Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender

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Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender

Category: Teens
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: Excellent ending can't save what's generally a rather dull tale with bland, unlikeable characters.
Buy? No Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 304 Date: February 2014
Publisher: Scholastic
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1407140414

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Colette's been looking forward to her school trip to Paris for ages, and won't let anything stop her from enjoying it - not even the series of grisly murders taking place or the ghostly vision of Marie Antoinette she keeps seeing. But as she finds out more about the tragic queen's history, she realises that she may be the next victim of a paranormal serial killer - will she be able to save herself, with a little help from her friends and cute tour guide Jules?

Up until three quarters of the way through this one, I was convinced it was a poorly handled execution of a brilliant premise. With the title Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer, the taglines 21st century girl. 18th century ghost. Heads will roll and Revenge, betrayal, intrigue - and one killer queen this seemed to promise a huge amount of zany fun. Instead, we get Colette spending much of the novel being an obnoxious brat, and a few moments interspersed in which she acknowledges she's a whiny brat, then goes straight back to acting the same way. I think it was meant to make her seem sympathetic as she was growing aware of her behaviour, but the failure to do anything about it for much of the novel made me like her less, if anything. Her friend Hannah is even worse - and I appreciate that she's meant to be a nasty character, but caring so much about someone with completely no redeeming features makes Colette seem even less interesting. Other characters are a bit on the bland side, especially love interest Jules, while I was amazed by how little the teacher in charge of the trip seemed to care about the growing closeness between Colette and Jules, and them wandering around the city alone (especially given the murder rate!)

Having said that, the ending is really strong, pulling together lots of strands from earlier in the book, including Colette's relationships with her friends and family, her hidden fears, and her family's history, together expertly to give us a genuinely satisfying conclusion with some good character development and an exciting climax. The problem is it's all crammed into the last six or seven chapters out of twenty-six! If I wasn't reviewing, it's unlikely I'd have made it this far through, to be honest - which would have been a shame as I was impressed by it.

Still, a quarter of a very good book following three quarters of a fairly boring one isn't strong enough to recommend, really. Possibly worth a look if you're a big fan of either paranormal or French history.

If you're looking for paranormal action, I was more impressed by Ghost of a Chance by Rhiannon Lassiter.

Buy Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender at Amazon.com.


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