So you’ve got my attention when you tell me queer aerial silk performers at the end of the world. Now the question is, do I have your attention? Girls at the Edge of the World begins with a premise of elements that seem a little mashed up, and maybe like they wouldn’t work, but they do! Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Okay so what you have to know about me is that apocalyptic floods-are-coming books are my soft spot. Pair that with my passion, even though I’ve never done it, for aerial silks and that alone is enough to warrant an insta-read from me. But then you tell me it’s a queer story about survival in the face of destruction and I’m sold. From premise alone, even after reading, I am just utterly entranced. Girls at the Edge of the World has beautiful aerial descriptions paired with a world in peril. Their world is coming to a close and so what does our society do?
Find escape in art, but also deny that art has any importance for saving, and in the new world. Talk about an Oryx and Crake moment. What will we value when the world is ending might not be on the tip of the characters tongues throughout Girls at the Edge of the World, but it’s something I kept coming back to again and again. These girls are symbols of hope, of escape, but not granted their own escape. At the same time, this book tackles homophobia and bids for power when it all seems to be a knife’s edge.
Girls at the Edge of the World is full of tension. It’s about what love will do to us, for us, and take from us. Featuring characters who are, at the end of the day, just trying to survive and save their friends, it’s an emotional story about survival. Towards the end, I was disappointed at this sudden influx of plot revelations, especially since this seems to be a stand alone. In some ways, the ending third feels a bit like introducing elements where a sequel could be, but also realizing that this is a standalone and delivering that kind of conclusion.
Additionally, there were some character movements that seemed very out of character or abrupt. I was a huge fan of the romance – because hello sapphic silk fliers – but I did also wish there were some more glimpses of their interactions, even though at the end my heart is just so soft. At the end of the day though, I thoroughly enjoyed the questions and premise of the world. I would definitely read a sequel – if there was ever one – but despite the pacing whiplash, enjoyed this end of the world story. (I do feel like perhaps there will be division about the ending – but I liked it!)
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