The Pale Assassin (Pimpernelles) by Patricia Elliott

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The Pale Assassin (Pimpernelles) by Patricia Elliott

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Category: Teens
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Amy Taylor
Reviewed by Amy Taylor
Summary: Eugenie, an aristocrat living in Paris, more interested in clothes and romance is forced to flee and abandon her lifestyle when the French revolution breaks out. Unfocussed to begin with, it builds well and the ending does leave you wanting more.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 432 Date: July 2009
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0340956762

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Eugenie de Boncoeur is a young aristocrat living in Paris enjoying the pleasures of life, until that is, the French revolution breaks out. Unsure, and somewhat uninterested in what is going on around her, Eugenie's mind wonders to other things such as the latest fashion in clothes, romance and the handsome Guy Deschamps – a friend of Armand, her older brother who looks out for her. Unbeknown to Eugenie she is being watched. A contract has been signed stating that when she turns sixteen she is to be married to Raoul Goullet, otherwise known as Le Fantome – the pale assassin who is out for revenge. Soon Eugenie with the help of others, including the dull, charmless Julian de Fortin, is on the move to escape. Pursued by the mob, the revolutionary guards, and her future husband. Will she ever manage to get to the safety of England?

This is the first book in the Pimpernelles trilogy and I'm not sure how I feel about it. On one hand I like it, and on the other I don't. I found it very hard to get into, and it wasn't until a hundred pages or so that I finally felt anything for the plot or characters. From the start the pace is fast, giving you a lot of information in a short space of time. Written in the third person, the narrative moves from one character to another and then back again, not really giving you a chance to get comfortable in your seat. The plot feels messy and a little rushed. Characters appear and then disappear in a way that seems irrelevant to the story, leaving you somewhat disorientated.

The book does finally become more focused and Eugenie as a character grows stronger. The plot, a predictable one, is written that way. Safe and in the knowledge of what's going to happen, you read on to see how Eugenie and the other characters will react. The French revolution is clearly outlined and explained, and is a good introduction for anyone who is new to the subject. There is a nice use of the French language in some sentences and for certain words throughout the book, adding a sense of charm to the lifestyle that is portrayed. There are also some good vivid descriptions of characters and towards the end there are some surprises in store, but I won't give those away.

As a book I'm not that impressed, there is too much telling and not enough showing. Although some people may like this, I find it does not leave much to the imagination. Having said that, as the first of a trilogy, it builds well, and the ending does leave you wanting more. I will be reading the second book, but it's not something I will be hopping up and down about anytime soon.

If this book appeals then why not have a look at the Luxe novels by Anna Godbersen?

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Buy The Pale Assassin (Pimpernelles) by Patricia Elliott at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Pale Assassin (Pimpernelles) by Patricia Elliott at


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