A Dress for the Wicked
Nothing much happens in the sleepy town of Shy in Avon-upon-Kynt. And for eighteen years, Emmaline Watkins has feared that her future held just that: nothing.But when the head of the most admired fashion house in the country opens her prestigious design competition to girls from outside the stylish capital city, Emmy’s dreams seem closer than they ever have before.As the first “country girl” to compete, Emmy knows she’ll encounter extra hurdles on her way to the top. But as she navigates the twisted world of high fashion she starts to wonder: will she be able to tailor herself to fit into this dark, corrupted race? And at what cost?

A Dress for the Wicked Details

TitleA Dress for the Wicked
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 6th, 2019
PublisherHarperTeen
ISBN-139780062857354
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy

A Dress for the Wicked Review

  • Anatea Oroz
    January 1, 1970
    I have to say, I really liked this book. I kinda expected it to be A Project Runway set in an imagined Victorian era, and it was totally exactly what I imagined. The only thing missing was Heidi & Tim, but oh wait, did we kinda have that?I actually breezed through this book. I love watching Project Runway, so now reading about it set in a Victorian era was really exciting. The storyline alone was very gripping, and it just kept me captive the whole time. The only reasons why this book didn't I have to say, I really liked this book. I kinda expected it to be A Project Runway set in an imagined Victorian era, and it was totally exactly what I imagined. The only thing missing was Heidi & Tim, but oh wait, did we kinda have that?I actually breezed through this book. I love watching Project Runway, so now reading about it set in a Victorian era was really exciting. The storyline alone was very gripping, and it just kept me captive the whole time. The only reasons why this book didn't receive a 5-star review is worldbuilding and romance. I feel like Krause created a really cool imaginary 19th-century world, but we almost don't know anything about it. The only things we know is that Britannia Secunda is in Europe and has received independence from England and Fashion is their main industry. It would have been really interesting knowing more deeply about it.I wasn't a big fan of the romance either. Emmy and Tristan make for a nice couple, but with the whole Sophie situation, I would like to have known more about their history. I also sometimes wished that parts of their time together would have gone differently. The thing I loved about this book is its characters and character development. We can see progress in almost each and every person, except for Kitty (why? I loved her - question for the author). Emmy started from a scared country girl, and in the end, she was the real boss-girl. I wish there was the 2nd book because I would really like to know more about this world and to read about how Emmy manages after everything. I loved the historical setting and the world so it's hard to say goodbye after just one book.Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest
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  • Olivia & Lori (The Candid Cover)
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 Stars Review to come!
  • Kaya
    January 1, 1970
    I went into this thinking, “okay, this might not be that good” despite the intriguing premise and gorgeous cover. The thing is, you have to go in not expecting much. This is a really good book but don’t expect an intense thrill ride of emotions, or a philosophical dive into dragons and dinosaurs and Doritos (I like alliteration okay). But it is a love letter to all sorts of fashion. As someone who literally wears nothing but jeans, sweaters, hoodies, and t-shirts, it was really fascinating to re I went into this thinking, “okay, this might not be that good” despite the intriguing premise and gorgeous cover. The thing is, you have to go in not expecting much. This is a really good book but don’t expect an intense thrill ride of emotions, or a philosophical dive into dragons and dinosaurs and Doritos (I like alliteration okay). But it is a love letter to all sorts of fashion. As someone who literally wears nothing but jeans, sweaters, hoodies, and t-shirts, it was really fascinating to read about all the different pieces and concepts of couture.Emmy was a likeable girl. She was passionate, motivated, hardworking*, and best of all, had character development. She had dreams and ideas. Another person I ended up really liking was Sophie. At first, it seemed like she’d just be the classic “mean girl” put there to make the main character have obstacles. But she ended up being a lot more than I originally thought!Oh! And the whole “Fashion House” idea reminded me of the houses in The Belles. Except significantly less painful lol. The plot wasn’t anything too deep or even incredibly original but it was so incredibly entertaining. And I loved witnessing the creative process a lot of the characters went through! And the competition. I just really, really, really love competitions. Bonus points for magic! Bonus points for fashion! Bonus points for puzzles! I love basically all competitions in books okay. And this one had interesting characters, fashion, and an interesting interal struggle that I’m not going into because I’d rather you experienced it for yourself. Also the ending has enough closure to leave you feeling perfectly satisfied but also leaves room for a sequel.Um…the romance. I didn’t hate it, it just felt too unnecessary for my tastes. There weren’t any sparks, any development, I felt nothing for the entire relationship. But what can you do, it’s YA. And I personally really enjoyed the plot, and wouldn’t change much about it but some people are going to think it’s too predictable, and not super deep. You definitely need to alter your expectations if that’s the case!Thank you to HarperTeen for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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  • Tiffany Miss.Fiction
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks Edelweiss+ for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.I started A dress for the wicked as a lighter read with not much expectation about it. But I ended up liking it very much. Shocking!It’s a story that combines Victorian era, Parisian fashion couture and dystopian setting. Quiet unique and interesting. It reminded me a bit of The Selection but with an engaging story about self fulfilment and making dreams come true through hard work.Emmeline (but you should call her Emmy) com Thanks Edelweiss+ for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.I started A dress for the wicked as a lighter read with not much expectation about it. But I ended up liking it very much. Shocking!It’s a story that combines Victorian era, Parisian fashion couture and dystopian setting. Quiet unique and interesting. It reminded me a bit of The Selection but with an engaging story about self fulfilment and making dreams come true through hard work.Emmeline (but you should call her Emmy) comes from the countryside, she’s an aspiring fashion designers but in this world and in this land called Britannia Secunda you can be a designer only if you work in the city at the Fashion House, directed by Madame Jolene. But in the background the Reformist party is gaining power and wants to fight it. We don’t understand if it’s for the good or they have malevolent intentions.Emmy is selected as one of the apprentice at the fashion house quiet surprisingly, a dream coming true, but she’ll see that all that glitters is not gold at all very soon...It was an entertaining read, I was ready for some project-runway like story and that’s all but the message behind Emmy’s work was striking, she’s determined and really loves what she’s doing. She’s ready to take risks and to work tirelessly to fulfill her dreams. I respect that so much.The writing is quiet inconstant, sometimes it’s extremely engaging and fun and flawless, while (especially when she gets back to Shy and other scenes) seems totally unedited and it flows less and less.That said, the story is engaging and it’s the best part, at least for entertainment.Emmy’s quiet a good character, but inconstant. We get to know very little about all the other characters.The romantic aspect of the book is tragic, but not in a good way at all. We could have survived without it because it’s the part that really takes Emmy out of character and makes her sound dumb, not just because of the way she acts but because she’s a total jerk towards her friend.So, most positive aspects is the entertainment and the light reading experience, the fashion part is quiet technical and not just bitchy so I ended up liking it a lot! Some twists were more successful than others but some of them were so naive....The worst to me is the inconsistency of many portions of the book, the love story and it was way to easy to understand at first sight who was working against Emmy (obviously, we all knew that except Emmy) Now we are left with a couple of open points that I really have no idea why they were included in the book if there was no intention to explain them (who’s Emmy’s father, the relationship with the Reformist Party, etc..) but we’ll see.Still a fun and light read I really liked.
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  • Scarlett
    January 1, 1970
    ARC provided via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.This is a perfect book for everyone who enjoyed The Selection series and the world of glittering gowns and jewels. Although, I am not among them and I am not a fashion enthusiast, this was really enjoyable. Autumn Krause's debut work has a lot of potential, it's been a long time since I read such compelling descriptions that painted the picture so well. The story is set in fictional 19th century Europe where the most famous fashion hous ARC provided via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.This is a perfect book for everyone who enjoyed The Selection series and the world of glittering gowns and jewels. Although, I am not among them and I am not a fashion enthusiast, this was really enjoyable. Autumn Krause's debut work has a lot of potential, it's been a long time since I read such compelling descriptions that painted the picture so well. The story is set in fictional 19th century Europe where the most famous fashion house organizes prestigious design competition. Our girl, Emmy, dreams of becoming a designer, but she is a simple country girl, expected to know nothing about fashion and even less about style. Still, her determination and political pressure that everyone must be included, gets her in the top six. There, the competition starts with the usual backstabbing, gossiping and cat-fighting. The matron of Fashion House, Madame Jolène, makes a good villain, but she never reached the creepy and sadistic level that, I think, author wanted to achieve. Since this is a YA book, the love story is inevitable. Still, it didn't work out that well. It was rushed, predictable, obvious and just... nothing exciting. It's not a spoiler to say that Tristan and Emmy are the main couple, it is obvious right from the start. They don't see each other often, but when they do, everything is perfect and they just know they are right for each other. Don't get me wrong, I think that is rare, but possible, it's just that the dialogues they had couldn't be a base for a love story at all. Emmy is a decent character. I loved her approach to work, her relentless dedication and opportunism. She is not a perfect heroine, but she is realistic. Although she starts off as innocent and naive, she quickly understands what it takes to be successful in this world. She becomes colder, distant and even more reckless. I respect an author who is not afraid to give us a protagonist that has a little bit of an edge to them. On the other hand, other characters are a bit bland. No one really stood out. In many ways, it is a smart intriguing book. Autumn Krause has written a very compelling fashion story about vanity and the aftermath of chasing the success at all price. It's a good idea, but without a perfectly dramatic climax. Everything was so convenient in the end and lined up perfectly. I wish the ending was a bit more complex. I do think that it should have had at least 100 more pages, dedicated to the political background of the society. This would have made the story more serious and exciting at the same time.
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  • Namera [The Literary Invertebrate]
    January 1, 1970
    ARC received in exchange for an honest review - thank you! This one was hard to rate because it consisted of three main threads, and those got very different reactions from me. Here’s a quick breakdown:Romance: 2/5. It was weak, not very well explained, and bordered on insta-love.Drama/pace: 4/5. This bit was awesome, and the plot was exciting.Characterisation: 4/5. Strong.So, all things considered, I’ve given this an aggregate rating of 3.5 stars.In the world of Britannia Secunda, an ex-Britis ARC received in exchange for an honest review - thank you! This one was hard to rate because it consisted of three main threads, and those got very different reactions from me. Here’s a quick breakdown:Romance: 2/5. It was weak, not very well explained, and bordered on insta-love.Drama/pace: 4/5. This bit was awesome, and the plot was exciting.Characterisation: 4/5. Strong.So, all things considered, I’ve given this an aggregate rating of 3.5 stars.In the world of Britannia Secunda, an ex-British colony, fashion is the national industry. Illegitimate peasant girl Emmy Watkins is obsessed with it. Normally, her mother – single parent and scrabbling pub owner – tells her not to waste her time. But now for Emmy, and countless other girls, it’s suddenly become a way of social mobility: if they can get become an entrant on the prestigious Fashion House Competition, they’ll come away with money, clothes, and contacts. And for the first time the competition has been opened up to the general public.A quick note here on the geography and history of Britannia Secunda. It was actually very poorly explained. Okay, so it’s a colony somewhere in Europe that’s gained independence from the British Empire. How? When? Plus, there are constant references to a royal family. Are these the original British royals? Or has Britannia Secunda given itself a new royal family? Why and how did fashion become the main concern of the entire nation? The background of the setting needed to be explained a lot more than it was.Also, something which really bugged me: fall. This is a faux-British country, set in Europe. We don’t say fall! We say autumn! Which happens to be the author’s name! A minor grievance, but come on.So anyway, Emmy manages to beg her way into the competition. The esteemed owner of the Fashion House, Madame Jolène, isn’t happy, but there’s nothing she can do – for political reasons she has to look like she’s opening her company up to the lower classes. Madame Jolène was a great villain. She’s not quite sympathetic, because she’s a total bitch, but she isn’t totally vilified; you can kind of see why she resents having her arm twisted, even if her reasons are wrong and deeply elitist. Emmy at any rate is torn between idolising her as a fashion icon and being hurt by her obvious hatred of Emmy herself, a curious but relatable conflict of emotion.The other girls in the Fashion House Competition are treated with similar care by Krause. They start out a little bit as caricatures; they’re mean, posh, and Emmy’s rivals. But over the course of the book most of them develop into their own people.There are Emmy’s roommate Sophie, with a tragic family past; Cordelia, who’s into menswear; Kitty, whose parents are desperate for her to advance their social status; half-Japanese Ky; and socialite Alice. As we go through the rounds of the Fashion Competition, with the girls having to design and create masterpieces to be judged, we see how each of them has a background that influences their style. These rounds were well paced, plot-wise, and suitably dramatic. Speaking of style, the book’s attitude to dress-making is surprisingly limited. We don’t get many details beyond ‘bodice’ and ‘hooped skirt’, which I find incredible given it’s about an entire luxury fashion company. The colours of materials were however lovingly described.You know what lets this whole book down? The romance. Tristan is a down-on-his-luck journalist Emmy meets as soon as she arrives in the capital to begin the competition. First, we get insta-love: they’re drawn to each other almost immediately. Yet they don’t see each other for long stretches of time, rendering the insta-love even weaker and sillier than it already is. Plus, Tristan has a weird relationship with Sophie which is never fully explained, and this lack of clarity made me unable to truly believe in his relationship with Emmy.It doesn’t help that the book ends very abruptly and appears to be a standalone. I’m not particularly interested in what happens next to our characters, but their stories aren’t satisfactorily explained in this single book either, so we’re left with a weird little conundrum. I don’t necessarily regret reading it but it certainly hasn’t made much of an impact on me, notwithstanding a brilliant, thinly-veiled insertion of the tragic story of Princess Diana. (Charles and Camilla come off badly here, which I can totally get behind. Dicks).[Blog] - [Bookstagram]
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  • Eleanor Grace
    January 1, 1970
    3.5⭐I really enjoyed this but there we’re definitely some plot and world building flaws. RTC. 3.5⭐️I really enjoyed this but there we’re definitely some plot and world building flaws. RTC.
  • Leilani Mueller
    January 1, 1970
    I read an ARC of A Dress for the Wicked. Here is the take of a literature and drama teacher who has a secret, not so-secret penchant for YA novels.This book is about hope, beauty, and the complicated longings that come from participating in the creative process: making something popular so it will be seen versus making something niche that might never be seen. As the antagonist Madame Jolene challenges, “Beauty is not for everyone.” Each creative from Madame Jolene, the mother, Kitty, Sophie, Tr I read an ARC of A Dress for the Wicked. Here is the take of a literature and drama teacher who has a secret, not so-secret penchant for YA novels.This book is about hope, beauty, and the complicated longings that come from participating in the creative process: making something popular so it will be seen versus making something niche that might never be seen. As the antagonist Madame Jolene challenges, “Beauty is not for everyone.” Each creative from Madame Jolene, the mother, Kitty, Sophie, Tristian to Emmy struggles with the question: what does it mean to be an artist? What must one do to become an artist?The end of art is to be seen. The end of making dress is to wear it. The end of writing a book is to have it read. The effortless commentary on the artist moves this book beyond a typical, fast-paced YA novel, to an insightful commentary on what it feels like to attempt to create and the difficulties that come to those imbued with creative spirits, and it does so while telling a compelling story. " "Emmy the heroine of the book desires to move beyond the drab colors of her country life to rich textures and vibrancy of the city. She is a dreamer, but she is dreamer who works for her dream in the midst of a sumptuous, back-stabbing beautiful world. She meets real people, and makes real choices. Pacing and world-building: The story drops you into a beautiful world and does not let go. The reader is given the amount of background on Britannia Secunda that reflects Emmy’s knowledge. She is a country girl, and doesn’t know much about the political structure except for what she learns. If we are lucky enough to get a sequel, I imagine a go-getter like Emmy will reveal a lot more about the political tensions latent in the novel. 5/5Friendship: If anything, this book is a female power story. Emmy’s journey shows the complicated nature of female friendships.5/5 Love Story:I was interested in the critique the love story was an “Instagram” love story, particularly given that the book only spans three months. Tristian and Emmy are infatuated. They have a lot of good moments. Their relationship is believable, because with all the tension happening around Emmy it makes sense that she would choose someone fun to start a romance. It is the beginning of their relationship. We need a sequel to see more fully what Emmy’s dreams mean for her relationship with Tristan. Side note: I love that the romance is a sub-plot. It doesn’t get a lot of page time, and that is a nice change, and believable for the beginning of a book. 5/5 I teach drama, and as I read the opening, I heard Emmy’s voice, as a voice-over, endearing and brave telling the reader her story. This is a delightful book, a real treat. I hope someday to read a sequel.
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  • Jenn Bishop
    January 1, 1970
    There are so many books that you just want to escape into: the setting is richly evoked that you can picture it perfectly in your head, and there are characters that you'd want to chat with over a cup of tea (or perhaps have design you a gorgeous gown). A DRESS FOR THE WICKED is that kind of debut, one to savor and escape into on a cold wintry day, or to pack along for a vacation and read on the beach. It feels classic in a way, its protagonist Emmy a mere country mouse, almost Dickensian, and y There are so many books that you just want to escape into: the setting is richly evoked that you can picture it perfectly in your head, and there are characters that you'd want to chat with over a cup of tea (or perhaps have design you a gorgeous gown). A DRESS FOR THE WICKED is that kind of debut, one to savor and escape into on a cold wintry day, or to pack along for a vacation and read on the beach. It feels classic in a way, its protagonist Emmy a mere country mouse, almost Dickensian, and yet there are themes that feel so modern and true. For example, I love the line drawn from Emmy to her mother, two hard-working woman who've accomplished so much from so little. I love Emmy's gumption, her desire for more, and the people she draws to her along the way who help make that possible. And Francesco, who reminds me so much of Tim Gunn if his fashion sense was a little more Johnny Weir. This is one of those YA books that can be read and enjoyed by a wide spectrum of ages, from 6th graders to adults -- especially recommend for young fashionistas and fans of Project Runway.
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  • Nikki Barthelmess
    January 1, 1970
    I was lucky enough to read A DRESS FOR THE WICKED prior to publication and it was fantastic! I fell in love with Emmy and Tristan, and will follow them wherever they go!
  • Sandra
    January 1, 1970
    The cover is what initially drew my eye to this book. I think the cover really suggests luxury, wealth and being part of the elite. The blurb sets the scene well for the book and the quote that compares it to The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton is accurate. The genres I have seen listed are Historical Fiction & YA, and though they fit the book well, I would also add that the book has Dystopian elements to it as well. The book is set in Britannia Secunda, which is separated into districts. The Fa The cover is what initially drew my eye to this book. I think the cover really suggests luxury, wealth and being part of the elite. The blurb sets the scene well for the book and the quote that compares it to The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton is accurate. The genres I have seen listed are Historical Fiction & YA, and though they fit the book well, I would also add that the book has Dystopian elements to it as well. The book is set in Britannia Secunda, which is separated into districts. The Fashion House is in Avon-upon-kynt in the Quarter District. Which on the surface seems affluent, however there are plenty of poorer people who keep the cogs turning for those rich enough not to do menial jobs such as cleaning, maids, chefs etc.It’s so difficult to do this review without revealing too much, but here goes. The main theme within the book is that the owner of the Fashion House, Madame Jolene has been coerced and backed into a corner by the political reformist party and is having to include a “country girl” choice to attend and take part in the Fashion House Interviews. Madame Jolene will pick just six girls in total. Emmaline/Emmy is from Shy which is a little country place. Her mother owns and runs the local pub. Many years ago, Emmaline’s mother left Shy and went to the City in search of a better life, however something didn’t work out and she ended up returning to Shy alone and pregnant. Emmaline knows nothing about her father, and though she loves her mother dearly she doesn’t want to remain in Shy and help her run the pub that is only just breaking even. Emmaline has big dreams of going to the city and becoming a fashion designer. When she finds out that Madame Jolene is searching for the country girl and the last person for the Fashion House Interviews, she has to apply, despite knowing her mother will be against her going to the City. First things first Emmy has to meet Madame Jolene and show her the design drawings she has brought with her. If she is then chosen she will speak to her mother about it. Emmy ends up being the chosen country girl entrant for the Fashion House Interviews, little does she know she has only been chosen to make up the numbers!Whilst at the Fashion House she not only has to compete in the challenges but also has to do many interviews and appearances unlike the other girls which causes jealousy when the other girls think she is being promoted more and gaining more support. Yet when you think about it, being the “country girl entrant” means much more work than Emmy ever expected. To attend the interviews and appearances Emmy has to wear an approved set of clothes chosen for her by Madame Jolene which she hates. Emmy desperately wants to leave behind the cutesy country girl image whereas Madame Jolene intends to publicize the fact she has generously allowed a country girl entry to her elite, famous Fashion House Interviews.Various descriptions place the era of the book to be Victorian, but a perhaps futuristic elite society with Victorian elements, such as etiquette, manner and customs. Each girl has their own story of how and why they obtained their place in the Fashion Interviews. I did like aspects of each girl in different stages in the book. They all have their own distinctive fashion design styles too. There’s Emmaline who likes to mix work wear elements and fashion together. The first fellow contestant to speak to Emmy is Kitty and she has a classic style of dressing and designing. Rumours are that Kitty’s parents have bought her place at the Fashion House Interview in an attempt to once again rise higher in society.Sophie is Emmy’s roommate at the Fashion House. Sophie wears a lot of black and her style is dramatic. She is a very straight to the point and at times quite snide and sarcastic person. Sophie wanted to escape her home with guardian Mr Alexander Taylor.Then there is Ky, whose style is a mixture of Britannia Secunda fashion crossed with Japanese fashion. Both her parents are high flyers in their own rights.Next is Alice who is very girly in both her personality and design. The final contestant I have to give a quick introduction to is Cordelia, who wears and designs men’s wear inspired clothes. Each girl has their own individual styles and personalities too. The only one not used to the opulence surrounding her at the Fashion House is Emmaline. Which makes you wonder why Tilda, the maid looking after the girls seems to take an instant dislike to Emmy. The reason is revealed much later as a case of jealousy. I loved the character of Tristan Grafton who seems to be quite genuine and ends up romantically involved with Emmaline. It’s an offhand comment from him that puts a really big idea into Emmaline’s head.I had really mixed feelings about the character of Francesco Mazinetti who is Madame Jolene’s assistant. He dresses fairly outrageously and tends to gloss over anything that is going wrong, or not as he would like it to be. There are times when he seems to take Emmaline under his wing which I liked and then other times he just passes on Madame Jolene’s orders and basically tells Emmy to suck it up and get on with it which I didn’t like as there was more than one occasion when Emmy was at a disadvantage compared to the other girls. Of course, if there are characters I loved, there has to be characters I loved to hate! So top of the list is of course Madame Jolene who makes sure everyone knows she is in charge, and things are to be done her way. If you do not do as she wishes, its simple you lose your place in the Fashion House Interview. She uses designs the girls have drawn and actually claims they are her own. In fact, anything the girls draw or make whilst they are at the Fashion House is her property. Madame Jolene has an ongoing feud with Duchess Cynthia Sandringham, the “scarlet woman” who had an affair with Prince Willis behind the back of his wife Princess Amelia. The fact Princess Amelia is such good friends with Madame Jolene is just one of the reasons that have prevented anyone setting up a new fashion house. Another character I loved to hate was Mr Alexander Taylor, who is the trusted friend of Sophie’s parents. He is the man that has been her guardian since her parents died. He is a very dangerous man with a nasty temper. He is used to people doing what he tells them, so when Emmaline and Sophie both refuse his support when they have to leave the Fashion House he is shocked.Wow I absolutely loved it, adored the characters of Emmaline, Edith, Sophie & Tristan and loved to hate Madame Jolene and Mr Taylor! There's so much more that could happen to Emmaline & Sophie.....we also didn't find out who won the apprenticeship with Madame Jolene. Could Tilda become a seamstress? Is there more to be told about the past when Edith was a maid in the city? Who is/was Emmaline's father? I also want to know more about Francesco, could he know Edith from all those years ago when she was in the City! There are so many little loops within this book that could turn it into a superb series! I really hope that this is the start of a potentially amazing series!It’s not often I compare books to others I have read and share what I think but, this book, wow! It’s a must read book, it may be the must read book of 2019! I would say if you have read and loved any of the following books then this one should be on your want to read list. The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton, The Selection by Kiera Cass, The Jewel by Amy Ewing.
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  • SJH (A Dream of Books)
    January 1, 1970
    Autumn Krause's debut novel combines both fashion and politics in the fictional city of Avon-upon-Kynt. I have to admit that the first thing that attracted me to this book was the luscious cover. The artwork is simple but striking and oh so pretty. It really made me want to pick it up and start reading. The setting of the book is based on aspects of Victorian London with its class structure and rules of etiquette. It doesn't however fit within the historical fiction genre. I find it quite hard t Autumn Krause's debut novel combines both fashion and politics in the fictional city of Avon-upon-Kynt. I have to admit that the first thing that attracted me to this book was the luscious cover. The artwork is simple but striking and oh so pretty. It really made me want to pick it up and start reading. The setting of the book is based on aspects of Victorian London with its class structure and rules of etiquette. It doesn't however fit within the historical fiction genre. I find it quite hard to say exactly which genre I would slot it into, as it combines so many different elements: historical, fantasy and even dystopia. There is a strong political undercurrent running throughout the story. The main political party in the book are the Reformists Parliament Party, who every year grant an arts budget to the Crown. The Crown then pass on a large portion of this to the Fashion House which is run by the inimitable Madame Jolene. The Reformists now want to cut the arts budget and create cheaper fashions but there is a lot of opposition to their plans. The main character in the story is Emmaline Watkins or Emmy as she is known, who gets a place in the prestigious Fashion House competition. She gets the chance to compete against a number of other girls to become a design apprentice - a position that she aspires to. Emmy becomes the token 'girl from the country', with no one expecting her to rival the other competitors, who are more privileged and well connected. She does not know who she can trust and does not even appear to have the support of her Publican mother, who has remained behind in Shy. The plot reminded me a little bit of 'The Hunger Games' but with dresses and definitely not as deadly. There are however high stakes involved with each girl having different reasons for taking part that are gradually revealed throughout the story. I did find the start of the book much slower than I was expecting and it took me a good few chapters before I got used to the style and rhythm of the writing. It definitely improved as the story progressed and I found myself enjoying it more and more. There is a lot about fashion in the book which wasn't something that particularly appealed to me, although it was interesting to see Krause's take on using fashion to reveal the character and personality of the main players. I also liked the way that she provided a nod to the real fashion world, with her imagining of what the first fashion show could have looked like. This was a book that started with a slow burn but really grew on me. I thought that there was a lot of interesting character development in the second half and even some romance to keep me happy. After reading the ending, I assumed that there was going to be a book two to look forward to but I believe that currently this is a standalone novel. I do hope that Autumn Krause gets to return to the world of Britannia Secunda and the district of Avon-upon-Kynt because I would really like to know what happens to Emmy next.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    “Of course it’s stressful.” Sophie cut into my thoughts. Impatiently, she tossed her head, making her hair fall over her shoulder. “Secrets always are.”4 Stars — Thank you to Edelweiss for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this book.This was so much fun! I’ve worked in fashion for 6+ years so this book was right up my alley. Characters: Emmaline was our main character. She was strong and determined. She is completely relatable, with dreams and passion that she is willing to fight for. Soph “Of course it’s stressful.” Sophie cut into my thoughts. Impatiently, she tossed her head, making her hair fall over her shoulder. “Secrets always are.”4 Stars — Thank you to Edelweiss for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this book.This was so much fun! I’ve worked in fashion for 6+ years so this book was right up my alley. Characters: Emmaline was our main character. She was strong and determined. She is completely relatable, with dreams and passion that she is willing to fight for. Sophie- was a pretty bland character, but served an important role in the story. Tristan- Loved him. Sweet and strong. Setting: Fabulous descriptions of dresses. I could have used more description of the setting, but it wasn’t difficult to imagine the fashion house and the city. What I liked:1. The Plot It wasn’t what I expected, but it was definitely like Project Runway. 2. Madame Jolène She was a fabulous villain. 3. The fashion It was hard not to be enchanted by each of the beautiful dresses. What I did not like: 1. The ending There was one part in particular that seemed too over the top. Conclusion:This was a quick read, I definitely recommend it!
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  • Giselle
    January 1, 1970
    Not able to get into this one - likely due to my lack of fashion sense ha! Honestly it's not bad or anything, I just wasn't feeling it. May give it another go at another time.
  • Bec (Two Book Thieves)
    January 1, 1970
    I'm just so torn about this book.On the one hand, I read it in a day and didn't DNF it, so it can't have been that bad - but on the other, I finished it a couple of days ago and I'm already struggling to remember anything about it to write. I feel as though the main let down for me here was the relationship. (view spoiler)[Not only were Emmy and Tristan such an instalove couple, but they had no chemistry, and you know who did? Emmy and Sophie. I was convinced the two girls were going to fall for I'm just so torn about this book.On the one hand, I read it in a day and didn't DNF it, so it can't have been that bad - but on the other, I finished it a couple of days ago and I'm already struggling to remember anything about it to write. I feel as though the main let down for me here was the relationship. (view spoiler)[Not only were Emmy and Tristan such an instalove couple, but they had no chemistry, and you know who did? Emmy and Sophie. I was convinced the two girls were going to fall for each other - Emmy often thinks about how beautiful Sophie is, and in one scene she sees her in a corset and thinks about how it's a corset "that a lover should see" - she doesn't look away. The two are always caught glancing at each other across the room before their friendship grows, and as I say, there's just so much chemistry and I felt a bit like it was queerbaiting, to be honest. It reminded me in ways of Lei and Wren in Girls of Paper and Fire; like a lite version of them and the way their relationship began, although as I say, it never came to pass. Also, attempting to cause jealousy between Sophie and Emmy over Tristan felt so petty and I didn't like it at all. The book is supposed to be set in a Victorian like era, and to anyone who thinks that an f/f relationship maybe wouldn't have been common then, I'd like to point out the fact that this book is set in "Britannia Secunda" - a country somewhere in Europe that was part of the British Empire and has gained independence. You know what else wasn't common in Victorian times? Britain giving any of their conquered countries their independence back. (hide spoiler)]Anyway, as I said in my mini spoiler rant, the book is set in Britannia Secunda; all we know about it is that it's in Europe, has gained independence from Britain (how? Are we getting no explanation for this?) and it's sole industry is fashion. The world building for the country itself was good but there's literally no backstory to it and I couldn't imagine where in the continent it was meant to be, and so am assuming it's an island off the south British coast or something. Oh, also, why are we supposed to be in a European/British country and yet autumn is referred to as fall? It's only a minor detail but the language threw me right out of the setting and it's definitely something I spotted. I enjoyed the descriptive sides of things in the Fashion House, although I would've liked to have been able to picture Emmy's designs better. I also felt let down by the ending as it seemed quite rushed and the conflict was resolved very quickly and almost too easily. To sum up, A Dress For the Wicked was just, well, ok. For me, it just needed more detail, and of course, a lot less insta-love...
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  • kerrycat
    January 1, 1970
    I wavered between a 3 and a 4 star review for this, but settled on 4. I like the premise, and the world created in a sort-of Victorian-ish time and place. The characters didn't feel all that real to me, and the ending felt very rushed. All the same, it did hold my interest, and wanted to know how it would end (all too quickly, and a bit predictably). goofy side note: every time Francesco stepped into the picture (and he does, a lot, as the Fashion House's creative director) I imagined Baileywick I wavered between a 3 and a 4 star review for this, but settled on 4. I like the premise, and the world created in a sort-of Victorian-ish time and place. The characters didn't feel all that real to me, and the ending felt very rushed. All the same, it did hold my interest, and wanted to know how it would end (all too quickly, and a bit predictably). goofy side note: every time Francesco stepped into the picture (and he does, a lot, as the Fashion House's creative director) I imagined Baileywick from Sofia the First. everything he said rang in my thoughts in that voice.
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  • Christina (Ensconced in Lit)
    January 1, 1970
    The new trend in YA lit apparently is combining different eras with Project Runway. Since I had just finished Spin the Dawn and absolutely loved it, I groaned when I started this one. While the beginning is not as strong, I quickly got swept away as it kept gaining momentum. This gem is definitely worth reading-- a depiction of a strong woman in a time when there were few women's rights, and a story about friendship, hard work, creativity and sacrifice-- and above all, never giving up.
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  • Georgi
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 STARS!
  • Erin A. Craig
    January 1, 1970
    This book was such a delight to read! I loved Emmy’s ambition and dreams and the dresses. Oh the dresses! This story was so sumptuous and delicious! 😍😍😍
  • Christine Stamper
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars. The Selection meets Project Runway. This book was fun, ridiculous, and full of totally indulgent descriptions of dresses. A fun, quick read.
  • Megan Lyons
    January 1, 1970
    Oh boy; where do I even start. I really love binge watching Project Runway. There is something about the mix of fashion, emotion and drama that I find so engaging and addicting. I knew when I read the description of this book that I was taking a risk requesting the ARC. I knew there was a good chance it would be a mess, but I was intrigued by the premise and hoped it would include the best parts of Project Runway. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way. The world building was so weird. It d Oh boy; where do I even start. I really love binge watching Project Runway. There is something about the mix of fashion, emotion and drama that I find so engaging and addicting. I knew when I read the description of this book that I was taking a risk requesting the ARC. I knew there was a good chance it would be a mess, but I was intrigued by the premise and hoped it would include the best parts of Project Runway. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way. The world building was so weird. It didn’t really make any sense. The whole economic and political structure of the setting revolved around fashion. Instead of people fighting for the separation of church and state, they were trying to keep fashion from being controlled by the Monachry/government!?!? It was just really odd, illogical and not very well explained. Maybe if it had been explained a bit more, I might have tired to run with it, but honestly, I can’t imagine a scenario where it wasn’t a stretch. The central fashion contest was pretty rushed and anticlimactic. The protagonist was not very memorable. The romance was pretty forced and instalove, and the cattiness between the characters was not fun, but more mean girl-esque. I got a little more interested by the end, but the climax, in particular, was quite rushed. However, I felt the same way when I read the first book in “The Selection” series, which was quite popular, so maybe I’m wrong about this. I don't really think so though.*I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books and Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review*
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  • Robin Kirk
    January 1, 1970
    I shelved this under adult an YA fantasy because I think this story has real crossover appeal. Krause is so perceptive about fashion not only as an art but as a language. Emmaline is a great protagonist and she faces each problem with inventiveness and flair. I loved the luscious description of fashion, with such attention not only to the detail but the meaning. Great read!
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  • Michael Morea
    January 1, 1970
    A refreshing take on the YA genre. Through the eyes of an outsider protagonist, Krause sets up an intriguing world where fashion determines fortune. The key framing device - a competition that affords the main character Emmy a rare opportunity to enter a domain occupied by the elites - provides the perfect backdrop to explore differences in class, character, and ambition among its participants. More than that, though, the book manages to tackle questions of what it means to be an artist, which w A refreshing take on the YA genre. Through the eyes of an outsider protagonist, Krause sets up an intriguing world where fashion determines fortune. The key framing device - a competition that affords the main character Emmy a rare opportunity to enter a domain occupied by the elites - provides the perfect backdrop to explore differences in class, character, and ambition among its participants. More than that, though, the book manages to tackle questions of what it means to be an artist, which will appeal to all creative types, regardless of whether or not you're into fashion. After this exciting debut, I eagerly await Krause's next book.
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Edelweiss and the Publisher for an ARC of this book!Things I loved about it:-The CoverWelp, that was a short list. Unfortunately A Dress for the Wicked by Autumn Krause fell very short. I was expecting more intrigue, more darkness, more suspense, just. What I DID get, was lots of talk about dress designs. Admittedly, the title of the book and synopsis of it should have prepared me for this, but I was not up to trudging through all the descriptions. Maybe someone who loves fas Thank you to Edelweiss and the Publisher for an ARC of this book!Things I loved about it:-The CoverWelp, that was a short list. Unfortunately A Dress for the Wicked by Autumn Krause fell very short. I was expecting more intrigue, more darkness, more suspense, just. What I DID get, was lots of talk about dress designs. Admittedly, the title of the book and synopsis of it should have prepared me for this, but I was not up to trudging through all the descriptions. Maybe someone who loves fashion design would enjoy it. I expected a book with more of the feel of The Belles by Rachel Hawkins, which I loved.In A Dress for the Wicked we follow Emmaline, a country girl who has dreams of making it in the fashion world, and enters a competition in the capital city to become part of the ONLY Fashion House. Of course, things don't end up being fair for her. She is just taken on because those in government are trying to make the fashion house a more "for the people" type place, thus they force them to take on a country contestant. She is paraded around and given little time to be a part of the competition.The book never really pulled me in, I kept expecting some revelation to happen, but nothing huge really did. It just was a consistent plateau of a book. I would only recommend it to people who love fashion, and even then, since I don't really know fashion well, I don't know if they would like it. Nice cover though!
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  • Online Eccentric Librarian
    January 1, 1970
    More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/ I can see the appeal of this book: it reads like a Project Runway season, has the typical YA overidealized heroine and hero, a strong Christian underpinning, undemanding writing, girls being catty with each other for 'drama', and current "Lifetime Channel" reality series influences. From a "Miss J" (America's Next Top Model judge) type of flamboyant assistant to our Edna Mode Fashion House doyenne, there's so much famili More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/ I can see the appeal of this book: it reads like a Project Runway season, has the typical YA overidealized heroine and hero, a strong Christian underpinning, undemanding writing, girls being catty with each other for 'drama', and current "Lifetime Channel" reality series influences. From a "Miss J" (America's Next Top Model judge) type of flamboyant assistant to our Edna Mode Fashion House doyenne, there's so much familiar territory here that readers, especially the YA ones, will feel right at home. But admittedly, a closer inspection does cause the plot to fall apart and reveal characters as superficial as the fashions they create.Story: Emmy has a passion for fashion but is trapped in a provincial village, far from the capital of Segunda Britannica and its omniscient Fashion House. But reformists want fashion for the masses and so Fashion House mogul Lady Jolene is forced to take an applicant from the country (the common folk) to take part in her yearly competition to find new talent to hire. Previously, only the daughters (no men?) of prominent families were invited to compete. But now Emmy has proven herself and feels she can win a spot at the prestigious Fashion House. But the girls she is competing with all have dark secrets and she finds herself embroiled in politics, cat fights, betrayals, sabotage and more as she tries to prove herself worthy.The first sign of trouble with A Dress for the Wicked comes with the love interest. The reporter for a tabloid type of paper has ideals to be a legitimate journalist and falls instantly in love with our heroine. None of the questions he asks her for his stories are insightful, none of the Fashion House staff are worried she's interacting with a tabloid journalist, and Emmy herself is convinced he's a good guy because.....he has blue eyes? He has a sense of humor? He's super handsome? It's hard to tell why she falls for him and throws caution to the wind. It's another instance of insta-luv.Other characters also fare poorly from weakly drawn characterizations; however, at least they didn't feel like caricatures of Project Runway contestants. Yet once again, it's all about 'high school' type of cat fights and pettiness among women that is so tiring in this genre. As usual, our heroine starts out as the outcast but manages to charm or impress everyone until they are on her side. I did appreciate a later betrayal from a very minor character (and betrayals were the consistent theme throughout) but the betrayals all ended up advancing Emmy rather than hindering her. The world building itself was lightly done and no attempt was made to create legitimacy. In order to get away from actual history, we have a pseudo-England and France set in a Victorian type of era. Since, in reality, fashion was strictly controlled in the Victorian and Edwardian period and styles did not change drastically, it felt like a cop out that Emmy had so much freedom to change things like waistlines (from true waist to empire) or skirt widths (from hobble to balloon). That wasn't a freedom afforded to fashion until WW1 knocked out the French fashion houses and American designers began exploring all eras from the past in the 1910s. I think a smarter choice for the author would have been about exploring the prevalent style of her year at the Fashion House and how she could bring something completely new to it. Or setting it in the late 1910s/early 1920s with the freedom in fashion that was afforded to designers of that time period. There is so much more to fashion than Project Runway gives us.I think perhaps the most frustrating thing was that the book is limited in the same way that Project Runway is limited: for financial reasons, designers only have a day or two to make a fashion - whereas, the most beautiful dresses really take weeks. I couldn't help but wish there were these 'labors' of love that take so long (we got a bit of it in the end but not much discussion about the fashions themselves or the inspiration for the collection) in the challenges at the Fashion House. After all, the characters in this book are not constrained by a production schedule.So yes, this is a nice Summer read that Lifetime Channel devotees will enjoy. I wouldn't mind more books in this style, but perhaps with an inspiration of fashion history rather than Project Runway. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.
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  • Krystianna
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.I have to say, even though I know it's bad, the cover is what originally drew me into reading this book. I mean, look how gorgeous it is! I loved the coloring and the fact that it looked painted. It's something I'd love to have framed on my wall. However, despite that, I wasn't the biggest fan of the story on the inside. What I liked The premise. I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.I have to say, even though I know it's bad, the cover is what originally drew me into reading this book. I mean, look how gorgeous it is! I loved the coloring and the fact that it looked painted. It's something I'd love to have framed on my wall. However, despite that, I wasn't the biggest fan of the story on the inside. What I liked The premise. I think the idea of a competition to get into the fashion industry with high stakes is such a good concept. It immediately hooked me from the beginning, and I was excited to see all the insides of the Fashion House and how cutthroat it could be. It all felt very much like The Hunger Games Capitol, especially with the whole idea of the city versus the country. Everything was so extravagant in the city, yet the country was very much looked down upon, and I was excited for Emmaline to prove everyone wrong. This book is historical fiction, but it's like an alternate time period. It was very interesting, and that made it almost feel like fantasy to me, because it was sort of like a reimagining of historical London. What I disliked There was so much buildup for the competition, only for it to completely fall flat. I was so excited with where the book was going, and I felt like there was going to be some huge reveal or something, but then everything went down and I was like... wait, what? That's it? I really just wanted more, especially because of how great the book was going for the longest time. I had trouble connecting to the setting because of the lack of world building. To me, world building is extremely important, especially when it's a made up setting. It's very different than, say, reading a book that's actually set in London, because I actually know about London. I think some more world building would've been helpful at times. The storyline with Emmaline's mother. From the beginning, the reader knows that the mother used to live in the city, though it's sort of suspicious and Emmaline looks into it. However, after finally finding out what her mother was doing in the city, it was disappointing. Needless to say, the things I didn't enjoy as much sort of outweighed the things that I did. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't give this book a chance, since you might have better luck than me!
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  • Mindi
    January 1, 1970
    I would never intentionally be hurtful to an author (I know how exhausting the creative process is, and how fragile and vulnerable it leaves creators), but I do think that reviews should not be written to stroke the author's ego; they should be honest opinions that will help other readers make decisions about books. After all, there are too many books and much too little time. As a librarian, whose job description includes helping people select books, this is especially important to me. I can't I would never intentionally be hurtful to an author (I know how exhausting the creative process is, and how fragile and vulnerable it leaves creators), but I do think that reviews should not be written to stroke the author's ego; they should be honest opinions that will help other readers make decisions about books. After all, there are too many books and much too little time. As a librarian, whose job description includes helping people select books, this is especially important to me. I can't always say what I want to say during reader's advisory because my role is to introduce readers to books and let them make decisions for themselves from there. Often, that means that I point out books even though I have reservations about them. Having resources, like goodreads, where readers can get a broad range of honest opinions, is so meaningful.Why am I saying all this here, when I [generally] try to keep my reviews pithy? Friend, it's because I want you to know that I am not saying any of what I am about to say because I have recently become friends with the author and spend a lot of time in awe of how cool she is (and baffled at our budding friendship because she is so much cooler than I am). Nor am I saying any of this because she sent me an ARC, which made me feel much cooler than I actually am. I am saying what I am about to say because I genuinely believe it.Look. I could say a lot of stuff. But I have been trying desperately to hit my reading challenge goal for this year, but all the YA novels I've picked up lately have been a struggle to get through for one reason or another. I could not put this book down. First, the concept is so unique. I admit that I love fashion and am therefore biased, but it was so refreshing...and the best part is that not once is fashion treated as silly, frivolous, or girly. Nor did it reek of misbegotten opulence. Fashion, in this book, is important because it is a way of creating, and there is something good about the act of creating.Second, the relationships are complex (the main romantic relationship was not the strongest, but the others more than made up for it, I think). You can also understand why so many of the characters care about Emmy, our heroine. And honestly, Sophie is just an amazing character (like, I LOVE her, and I am rarely interested in characters like her). It took me a long time to decide how I felt about the setting, but by the end I really was sold. It created a very distinctive atmosphere that felt honest to the story being told. And, you GUYS, I'm saying that about a VERY historically inaccurate Victorian England, a thing that normally sends me into a tailspin for weeks on end, because I just REALLY love the Victorians.More than any of this, though, A Dress for the Wicked is a book that I can recommend to the readers I work with...without one single reservation.
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  • Nicole
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.Swearing. All of the swearing ahead.Emmy has been chosen to represent her her small little town in the Fashion House competition. However, no one thinks she can do it. Can she prove them all wrong while staying true to herself? Basically, if you mix The Selection series with Project Runway and add a dash of Mean Girls, you'd get this book. Look, the book was captivating in some spots (hence the two stars, which according to Goo I received this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.Swearing. All of the swearing ahead.Emmy has been chosen to represent her her small little town in the Fashion House competition. However, no one thinks she can do it. Can she prove them all wrong while staying true to herself? Basically, if you mix The Selection series with Project Runway and add a dash of Mean Girls, you'd get this book. Look, the book was captivating in some spots (hence the two stars, which according to Goodreads means "I liked it," which I kind of did. I mean, I've read worse books.), but there were parts of it I absolutely loathed (hence the two stars). First of all, I am so fucking tired of girls fighting girls for shit. Let them just co-operate together because they'd get so much more accomplished by the end of the book, and I wouldn't be hating the portrayal of my gender in media so damn much. Some of the girls in the book are just so nasty to each other, and there's so much of that already in the media, so do we really need another book that has the stereotypical Mean Girls vibe? Answer: no. Second of all, the author literally beat us over the head like we were fucking baby seals with the plot point about Emmy being the country mouse and no one thinking she could be a designer and blah blah blah. Emmy spends more time whining about her circumstances then actually proving she can do the job. She's all about the telling, but she never really shows how good she is. And when she finally appears to be getting close to the actual showing, the book just ends. Poof done.The so-called plot twists are not plot twists at all; any reader with any knowledge of how YA books/genres work will be able to pretty much figure out the entire book somewhere around page 5. And then you'll spend the rest of book basking in your smugness of how exactly right you are. The entire book just falls perfectly into place; there's no major climax and everything happens just how you would expect it to. The romance in the story was a hot mess; don't expect that to make any sense. The relationship was there just to check a box; there's no real chemistry between Emmy and her love interest. Speaking of things that just didn't make sense the whole tie between fashion and the government still has me confused. That plot point also wasn't fleshed out nearly as well as it could have been.Honestly, at the end of the day, this book is a hot fucking mess. It has a very unfinished feeling for a stand alone. Clearly the author is hoping to be paid to write another book to tie up the plethora of loose ends in this book; however, I honestly don't care. I won't be reading it.
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  • Aoife
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsFashion is all Emmy dreams of, but as a country girl she has no chance of breaking into the highly regulated world of fashion. Until the premier - and only - fashion house opens its doors to one country girl. Emmy knows she's been taken on as a stunt, but she hopes to prove herself anyway. But she reckoned on how difficult it will be...I thought very carefully about this review, and settled on 3.5 of 5 for several reasons. The biggest is that we know almost nothing about the background 3.5 starsFashion is all Emmy dreams of, but as a country girl she has no chance of breaking into the highly regulated world of fashion. Until the premier - and only - fashion house opens its doors to one country girl. Emmy knows she's been taken on as a stunt, but she hopes to prove herself anyway. But she reckoned on how difficult it will be...I thought very carefully about this review, and settled on 3.5 of 5 for several reasons. The biggest is that we know almost nothing about the background of the world this novel is set in. It's a probably European? or maybe American? country which gained independence from England, but still calls itself Second England (Britannia Secunda) and where fashion is the biggest and almost onliest industry. But somehow there's still only one fashion house and everyone wears their designs. It has a royal family but they're losing power. That's basically everything we know about it. Even little things - Emmy's mother claims she worked in a factory but later admits that she actually worked in the fashion house - are never followed up on. The ending seems quite abrupt.But for all that, it's a very engaging story. I know almost nothing about fashion but I was still able to follow it easily. The characters are well written. I'd happily return to this world again to see what Emmy gets up to after this. I bet it would be fantastic.Receiving an ARC did not affect my review in any way.A long time ago, a neighbor woman had brought my mother her old china. She’d unpacked it on our kitchen counter, saying she was happy she could help others and that my mother didn’t need to thank her. I’d been just about table height then, and I was eye level to the chipped bowls, plates, and saucers she pulled out of her basket and placed on our counter. My mother had told her there was no need to thank her because we wouldn’t be keeping the china. The woman had gasped and sputtered, turning a strange shade of red. After she’d left—with the china packed back into her basket—my mother had bent down, put her hands on my shoulders and said, “We always have our dignity, Emmy. Always.”I’d allowed Madame Jolène to trot me out to the press. I’d smiled and nodded and eaten dry tea sandwiches at every luncheon, charity event, and dedication in Avon-upon-Kynt, even as my competition time was reduced to practically nothing. I’d worn pink, day in and day out. My sketches had been ruined and no one had even bothered to investigate; my brocade gown had been made without me even knowing. I’d fumed and fussed, but I’d gone on with my duties. Because that’s what I was supposed to do.
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  • Olivia Farr
    January 1, 1970
    See my full review here: http://www.yabookscentral.com/yaficti...A DRESS FOR THE WICKED is a lush and enthralling YA historical fiction that feels anything but historical! Emmaline (Emmy) Watkins lives with her mother in Shy, a quiet and poor town, where her mother owns a bar. Emmy has dreams of being a fashion designer, but there is only one Fashion House, and it does not usually take people from Shy. However, due to a changing political climate, the head of the Fashion House, Madame Jolene, is See my full review here: http://www.yabookscentral.com/yaficti...A DRESS FOR THE WICKED is a lush and enthralling YA historical fiction that feels anything but historical! Emmaline (Emmy) Watkins lives with her mother in Shy, a quiet and poor town, where her mother owns a bar. Emmy has dreams of being a fashion designer, but there is only one Fashion House, and it does not usually take people from Shy. However, due to a changing political climate, the head of the Fashion House, Madame Jolene, is allowing girls from outside the major city to compete. Emmy is thrilled but nervous, and when she brings her design, she is allowed to enter the competition, but she is to be a token competitor to satisfy the political climate. However, Emmy is ready to prove herself worthy of being chosen to work at the Fashion House in the Fashion House Interview (think a Project Runway style design challenges where no one gets sent home until the end when the top 1 or 2 are chosen to work for the Fashion House).Once she arrives at the Fashion House, Emmy realizes the competition will be fierce and the politics even fiercer. She is not sure who she can trust, and these choices may be even more important than the garments she designs.What I loved: The book is absolutely enthralling, and I was completely wrapped up in this world and Emmaline- she is a really engaging and easy to understand main character. The Fashion House Interview was really fascinating, and I loved the Project Runway style competition. With the added intrigue of politics, this book became pretty suspenseful and hard to put down.What left me wanting more: More world-building would have been interesting, as though this is a historical setting, there is a lot different from what we know. We do get enough to understand the basics though. I also would have liked to get into the minds of the secondary characters more, particularly Sophie, Tristan, and Kitty. They are all really important to the way that Emmy develops in the book, and I would have liked to understand them better. However, as-is, this adds to the intrigue and air of mistrust that propels a lot of the plot.Final verdict: Overall, this is an enthralling and enchanting story about big dreams, politics, and defying the odds that will have the reader eagerly turning pages. I highly recommend for anyone who loves books with fierce competitions with an underdog main character and/or for fans of THE SELECTION, THE TESTING, and/or THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA.
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