I don’t think I have enough words to describe how much I love Not Good for Maidens. I am a huge fan of Bovalino’s work with The Devil Makes Three, so I had high hopes. But then I found out this was going to be a re-imagining of “The Goblin Market” and I was intrigued. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
Lou never believed in superstitions or magic–until her teenage aunt Neela is kidnapped to the goblin market.
The market is a place Lou has only read about–twisted streets, offerings of sweet fruits and incredible jewels. Everything–from the food and wares, to the goblins themselves–is a haunting temptation for any human who manages to find their way in.
Determined to save Neela, Lou learns songs and spells and tricks that will help her navigate this dangerous world and slip past a goblin’s defenses–but she only has three days to find Neela before the market disappears and her aunt becomes one of them forever.
If she isn’t careful, the market might just end up claiming her too.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
TW: gore, murder
I have always been fascinated with the idea of a market that wraps you up, entrances you, and captures. So when I heard about this queer fantasy retelling (Ace MC and MC with sapphic LI), I was over the moon excited. And Tori Bovalino smashed through my expectations. In this dual POV and timeline story, Bovalino weaves a queer story about family, sacrifice, and love. There’s a horror and suspense element that only grows as the book progresses.
Not Good for Maidens is a book that is perfect for fans of those settings that will make you shiver. I could not stop reading and ended up finishing this book days early. Because while there’s a steady action pacing, it’s also a story about characters, belonging, and family. I was captivated by the action, by not knowing what would happen. But at the same time, I fell in love with May and Lou. How they are struggling with this feeling of belonging.
We can wake up one day to wonder if this is all there is. If the path we’ve been walking on, is the one we belong to. Furthermore, Not Good for Maidens examines this line between protection, alienation, and isolation. Between being kept in the dark and not being given the information to choose. With this dual timeline of memories, Bovalino unfolds the danger in front of us. Into a story that asks us if we truly know who we are. And the knowledge that there are always exceptions.
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Not Good for Maidens is a story that will give you chills, but is also rooted in sisterhood and family. There were so many moments that made my heart race, while also being heart wrenching. If you love sapphic ships, sister relationships, and defying the impossible – you have to read Not Good for Maidens. Bovalino has captured my heart with this one. Find Not Good for Maidens on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.