Monday, April 23, 2012

The Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats

Alright, folks. In the name of the moon... errr, I mean in the name of awesome books everywhere, I declare this week on “Never Gonna Grow Up! Reviews” to be YA HISTORICAL FICTION WEEK. Dun duh duh duuuuuun.

To kick off this week of fabulous locales, dangerous intrigue, and bloody deaths, we have J. Anderson Coats’ debut novel, “The Wicked and the Just”. I absolutely love this book. It’s a book I would definitely recommend any historical fiction addict add to the top of their list. J. Anderson Coats obviously did her research. The story takes place in Wales, shortly after the English taken over and are occupying the land. They have taken everything from the Welsh people and yet are taxing them literally to death. She tells the story from two strong-willed women’s perspectives. (Yay strong willed women!) On one hand, we have Cecily, who was uprooted from her English noble woman’s life and moved to occupied Wales by her father, who will help the English keep the “savage” Welshman in check. On the other hand, we have Gwenhwyfar, her servant, who once dreamed of being a lady herself until the English came in and took everything from her and her people, including the life of her father. Now, she and her brother must do whatever it takes to survive, even if it means waiting on a bratty English girl who makes life a living hell. While they both struggle with surviving in their own ways, tensions continue to mount not only between the girls, but the country as a whole. And let me warn you now, it gets messy.

My horrendous summary does not even begin to do this book justice. It’s subtle and beautifully written. It really feels like a slice of the life from this period in time. You can really feel the tension crackling in the air and it never gets bogged down with too much exposition. Ms. Coats’ explanations of unfamiliar terms are simple and feel naturally placed within the story. While it’s a bit intense to read all in one sitting, I still burned through it at a rapid pace. I just had to find out what happened! Both girls burn with unbridled passion that ends up fueling a very complex relationship between them. If they had a status on Facebook for their platonic relationship, it’d definitely say “It’s complicated.”

Seriously, if you like historical fiction, this book is an absolute MUST READ. And if you don’t? Well give it a try anyways. It’s good to try something new every once in awhile and I have a feeling that this is a book you’re going to hear people talking about for quite some time. :)

Want to hear J. Anderson Coats talk about her book? Well then, head on over to Authors are ROCKSTARS! to check out her podcast interview.

I received a digital ARC of "The Wicked and the Just" via It came out this month from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Go and purchase your own copy now!

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