Elysium Girls
In this sweeping Dust Bowl-inspired fantasy, a ten-year game between Life and Death pits the walled Oklahoma city of Elysium-including a girl gang of witches and a demon who longs for humanity-against the supernatural in order to judge mankind.When Sal is named Successor to Mother Morevna, a powerful witch and leader of Elysium, she jumps at the chance to prove herself to the town. Ever since she was a kid, Sal has been plagued by false visions of rain, and though people think she's a liar, she knows she's a leader. Even the arrival of enigmatic outsider Asa-a human-obsessed demon in disguise-doesn't shake her confidence in her ability. Until a terrible mistake results in both Sal and Asa's exile into the Desert of Dust and Steel.Face-to-face with a brutal, unforgiving landscape, Sal and Asa join a gang of girls headed by another Elysium exile-and young witch herself-Olivia Rosales. In order to atone for their mistake, they create a cavalry of magic powered, scrap metal horses to save Elysium from the coming apocalypse. But Sal, Asa, and Olivia must do more than simply tip the scales in Elysium's favor-only by reinventing the rules can they beat the Life and Death at their own game.

Elysium Girls Details

TitleElysium Girls
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 14th, 2020
PublisherDisney-Hyperion
ISBN-139781368041867
Rating
GenreFantasy, Young Adult, LGBT, Young Adult Fantasy, GLBT, Queer

Elysium Girls Review

  • megs_bookrack
    January 1, 1970
    **4.5-stars**In the early-1930s, the Goddesses of Life and Death decided to play a little game. Their board, an Oklahoma settlement town called Elysium, set amidst a stark desert landscape. The inhabitants, their game pieces, scurrying around like the ants in A Bug's Life, trying to gather up enough sacrificial materials to please the Goddesses once the ten years are up.Within the settlement, an elder witch, Mother Morvena, seeks her replacement. She is nearing the end of her life, and as the **4.5-stars**In the early-1930s, the Goddesses of Life and Death decided to play a little game. Their board, an Oklahoma settlement town called Elysium, set amidst a stark desert landscape. The inhabitants, their game pieces, scurrying around like the ants in A Bug's Life, trying to gather up enough sacrificial materials to please the Goddesses once the ten years are up.Within the settlement, an elder witch, Mother Morvena, seeks her replacement. She is nearing the end of her life, and as the settlement's unofficial leader, someone needs to take over her duties.Sal Wilkerson has never quite fit in. She's different than the other girls and has few friends. She lost her mother to the Dust Sickness and has found it hard trying to make it on her own. She knows she is meant to be a leader, but getting others to see her as such will be a battle. Her recurring false visions of rain aren't helping matters.But when Mother Morvena selects Sal as her successor, things change. Sal begins to see how she can truly contribute and discovers her powers as a witch.Her new found celebrity is dimmed, however, when a new man arrives in town.A magician named, Asa, who happens to be a Daemon in disguise! All the townsfolk are completely enamored with him and constantly after him to perform tricks.When a magical duel between Sal and Asa goes horribly wrong, the entire fate of the game has been ruined. Blamed for the catastrophic result, they face excommunication and Asa disappears.Now alone, Sal is tossed outside the border wall and forced to survive in the desert, where cannibals are said to lurk.When all hope seems to be lost, Sal finds her salvation. A badass group of girls, the leader of which was also kicked out of Elysium for bad behavior.The group takes Sal in, along with Asa, who just couldn't keep away from those darn humans. They form a beloved found family that was an absolute delight to read.Together they plan to get back in the game and save all of Elysium from the clutches of Death.Y'all this book was so much fun to read. Super unique and absolutely full of action. I loved the setting, a sort of magical Deadwood meets Mad Max: Fury Road, and if that isn't reason enough to pick it up, I'm not sure what is.I loved both Sal and Asa, as well as many of the side characters. They were full of grit and fun to follow. I really started rooting for this girl gang.They were smart, tough and never afraid of a fight. The giant mechanical horse on the cover is in the story as well, adding a touch of steampunk charm!The whole way through I was so into it. Thinking all along, this is a 5-star read, but then, the last 20% sort of lost me.I found it confusing, it was going so fast and there were multiple twists thrown in right at the end. I still don't really understand the conclusion. I guess if I would have had more information on the world outside of Elysium, it may have solved some of the uncertainties. With this being said, this is still a highly enjoyable read. One that I can treasure for its magical narrative and captivating setting.I would urge anyone who finds the synopsis interesting to pick it up. I do not think you will be disappointed.Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney Book Group, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I had so much fun with it and look forward to seeing what Kate Pentecost dreams up next!
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  • Elise (TheBookishActress)
    January 1, 1970
    I dont even know what the book idea Mad Max: Fury Road meets Caraval with witch girl gangs is going to look like but Im okay with that I don’t even know what the book idea “Mad Max: Fury Road meets Caraval with witch girl gangs” is going to look like but I’m okay with that
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  • Tara ☽
    January 1, 1970
    This book is so far away and I don't know anything about the author, but I read the words "Mad Max", "girl gang" and "witches" and I hit that Want To Read option faster than Donald Trump would hit the nuclear button
  • raphael ✧
    January 1, 1970
    please be gay please be gay please be gay please be g
  • ♠ TABI ♠
    January 1, 1970
    Uhm yes I will read this. It had me at MMFRDAMN LOOK AT THAT COVER WOW
  • fae
    January 1, 1970
    a girl gang of witches and a wildcard demon??Goddesses of Life and Death??
  • Cindy ✩☽♔
    January 1, 1970
    Pitched as Mad Max: Fury Road meets Caraval in an alternate history American Dust Bowl, the book features a girl gang of witches and a wildcard demon... I have no idea what to expect, but I think I'm into it?
  • Vee_Bookish // mauve and dangerous
    January 1, 1970
    Mad Max meets Caraval also there's a witchy girl gangsI'm don't know what I'm here for but I'm here for it
  • Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
    January 1, 1970
    You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight Not going to lie here, friends, I had some sky-high expectations from this book. Because come on, did you see the synopsis? It sounds amazing! And I am here with some great news! It fully delivered (in fact, I think it exceeded my expectations, woo)! And now, I am going to tell you all the reasons that Elysium Girls hits it out of the park! The setting was so on point! When I read You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight Not going to lie here, friends, I had some sky-high expectations from this book. Because come on, did you see the synopsis? It sounds amazing! And I am here with some great news! It fully delivered (in fact, I think it exceeded my expectations, woo)! And now, I am going to tell you all the reasons that Elysium Girls hits it out of the park! • The setting was so on point! When I read "Dust Bowl Inspired", I figured it may be just... a vague feeling of similarity. But NOPE. It is in the actual Dust Bowl! Right smack in the middle of Depression-era Oklahoma, you will feel how dire of a situation this book is set in. Because yes, it's set in a real place and time, but in an alternate situation. It'll all be explained to you, which is also greatly appreciated. The author provides a lot of world-building along the way. In fact, it's kind of a big part of the plot, in essence! • Sal is an incredibly relatable and sympathetic character. Gosh, girl cannot catch a break! If it wasn't bad enough that she's stuck in Elysium, her mom is dead, and she's kind of the town pariah after a bout of magic that didn't turn out as she'd planned. She has a handful of allies, but none that are willing to really go to bat for her. At the start, anyway. • When Sal finds her people, it is absolute perfection. Look, I am not telling you the who, where, when, etc, because I think you're better off finding that out on your own, but the people who Sal eventually finds/chooses are kind of a perfect fit and they elevate the book so much. • I actually enjoyed the magic system! I know you guys, this is a big rarity for me, but here I am, liking me some magic! The author describes it really well in a way that didn't go over my head or feel convoluted. And considering the situation, it worked without requiring any suspension of disbelief. • The author absolutely nails the descriptions of the events. And make no mistake, this was not an easy feat! I mean, some things happen in the book that are kind of bananas, so you can imagine that it's a tricky thing to truly make the reader visualize. But she did it! I was able to fully understand what was happening, even when there was a lot of action and excitement. I could picture and sense what was happening with our characters. It stood out for me so much that I kept making Kindle notes about it, which is why I am sharing with you! • It's thought provoking, very morally gray, and asks the tough questions. I mean, is there anything I love more than a book that forces its characters to make some terrible decisions and figure out the least of evils? No there is not, and this book absolutely features ALL of that! Bottom Line: So atmospheric with fabulous characters and a ton of heart and hope in the darkest of situations, Elysium Girls is one you cannot miss.
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  • Shelley
    January 1, 1970
    *Source* Publisher*Genre* Young Adult / Fantasy*Rating* 4.0*Thoughts*Elysium Girls is author Kate Pentecost's debut novel. In this sweeping Dust Bowl-inspired fantasy, a ten-year game between Life and Death pits the walled Oklahoma city of Elysium against the supernatural in order to judge mankind. On April 14, 1935, two sisters, Life and Death, who like to gamble with each other, time, space and human lives, make a deal with Mother Morevna, leader of Elysium. They will have 10 years without *Source* Publisher*Genre* Young Adult / Fantasy*Rating* 4.0*Thoughts*Elysium Girls is author Kate Pentecost's debut novel. In this sweeping Dust Bowl-inspired fantasy, a ten-year game between Life and Death pits the walled Oklahoma city of Elysium against the supernatural in order to judge mankind. On April 14, 1935, two sisters, Life and Death, who like to gamble with each other, time, space and human lives, make a deal with Mother Morevna, leader of Elysium. They will have 10 years without interference to prove that they are worthy of staying alive. If society is judged good, life goes on. If society fails, the entire town is wiped out of existence. *Full Review @ Gizmos Reviews*https://gizmosreviews.blogspot.com/20...
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  • Dahlia
    January 1, 1970
    This was very cool! It's not the most "my thing" as far as genres go but I had to read it to confirm it was Sapphic as reported, and I read the whole thing in a couple of days so it was certainly compelling! Think The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco meets The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis. There are a couple of things that I thought were leading to much cooler, grander revelations** but didn't (one I think is just an error, so hopefully that's fixed for the final copy; I read an This was very cool! It's not the most "my thing" as far as genres go but I had to read it to confirm it was Sapphic as reported, and I read the whole thing in a couple of days so it was certainly compelling! Think The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco meets The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis. There are a couple of things that I thought were leading to much cooler, grander revelations** but didn't (one I think is just an error, so hopefully that's fixed for the final copy; I read an ARC), but I definitely did not see All the Things coming in this book that did, and there were a bunch of IMO really well-done surprises. *It is, in the sense of the female MC definitely being into her female friend, though it's not explicit that she ever figures out her feelings are romantic, whereas the LI knows she's queer - basically, I'd say it's queer but don't go into it *for* the f/f Romance, because there isn't explicitly one. I think maybe if you like more ace-spectrum-coded romances, this could be very much your jam though?**(view spoiler)[At one point, there's a mention of a code that's in Cyrillic (though how the MC would know it's Cyrillic, I have no idea), and I thought "Oooh, Russian Spy!" because this is set around mid-20th-century, but it didn't actually have any deeper meaning. (Also, Cyrillic for this coding didn't really make sense, so I'm very curious about that choice.) There's also a mention of a girl learning about "all 50 states" in class, but there weren't 50 states when the book is set, so that's the error I'm assuming will be caught by the time the book goes to print. (hide spoiler)]
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  • ✩ Ashley ✩
    January 1, 1970
    In *love* with the chills this cover gives!! 🖤This cover is TOO GOOD - why hasnt it dropped on GR yet?!?!? 🔥 In *love* with the chills this cover gives!! 🖤————————————This cover is TOO GOOD - why hasn’t it dropped on GR yet?!?!? 🔥
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  • Kristi Housman Confessions of a YA Reader
    January 1, 1970
    RTC for blog tour.
  • Autumn Krause
    January 1, 1970
    I got to read this prior to publication and IT. IS. AMAZING. It's a thrilling story grounded in exquisite writing--all I can say is: read this!! It delivers on every level.
  • rachel ☾
    January 1, 1970
    In this sweeping Dust Bowl-inspired fantasy, a ten-year game between Life and Death pits the walled Oklahoma city of Elysium-including a girl gang of witches and a demon who longs for humanity-against the supernatural in order to judge mankind. Blog Goodreads Twitter Instagram In this sweeping Dust Bowl-inspired fantasy, a ten-year game between Life and Death pits the walled Oklahoma city of Elysium-including a girl gang of witches and a demon who longs for humanity-against the supernatural in order to judge mankind. Blog • Goodreads • Twitter • Instagram
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  • Chelsies Crazy4Books
    January 1, 1970
    The sample was amazing. I cant wait to get my hands on the full novel.
  • Allisa White
    January 1, 1970
    There are not many YA westerns out there, so when I first heard about this YA western fantasy, I was really excited! I love a good western setting and the characters they bring, and I was not disappointed with Elysium Girls!Quick Thoughts-There is not much focus on romance in this book, but what's there was just. SO. CUTE. I could not stop squealing over the cuteness of the romance.-This book is so easy to read (at least it was for me). The prose wasn't flowery, and the action was exciting and There are not many YA westerns out there, so when I first heard about this YA western fantasy, I was really excited! I love a good western setting and the characters they bring, and I was not disappointed with Elysium Girls!Quick Thoughts-There is not much focus on romance in this book, but what's there was just. SO. CUTE. I could not stop squealing over the cuteness of the romance.-This book is so easy to read (at least it was for me). The prose wasn't flowery, and the action was exciting and the whole book was just so FUN. It did not take me long to get through it.-This is a PSA: Elysium Girls is a standalone fantasy book! Yup, there is no sequel! How awesome is that?Lasting ImpressionsMy favorite part of this book is how unique and fresh it is. It blends so many different components together that it felt like I was reading something totally new. For one thing, the genre blend of western and fantasy is definitely not something I've read! This book has magic, goddesses, daemons, and witches, but it I was never confused about the world building or the magic system. It was refreshingly simple and not overwrought.And speaking of the world, this one is so interesting! The book is set in 1944, so not exactly your spaghetti-western time period, but the setting if Elysium, Oklahoma trapped in time because of a pair of gambling goddesses is just so fascinating. The added touches of steampunk, metal/magic horses was just the best thing ever.You know what else was the best thing ever? The goshdarned plot! There were so many twists, so many reveals that I didn't see coming! It was fast-paced and exciting with lots of action.But my favorite thing about this book was the characters. The main character, Sal, is so uncertain and doubtful of herself at first, but watching her grow into her powers and seeing her grow in confidence was just so heartwarming. And Asa is THE BEST! He's so funny and sweet, especially for a daemon. The other secondary characters such as Lucy and Olivia were all three-dimensional and so interesting to learn more about. The rest of the girls who make up the desert witchy girl gang are also wonderful. The sisterhood is strong in this book, and I am here for it!Overall FeelingsKate Pentecost is a new author to watch out for! Her debut is incredibly strong, and a lot of fun. I can't wait to see what else she comes up with! If you're looking for a standalone fantasy that is different from the norm, or you're just looking for a wonderful fantasy book in general, you should definitely pick this book up!
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  • Sana
    January 1, 1970
    This one sounds too good to be true but hey, here for the girl gang just like in Undead Girl Gang and The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy
  • Uma | Books.Bags.Burgers
    January 1, 1970
    (A huge thank you to the FFBC tours FFBC tours the publisher and Netgalley for the eARC of the book)SAY HELLO TO MY NEW FAVOURITE BOOK. The author takes some regular tropes tropes and turns them into something crazy spectacular and 200% unique and I'll just be over here rambling about the brilliance of this book so read on! I shall try to be coherent ~Hello to the most incredible setting/world of ever~ A walled city surrounded by the desert of sand and steel, watched by Life and Death. That (A huge thank you to the FFBC tours FFBC tours the publisher and Netgalley for the eARC of the book)SAY HELLO TO MY NEW FAVOURITE BOOK. The author takes some regular tropes tropes and turns them into something crazy spectacular and 200% unique and I'll just be over here rambling about the brilliance of this book so read on! I shall try to be coherent ~Hello to the most incredible setting/world of ever~ A walled city surrounded by the desert of sand and steel, watched by Life and Death. That would be an underrated and simplistic way of describing it. Elysium is the city the two sisters, Life and Death are betting over. They are betting over it's survival in the harshest conditions trying to tip the scales in their favour by using their wildcard. The aesthetic of this world was just so unique, a kind of recycled metal technology along with magic. my favourite part were the horses (an example of which you see on the cover); made of metal scraps, held together by bolts and magic, brought to a type of life by magic. It's not quite steampunk meets magic and I AM SO HERE FOR IT. I get exactly why it's described as Mad Max: Fury road meets witches. ~Meet the Characters~ Kate Pentecost plays with tropes, teases us with the idea of cliche tropes but before we can groan about it, BAM she reinvents the whole trope and gives us something unique. There is Sal, the orphaned MC who is something of an outsider within Elysium. There is Asa, the demon in human form, something of a chosen one, a wildcard who appears pretty much out of nowhere at the Elysium. There is so much chance this could have been orphan girl meets mysterious stranger boy and goes lovey eyed. Readers almost expect that to happen but the brilliant story teller that is Ms. Pentecost turns it all around.”And it’s not like you, the strong, patient, ingenious girl I know, to bow before something as insignificant as fate.” The non stilted romances THAT WERE NOT THE FOCUS OF THE STORY were a HUGE plus. The romance is there, the crushes are there but they are not all-encompassing or taking away from the plot. There is both a straight romance and a f/f pairing is all I'm going to say. ~Hello Plot Twists ~ I'm not saying I didn't at all see some of the plot twists coming; I did, BUT were they still awesome? ABSOLUTELY. And when some plot twists were revealed, I could go back and see just how cleverly and subtly it had been foreshadowed. I like it when a book has (a) Plot twists that shock me (b) Plot twists that are not as shocking but are cleverly foreshadowed and utterly brilliant. this book has both these kinds of plot twists ~A Writing style to draw you In ~ The writing is amazing. This is probably the most well written debut book I have read so far. I loved how the authors puts everything in front of the readers in a simple but captivating manner. I read this book in pretty much one sitting. Even when we came to some points where the story itself was a bit slow, the writing was always there to keep me swiping through the pages. ~A unique, badass standalone novel where metal meets magic and strong willed characters fight for their own destinies and not bow to any predetermined fates ~
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  • Leah
    January 1, 1970
    None of this should work. In reading the synopsis, there is no way that any two elements of this story should work together. And yet, somehow, some unfathomable how, it does. Beautifully.Full review and blog tour at Write, Read, RepeatThe premise of this book could be likened to quarantine cooking. The author rooted through her mental pantry and threw whatever she had that might taste decent into a pot. Dustbowl USA, the Great Depression, a game between the goddesses of life and death, witches, None of this should work. In reading the synopsis, there is no way that any two elements of this story should work together. And yet, somehow, some unfathomable how, it does. Beautifully.Full review and blog tour at Write, Read, RepeatThe premise of this book could be likened to quarantine cooking. The author rooted through her mental pantry and threw whatever she had that might taste decent into a pot. Dustbowl USA, the Great Depression, a game between the goddesses of life and death, witches, daemons, and a gun-slinging girl gang with metal horses. All of it into a pot, simmered on the stove for twenty minutes until this book sat at the bottom. And somehow it works. It's a fantastical and weird mix of story elements that all piece together to form a highly unique and entertaining story.On top of the writing being excellent, there are some incredible world building details. I mean, obviously, but let me go into a few of my favourites. Dust sickness is a blight that infects people in the walled town of Elysium from the regularly occurring dust storms that hammer this isolated world. It gets in their lungs and makes them cough up mud. Another detail I liked is the monsters in the desert. They aren't featured much—to my eternal disappointment—but there is one that pulls you down through your own shadow like quicksand. And yet for all that I liked, there wasn't enough. I was left feeling a little cheated on a few things. The horses, for instance. They're a huge part of why I was drawn to this book. Metal, fiery horses on the cover; surely they're a focal point. Instead I found they weren't explained well and didn't become important until way too late.I was surprised by how well diversity was handled in this book. I've often seen books set in this time period maintain the racist and sexist tones of life at the time. Coloured-only spaces and the woman is only good in the kitchen and all that. This book said I see you, and I know you're wrong. In Elysium, the leader strives to create a town of equality. It is led by a woman, and racism and sexism are not present. Everyone is treated the same, given the circumstances, and it was such a treat. And, of course, who can say no to a gang of girls causing trouble out in the big, bad desert?If you're coming into this expecting a spectacular sapphic read, I'd temper those expectations right this second. To call it wholly queer is a stretch. For one, there is very little romance that takes place. The most prominent love story is between one main and secondary character, and it's a peculiar straight one. Yes, there are a couple of characters who we know to be lesbian, but nothing comes of it. Even when the other main character begins to develop feelings toward a woman, it is never named or acknowledged, really. As a debut and a standalone, this was a ridiculously unique and entertaining read that I would highly recommend if you're on the lookout for something new and different.3.5/5 stars
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  • gwendalyn _books_
    January 1, 1970
    This book was received from the Author, and Publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. ELYSIUM GIRLS by @katepentecost#ElysiumGirls #witchyreadsThis stunning western style dystopian, is one uniquely compelling Dust Bowl-inspired fantasy. A Wild Wild West of a fantasy that plunges the reader into 1935, Oklahoma where a high stake ten year game between Sister Goddesses one of Life and the other of Death a book of survival or This book was received from the Author, and Publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. ELYSIUM GIRLS by @katepentecost#ElysiumGirls #witchyreadsThis stunning western style dystopian, is one uniquely compelling Dust Bowl-inspired fantasy. A Wild Wild West of a fantasy that plunges the reader into 1935, Oklahoma where a high stake ten year game between Sister Goddesses one of Life and the other of Death… a book of survival or annihilation, witchy girls, and goddesses.On the pivotal day April 14th, 1935 A powerful devastating dust storm changes the Oklahoma Panhandle. Leaving in it’s wake an unfathomable destruction to the landscape and its survivors.The sister Goddesses of Life and Death set a challenge to those remaining to establish order, building a city and tithing of third of their harvests crops for 10 years. The time is drawing near and the fate of the people are at hand and will be so determined by the Goddess ThemselvesElysium, a walled city of of an alternative Oklahoma, is under the leadership of a powerful witch, Mother Morvena. Strategically set apart from the world, ELYSIUM and it’s survivors struggle under desperate post apocalypses circumstances. Just staying alive is feat in its self, when death by the dust-sickness, that causes you to cough up mud is spreading everywhere. and no one knows how to stop it.The struggles are real in treacherous society where food is rationed, along with the decline of religious beliefs, to dealing with racism. Ultimately the city must go head to head in a battle against the supernatural soldiers sent by Life and Death.Sal Wilkerson won’t be a pawn in this game, our exceptional heroine, is an outcast in Elysium. Ever since she was a child she had false visions of rain. She is chosen by witch, Mother Morvena, to be her successor. But when a series of events happens, Sal is faced with exile, when she falls from grace. Accompanied with Asa, a demon turned human.Outcasted in a desolate desert, the two saddle up to a misfit girl gang witches. Sal comes into her own, when she is excepted within the exiled girl gang and their witchy leader Olivia Rosales. They join forces together and create a cavalry of magic powered scrap metal horses to fight to save Elysium.Wow, this was an exceptional creative novel, with its intriguing characters,and vibrant world building. The Magic System was enjoyable and easy to comprehend, the characters were well fleshed out.This a stunning steampunk badass book about girl power and friendship. I was completely engaged and immersed into this neck-breaking paced Ya Fantasy!#yalit #yafantasy#bookishalgorithm #bookreview #bookrecommendations #elysiumgirls #disneyhyperion #katepentecost
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  • Paige Green
    January 1, 1970
    Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher and Fantastic Flying Book Club. Thanks! All opinions are my own.Book: Elysium GirlsAuthor: Kate PentecostBook Series: Standalone?Rating: 3/5Diversity: LGBT f/f momentsPublication Date: April 14, 2020Genre: YA FantasyRecommended Age: 16+ (violence, slight gore, romance, magic, and dust)Publisher: Disney HyperionPages: 400Amazon LinkSynopsis: In this sweeping Dust Bowl-inspired fantasy, a ten-year game between Life and Death pits the walled Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher and Fantastic Flying Book Club. Thanks! All opinions are my own.Book: Elysium GirlsAuthor: Kate PentecostBook Series: Standalone?Rating: 3/5Diversity: LGBT f/f momentsPublication Date: April 14, 2020Genre: YA FantasyRecommended Age: 16+ (violence, slight gore, romance, magic, and dust)Publisher: Disney HyperionPages: 400Amazon LinkSynopsis: In this sweeping Dust Bowl-inspired fantasy, a ten-year game between Life and Death pits the walled Oklahoma city of Elysium-including a girl gang of witches and a demon who longs for humanity-against the supernatural in order to judge mankind.When Sal is named Successor to Mother Morevna, a powerful witch and leader of Elysium, she jumps at the chance to prove herself to the town. Ever since she was a kid, Sal has been plagued by false visions of rain, and though people think she's a liar, she knows she's a leader. Even the arrival of enigmatic outsider Asa-a human-obsessed demon in disguise-doesn't shake her confidence in her ability. Until a terrible mistake results in both Sal and Asa's exile into the Desert of Dust and Steel.Face-to-face with a brutal, unforgiving landscape, Sal and Asa join a gang of girls headed by another Elysium exile-and young witch herself-Olivia Rosales. In order to atone for their mistake, they create a cavalry of magic powered, scrap metal horses to save Elysium from the coming apocalypse. But Sal, Asa, and Olivia must do more than simply tip the scales in Elysium's favor-only by reinventing the rules can they beat the Life and Death at their own game.Review: For the most part this book was ok. The characters were complex and well developed. The author did great to include diversity in her novel and make the content LGBT friendly. And the book had a good pacing. The story was also intriguing and there was a great voice that the author had when speaking through the main character.However, I had a lot of issues with the novel. The plot was confusing and there was very little world building. The magic system (yes there’s magic, it didn’t seem like there would be when I picked this book up) wasn’t explained fully and it didn’t really fit in with the world that I understood it to be. The history and background information was muddied and unexplained, which made it really hard to understand where the characters were coming from and how they were coming to the conclusions that they did. The romance also felt forced to me, like it just felt really off. There was also POV switching, which I don’t mind, but the tenses did change and that also made for a confusing read on my end.Verdict: Overall, I think the book is good and interesting, but I think it definitely needed another round of edits. However, I did have an ARC so it should have went through another round or so before final printing. Hopefully, the issues have been ironed out in it.
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  • Austine (NovelKnight)
    January 1, 1970
    Check out the original review and more on NovelKnight! This book was provided by the publisher (via NetGalley). This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Highlights: an unexpected blend of fantasy and the Wild West friendships that fly off the page with a cast of characters you can't help but love the sweetest F/F romance I've ever read strong themes of self discovery and friendship from the very beginning slightly rushed ending but the story is highly engaging Check out the original review and more on NovelKnight! This book was provided by the publisher (via NetGalley). This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Highlights:— an unexpected blend of fantasy and the Wild West— friendships that fly off the page with a cast of characters you can't help but love— the sweetest F/F romance I've ever read— strong themes of self discovery and friendship from the very beginning— slightly rushed ending but the story is highly engaging overallHave you ever read a synopsis for a book and thought "there's no way this is going to work"? Because that's the first thing that came to mind for me with Elysium Girls. And it wasn't a bad thing. While I was wondering how it would all work, I also wanted to see if the author could pull off mashing goddesses and daemons and witches and magical curses all in a Dust-Bowl-inspired fantasy.And readers, Pentecost did. It all worked beautifully.While the fantasy elements of the book are pretty obvious, the real story is more about self-discovery and friendship. Sal has been ostracized by her community (a community she literally can't escape) for most of her life and seeing how she comes into her own is really empowering. Elysium Girls does shift between different points of view and while I mentioned Sal as more of the protagonist, we also have Lucy running an underground make-up business, Asa the daemon who just wants to be human, Olivia whose family means more than anything to her, Susannah who's trying to find her place and her culture, Mouse the slightly devious but totally adorable youngster, and more. Pentecost brought a fairly large cast together into this single standalone story, with all the different fantastical components too, and somehow blended them together in a way that felt real and grounded in this world. No afterthoughts here. The character cast is diverse and dynamic. I never felt like the secondary characters were slighted or used as a means to an end in the development of another person.Not to mention this book has the sweetest F/F romance that was pure perfection and the romantic subplot didn't overtake the main plot (which I see happen a lot in YA fantasy lately). There was that perfect balance that I think will make this book appeal to readers who like a bit of romance in their fantasy, but also readers who don't. Which is weird to say but I feel like it's harder to find YA fantasies like that now? Anyway, I personally loved the romance and was here for it.My only real issue was the ending. Nearly the entire book is building up to this final showdown, the potential end of days as it were, but when it finally comes... I don't know, it just fell a bit flat for me. It was a bit too rushed to be completely satisfying. Another chapter, or maybe even just a few more pages, I think would have fixed that and not rushed through to the end. I thought my eBook tricked me when it said I still had about 2% left and the book had just ended.But other than that, I flew through Elysium Girls in nearly one sitting, and would highly recommend this to readers seeking a story of self-discovery, friendship, and an examination of humanity under a lens.For More Bookish Content: Blog || Twitter || Facebook || Bloglovin'
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  • Stephanie Ward
    January 1, 1970
    'Elysium Girls' is an amazing new YA fantasy that is like nothing I've read before. I honestly wasn't sure what to expect from the description. There are so many different variables that sound like they shouldn't match up right but I was very pleasantly surprised. Everything about this novel was incredibly well done - from the writing to the characters, the story line to the setting, and everything in between. Sal was a strong main character for the story and I connected with her right away. 'Elysium Girls' is an amazing new YA fantasy that is like nothing I've read before. I honestly wasn't sure what to expect from the description. There are so many different variables that sound like they shouldn't match up right but I was very pleasantly surprised. Everything about this novel was incredibly well done - from the writing to the characters, the story line to the setting, and everything in between. Sal was a strong main character for the story and I connected with her right away. She's kind of the town outcast who's an unwanted burden to most. She puts up with a lot of crap from other people but tries to take the high road, stay out of trouble and be invisible. I found her to be incredibly realistic and I was definitely rooting for her throughout the story. She has her strengths - she's a gifted witch, she's smart, strong, brave, determined, and honest. She has her flaws like everyone else though - she doesn't believe in herself and her potential for one thing. I loved getting to know her throughout the story and seeing her character change and grow. One major plus for me was the writing style. The author wrote the book in the first person point of view - from Sal's perspective. This is by far my favorite writing style and I love that the book was done this way. We really get to know Sal on a deep and personal level - the kind that only this writing style can provide (in my opinion). We're privy to her innermost thoughts, hopes and dreams, fears and uncertainties, memories, and everything in between. I can't emphasize enough how much I love that the story is written this way.The plot was fantastic and an interesting mix of several genres. There's fantasy, paranormal, historical, and western. It doesn't seem like they should fit together but the author did a wonderful job of interweaving them and creating something completely fresh and original. I'm really glad I gave this one a chance and will definitely be re-reading it again soon. Very highly recommended for fans of all genres and readers looking for something unique and exciting.Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Alexx
    January 1, 1970
    Elysium Girls is an incredibly diverse and original YA Fantasy novel that will wow you as you flip the page!When I first saw and heard of Elysium Girls I was intrigued, but Im going to be honest and say I didnt know what to make of it. But as I read, I realized just how original and unique this story is. Its not your usual YA Fantasy novel with magic in a fictional magical land. Instead, its a story in a Southern setting with a diverse cast and a high stakes plot.The first 40% dragged on for me. Elysium Girls is an incredibly diverse and original YA Fantasy novel that will wow you as you flip the page!When I first saw and heard of Elysium Girls I was intrigued, but I’m going to be honest and say I didn’t know what to make of it. But as I read, I realized just how original and unique this story is. It’s not your usual YA Fantasy novel with magic in a fictional magical land. Instead, it’s a story in a Southern setting with a diverse cast and a high stakes plot.The first 40% dragged on for me. It definitely took a while to build up. But once I got past that, it just got more interesting! I met the girl gang of witches (which was incredibly diverse and I have to give kudos to the author for that, (there are Mexican characters, Black characters, and Native American characters!)), and the plot thickened.The characters are great, but I wanted more characterization. Specifically, I wanted to explore these different characters more and see more of their relationship with the other characters. For example, Sal and Asa has a connection since they were part of a big mistake and got exiled from Elysium together. They have a bond of their own, but I never got to see that flourish. Sal and Olivia also has quite a dynamic as sister witches/co-leaders, but I never fully saw that. And of course, Sal and Lucy. I shipped them since the beginning, even though they only had a few scenes together. I just wanted more of them!On the other hand, I loved the plot twists! They were not anything major or out of the blue, instead they were just right and were cleverly written into the story. The author’s use of foreshadowing was also great and it made the story more exciting as I unraveled all the little details. The epic final battle was also a great way to end the story! Although, I do wish that there was some sort of epilogue after that.Overall, Elysium Girls was a great read and I am pleasantly surprised! Go ahead and pick up this book!(This review was first published as part of the Elysium Girls Blog Tour.)
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  • USOM
    January 1, 1970
    (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) Elysium Girls is a story of witchcraft, cunning, and friendship. Mixing a dust bowl setting meets Wild West and witches, Elysium Girls revolves around Sal an the found family she creates. Caught in the middle of a game between life and death, part of what I adored about Elysium Girls was its celebration of friendship. I've always felt that at the end of the world, we would either (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) Elysium Girls is a story of witchcraft, cunning, and friendship. Mixing a dust bowl setting meets Wild West and witches, Elysium Girls revolves around Sal an the found family she creates. Caught in the middle of a game between life and death, part of what I adored about Elysium Girls was its celebration of friendship. I've always felt that at the end of the world, we would either fracture or band together. And Elysium Girls proves that if you can find your family, the place where you belong, you can make real change.The girls were the highlight of Elysium Girls. Not only were some of them queer, and some POC characters too, but their friendship is supportive. It gave me all the good vibes feelings with a sense of high stakes. The kind of book that pulls you out of a slump. If you're also a fan of characters who aren't quite human, but are more human like than some humans - this book is for you! Elysium Girls is able to balance a mysterious plot full of betrayal and end-of-the-world vibes, with moments of happiness and bonding. Glimmers of light in the impending dust storm.full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...
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  • tina
    January 1, 1970
    this is the night circus but for people who like buff girls with weapons, daemons disguised as very soft boys, and books that have a plot
  • Micaela Muldoon
    January 1, 1970
    - American Dust Bowl- girl gang of witches- other supernatural players- high stakesAm hyperventilating from how awesome this book sounds. Send help.
  • Sheila Goicea
    January 1, 1970
    I'm excited to be a part of the ELYSIUM GIRLS blog tour with The Fantastic Flying Book Club from April 8th - April 14th, 2020!I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! In no way does this affect my rating or review.All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication. Content Warning: Epidemic illness, Mass-Death, Gore, Prejudice, Murder, Profanity, Animal sacrifice First of all, there isnt only one god. There I'm excited to be a part of the ELYSIUM GIRLS blog tour with The Fantastic Flying Book Club from April 8th - April 14th, 2020!I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! In no way does this affect my rating or review.All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication. Content Warning: Epidemic illness, Mass-Death, Gore, Prejudice, Murder, Profanity, Animal sacrifice First of all, there isn’t only one god. There are two Sisters--Life and Death--and their Mother, who presides over everything else. And the Sisters like to gamble against each other with things like time and space and human lives. And when our world ended and their Game began, it was silent and smothering as the grave. April 14, 1935 is known as Black Sunday in Elysium, Oklahoma. It was the day that reality changed. A dust storm appeared on the horizon and soon engulfed the region in a dark cloud. It was the moment that the entities of the Mother, and her daughters, Life and Death revealed themselves, and the game they decided to play. For the next ten years, Elysium would have to prove themselves to decide if they would return to the normal world outside or remain in this dust-bowl dystopia for eternity.In the present, only a short time remains to the next confrontation with the Dust Soldiers--the conduits of the entities. Sal, a young woman residing within the walls of Elysium, anxiously counts down with the rest of the town’s citizens. Orphaned and outcasted by the rest, Sal still knows that she is destined for more than to be known as the “girl who cried rain.” Premonitions of coming rain from when she was a young girl have plagued her ever since--turning the town against her when the rain never came. But the visions have only grown stronger. Dust Sickness has only become more prevalent within the city walls. Time is running out. The time has also come for the town’s leader to choose a Successor. Mother Morevna, a witch and strong leader shockingly names Sal to become that person. Ready for the challenge, and ready to discover more about herself and the possible magic that she possesses, Sal enters into training. Her victory and change of status, however, are eclipsed by the arrival of Asa to town. A professed traveling magician, Asa is truthfully a Daemon in disguise and servant to Life on an errand for his goddess. His exhibition of magic in a random dust storm, however, turns the townsfolk from Sal to Asa, causing a rift in the hierarchy. In an orchestrated magical duel between Sal and Asa to prove that Sal is the superior magic leader, plans go awry, and Sal finds herself banned from Elysium. As Asa realized this completely, the yearning seemed to fill his every sinew, his every fiber, and he knew he was powerless to resist this new, intoxicating thing called humanity. Sal is faced with a much bigger problem now that she is stranded in the desert. Her want-to-be-human-daemon adversary luckily decides to accompany her outside the walls. As they traverse the harrowingly new landscape, the two begin on a journey that will unravel the truth about the game waged between Life and Death, Dust Sickness, and the foundations of Elysium itself. Almost eerily familiar to current events in the world today, Elysium Girls is a timely read while a mysterious illness ravages the town, a celestial war ensues, and magic enables a secret agenda. Fans of diverse Westerns with a flare of Mad Max dystopia elements will find this fast-paced read a contender in dust-bowl fantasies.Vulgarity: Minimal.Sexual content: Minimal.Violence: Moderate.My Rating:★★★1/2My Blog ¦ Bookstagram ¦ Twitter ¦ Pinterest ¦ Facebook
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  • Camillea
    January 1, 1970
    With the way the world is, I know many of us probably dont want to read a book set post-cataclysm. Rest assured, Elysium Girls might seem like a book for the tough-skinned but it is more than about a society thrown in a savage game for the Goddesses of Life and Dead. The story of Elysium Girls is full of hope. The themes of the book centre on found family, and the spirit of a human heart.Who wouldnt want to read a book with a steampunk horse on the cover?I absolutely enjoyed reading this book With the way the world is, I know many of us probably don’t want to read a book set post-cataclysm. Rest assured, Elysium Girls might seem like a book for the tough-skinned but it is more than about a society thrown in a savage game for the Goddesses of Life and Dead. The story of Elysium Girls is full of hope. The themes of the book centre on found family, and the spirit of a human heart.Who wouldn’t want to read a book with a steampunk horse on the cover?I absolutely enjoyed reading this book from beginning to end! Firstly, the world. The setting is a mix of historical fiction and dystopia. Set in 1935, Oklahoma has been taken by the Goddesses of Life and Death, set apart from the world, and used as a game board of sorts. The Goddesses give the people ten years during which they must set aside a third of their harvests for the Goddesses. Ten years for the survivors to bring order to their society. The entire premise of the book was way too interesting for me. I love the mix of historical, steampunk, and magic. Kate Pentecost’s description of life in the book was gritty and brazen. The author described the way of the new life from the food rations, to the dwindling religious faith, to the racism within the community.Sal is a strong and smart heroine who refused to be used as a piece of the game. Although she starts out isolated from the community, chosen as Successor, and falls from grace, Sal never gives up. She believes that being chosen by Mother Morevna as Successor is what would make her be accepted by the community but Sal’s confidence in her magic blooms best when she no longer thinks of pleasing people. It is when she is accepted by the girl gang witches in the Desert of Dust and Steel that she grows into her identity. Asa, a demon turned human, could have been easily side-lined but instead, he’s like a bubble joy amid the catastrophe. I adored his character! When he was a demon, Asa had been completely obsessed with humans and now that he has the chance to be human, his fascination with human behaviour is both funny and off-putting to those around him.In the Desert of Dust and Steel, the gang of witches is everything and more than I could have expected! I love how fierce they are when protecting each other. Their loyalty to their found family goes beyond a co-dependence to survive in the desert. Each of the girls was well fleshed out and I would have loved to read even novellas about their backstory.Back in Elysium, we follow Lucy – underworld beauty mogul and Sal’s friend – who is trying to figure out the cause of the Dust Sickness. I really wished we had gotten longer chapters of her. Lucy doesn’t have any magic. She works to study the Dust Sickness that has been plaguing Elysium, even working as a nurse at the local hospital. I enjoyed reading of her determination and how she was willing to figure out the “game.”As for historical accuracies, I can’t vouch for any as I am not knowledgable on American history. However, I found the plot to be well thought out. The storyline never bored me, though I did feel the story only picked up once Asa and Sal were exiled. I liked that the first part of the book focused on showing life in Elysium – the social order Mother Morevna had governed – as it showed how vastly different life outside of Elysium was. I did not find the plot boring me, and all the characters piqued my interest. This is definitely a book I would recommend to those who have enjoyed reading The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco. I RECEIVED A FREE COPY OF ELYSIUM GIRLS FROM DISNEY-HYPERION IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. You can find me at Camillea Reads || Twitter || Instagram || Tumblr
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