Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

This Elizabeth chick is dead in the prologue, and then in the first chapter they go back in time and she’s not, and it tells the events leading up to her death—how she unwittingly got engaged to her cow of a best friend’s shag-of-the-moment boy, how her awesome/pain in the ass sister fell in love with him, how her maid is secretly green as Grinch, and how she’s being buried on the day of her wedding. Also, you will find that her beauty is apparently noteworthy, for the amount of times you are reminded of it.

This is Manhattan, 1899 2009.

Okay. Cushioncushioncushion—annnnnd—go!

This book fails so hard. It fails sooooooooo hard. I know historical fiction fails when I can feel the Taren on my mind screaming in agony:

“They wouldn’t have talked like that back then, bitch!”
“This narrative is so pitch imperfect a tone deaf loser could pick up on it!!”
“WTF EVEN THE COVER FAILS. THAT DRESS IS SO NOT NINETEENTH CENTURY.”
“Why is there no mention of royalty here?! WHEN WILL I GET MY FIX??”

(That last one is a joke. Kind of.)

So, I mean, it fails. It really, truly, fantastically does, and I’m going to emphasize this until the end of the time. It FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAILS.

But I actually enjoyed it. There’s something to be said about a book that doesn’t even try to hide how it’s Not Even when it comes to historical fiction, how it’s Not Even when it comes to subtle (I submit that Henry’s last name was deliberately chosen so it’d resemble Swoonmaker), and how it’s NOT EVEN CLOSE when it comes to convincing me the characters want so much as a glass of water—and yet keeps you reading.

Okay, so I gave up on getting good characters or good setting pretty early into the story, but the overall plot—while in equal parts indiscernible and SOOOO EDWARD-IS-ADONIS OBVIOUS—worked for me. There were truly some parts where I thought, “Where are we going with this?” and “What’s the point?” but I was still propelled not to finish studying History (which maybe the people involved in this didn’t either, actually), get fucked on the exam, and not feel like it was all for nothing.

You can see the Gossip Girl counterparts present—the Natedoll who’s so static to the reader but a force of nature to the characters, the Blair bitch, the Serena annoyingly-awesome-Mary Sue, etc. It’s not Gossip Girl, though, in that Gossip Girl is much more GROWL. (Love Gossip Girl; think the books suck. Too.)

AND, BITCH PLEASE, IT BEARS NO RESEMBLANCE WHATSOEVER TO GEMMA DOYLE, SO DON’T GO THERE.

If you don’t mind slow-moving plots, kind of cliffhanger endings, and just want a fluff/filler type of book, the 450-odd pages in this tome might to the trick. Good for a rainy day (which it was, yesterday).

Look, it’s very complicated and contradictory and confusing, how I feel about it. I honestly did enjoy it. But but but... Whatever. All I know is, Rumors is on its way to my bed.

Oo lala. ;)

HarperTeen (with Alloy) | 464 pages | December 1st, 2007 | Series Site | Excerpt | Amazon | Other Retailers (available for $6.99 in one place...)

29 comments:

Senfaye said...

It wasn't my favorite book. It wasn't terrible either.

towerofbooks said...

Henry Swoonmaker!!!!! I need to read Rumors now. Great review.

GreenBeanTeenQueen said...

Yeah, as bad as this series is there's something about it that keeps me reading and getting sucked in. The cover made me mad too-I hate when they describe all these dresses inside the book, but can't put one of those descriptions on the actual cover! Rumors keep the juicy goodness going and I have Envy right now and I can't wait to get started. It's my sad little guilty pleasure series:)

Hillary said...

I really don't like these books until I get to the end and then I want to know what happens in the next one. But the covers are pretty.

I hate the whole Gossip Girl part of it. I can't stand those books!

Simply_Megan said...

I actually liked these books. I thought it was refreshing the way it was like Gossip Girl one hundred years ago. But I understand why you didn't like it. Maybe you'll like Rumors more?

Sadako said...

Ooh, historical fiction that's so bad it's good. Sounds cool.

Steph said...

Like I said: I thought it failed, but I liked it well enough :P

Rebachin said...

I covet your unapologetic offensiveness.

Diana Dang said...

Ah, I have to agree with the Gossip Girl part. Absolutely detest the first book but after watching an episode of it (I almost cried when I heard it became a drama), I didn't mind it after all.

Lol, I was doubting if I should pick up The Luxe or not. I had a feeling it would be along the lines you have just described it.

Alea said...

LOL Yes!!!!!! This is my kind of historical fiction! I cannot wait to read Rumors or Envy.... etc etc!

Mrs. Magoo said...

Hahahahaha your review was spot on!!

Amee said...

Yikes. Still want to read it though. And I'll read Rumors too, since I already have them. :P

Laina said...

Lol, I thought you'd hate these.

The covers are pretty, even if they're wrong.

Bookworm said...

I liked this one but I think it tried a little too hard....and I love the covers, gorgeous!

Steph Su said...

Mmm yeah. This one was definitely a guilty pleasure along the lines of Gossip Girl or The A-List. Trashy but like candy.

Lisa Schroeder said...

haha - this made me laugh. I haven't read it yet. Not sure if I will. But love that you seem to have a love/hate relationship with it.

H said...

This is exactly how I felt about it. Except that from the first chapter (Elizabeth's funeral), I knew EXACTLY where we were going. But somehow I stil quite liked it.

ilonga said...

I haven't read it yet and now I´m not sure if I ever will. I don´t know, I´m reading A Great and Terrible Beauty now and is kinda boring... so I guess historical fiction is not my type of book.

Reader Rabbit said...

The Luxe was okay. I still need to read Rumors though...
Maybe someday.

On GG, I hate the books but love the show. Go figure?

Taren said...

Teph, you're such a turd. I don't talk like that. And for the record, I think the dress is pretty. I started the book, but I don't know why I never finished. I wasn't expecting great literature or anything. I just liked the series better when it was called Sweet Valley High.

tencentnotes said...

Haha dude I loved this book SO MUCH I didn't even mind one bit that the "historical" part of it fell flat.

Jen said...

I was never motivated to read it but I probably would if I saw the $6 version.

Lenore said...

This was never on my must have list...and it still isn't.

Michelle Zink said...

I haven't read this yet (and I have
it on my to-be-read list, actually), but I'm SO happy that you said not to compare it A Great and Terrible Beauty, because it seems *anything* set before 1920 IS compared to that book. Someone on Goodreads said my book was a "rip-off" of AGATB, which really pissed me off, because other than the time period and the fact that they're both fantasy, they are nowhere NEAR the same book. Be discerning, people!

Though, I'd be flattered if they *were* the same book. Cuz like I said, I <3 that book AND Libba Bray.

But I digress...
:D

Laina said...

I don't get how this is fantasy, honestly.

Starry*Night said...

I have to agree with you, the plot is about the only thing I like about this series besides the covers. Though I am fond of Diana, Henry, and Teddy. I hope you read Rumors soon because I want to know your opinion on what happens.

Christy

Beth Kephart said...

Oh my goodness. Having just finished an historical novel that is so not like this one (but hearing that only historical novels that are like this one will actually gain popularity among readers), I read your post in a state of bemusement.

I do dream, though, about those dresses.

Bookgirl said...

I've seen this book at a bookstore a couple times, but wasn't sure about the historical fiction part. I might just pick it up the next time I see it :) great review!

wrigleyfield said...

Hey, we've all been there! Contempt plus enjoyment is a perfectly valid set of emotions to direct at a book, in my opinion.

Post a Comment

Hey! For some reason, this embedded comment form makes most people click twice before the comment is processed and published. It's not you - it's just that it's a new Blogger feature with kinks and all that. (But I adore it and don't wanna get rid of it!) I removed Captcha to make the process easier. You don't have to rewrite the comments twice; just click on SUBMIT twice and it should work. If not, email me. Thanks! -Steph