The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove by Lauren Kate
|The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove by Lauren Kate|
|Reviewer: Robert James|
|Summary: Rather than the supernatural romance she's become famous for with the Fallen series, Lauren Kate's first novel is an entertaining high-school thriller that's fairly loosely based on Macbeth. A fun
read for fans of this talented author.
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 288||Date: January 2011|
|Publisher: Corgi Children's Books|
Natalie Hargrove is one half of the It couple of Palmetto High, destined to become Palmetto Princess. Her boyfriend Mike King should be a shoo-in for Prince alongside her - except Mike doesn't seem too bothered, in contrast to the loathsome - but hunky - Justin Balmer. So when she's given a chance to knock JB out of the running for the crown, who can blame Natalie for pulling a harmless prank? Except when the prank turns out to be much less harmless than she'd have expected, the It couple are left frantically trying to cover their tracks before they lose everything.
First things first - this is inspired by Macbeth but it's definitely not a slavish retelling. Natalie is almost a combination of Lady Macbeth and her husband and the plot is sufficiently different to make it fresh and new, while the little allusions in the text to the original play are a fun addition to the novel. There's also a fantastic setting as Kate really captures the atmosphere of a town which seems ridiculously obsessed with the whole Prince and Princess election and her writing style is interesting - it's actually considerably punchier than in her later two books and fits the genre very well.
I found Natalie to be by far the most interesting character in the book and Kate does an impressive job of making her at least partly deserving of sympathy by gradually revealing her background and family life. On the other hand, the supporting cast are perhaps less well drawn - the honourable exception being Tracy Lambert, who holds court in a bathroom reading tarot cards. Mike, in particular, is rather bland by 'leading man' standards and Natalie's future stepfather and stepsister are both rather over the top caricatures. Still, the whirlwind speed at which the plot develops here and the very strong characterisation of Natalie herself are enough to keep readers gripped, as I was, without worrying about anything else until they've finished the book and are thinking back. Unlike the fantastic Fallen and Torment by the same author, this probably isn't one I'll read again but when it comes to short, quickly paced reads for teens who like books of this style it's an easy recommendation.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
Further reading suggestion: For more sassy action with a decidedly more pleasant heroine I've got a soft spot for I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have To Kill You by Ally Carter. For a supernatural story that's dripping with the same kind of attitude found here, Chloe Neill's Firespell: The Dark Elite is superb, as are the aforementioned Fallen and Torment by Lauren Kate herself.
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