her in his house. The full story doesn't come until later, and we really see how beastly he is. The mystery is very interesting, and not something I would have guessed right off. I liked the use of the ghosts, though at times they were a bit over the top.

I had a few issues with THE ARTISANS. For a large chunk of the beginning of the book, it feels like not much happens. Then, there's a rush of action in the latter parts of the book. This was frustrating, as I wish it could have been paced out a little better. My other big issue with this story was the difference in age between Gideon and Raven. It would not have hurt the story to make Raven a year older, just graduated from high school maybe, and thus not underage...since any romantic things going on between the two of them made me feel a little icky.

While THE ARTISANS kept me reading late into the night, after thinking about it, I find that there are issues that didn't occur to me while reading. Definitely a gripping and creative tale, but recommended with reservations.

Series Titles:
  1. The Artisans
  2. The Paladins
More Reviews: Similar Titles:
  • For another book by this author, try Crux, by Julie Reece.
  • For a book with a similar Southern Gothic feel, try the Caster Chronicles (Beautiful Creatures) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl or Sweet Unrest by Lisa Maxwell.
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