Book Review for The Good Luck Girls
My takeaway: Aster is a kickass heroine who takes no prisoners in this all POC novel of the weird west. Brava, Ms Davis!
I could see by the cover that the main character in this book was a person of color, but had not realized that all the characters were until I started reading–all of which made me want to read it even more. I was not disappointed.
Charlotte Nicole Smith’s great strength is world-building. Her weird west novel is richly detailed and drawn in vivid and visceral ways. From the gut-wrenching sale of young female children by their desperate families to the beautiful ‘branding’ by a magical, floral tattoo called a ‘favour’ that grows as they mature, fully opening on their sixteenth birthday–their good luck day when they enter prostitution.
Her word choices are also particularly clever and effective–the Scab, for the desolate area where they come from; vengeants, angry dead spirits; Daybreak girls–the young girls who work at the Welcome House brothel until they are old enough to be Sundowners, those who work as prostitutes.
I could feel the grit grinding between my teeth, smell the stench, see the terrain of this very old west world,
I was disappointed that this story wasn’t told in multiple viewpoints. The prologue was in the pov of Aster’s younger sister and her first night as a prostitute. When the rest of the book was all in Aster’s pov, I was really disappointed. It may be that later books will be solely in the viewpoints of the other girls. But I felt this book would have been stronger if we were unrelentingly in the pov of Aster, as wonderful a character as she is. The inclusion of a gay couple felt perfunctory rather than thoughtful, though again, that may change in later books.
That said–Aster is a kickass heroine who takes no prisoners. Brava, Ms Davis!
I highly recommend this book to people who want an action-packed, rich old west world with magic that enhances but doesn’t overwhelm, and POC characters whose lives and problems command and deserve telling.
Thanks to Netgalley, Tor Teen, and Charlotte Nicole Davis for the opportunity to read The Good Luck Girls and give an honest review.
Cross-posted on Goodreads