The Girl Who Fell (The Chess Raven Chronicles, #1) blurb:
I’m an orphan. A hacker. I grew up with nothing and no one. But it turns out my whole life has been a lie.
All of a sudden, I’m a hero, a villain, a weapon, a puppet, and the last great hope. There’s only one person I can trust – but even he is not what he seems.
I am not the girl who fell. I am the one who got back up. I am Chess Raven.
I feel like I’ve been reading a lot of orphan turned hero stories lately. (I mean, I know I’m behind on reviews, but you’ll see a trend soon: Percy Jackson, The Crowns of Croswald, this.) But they all have their unique spin on things. If anything, this is probably more like a Holly Black fae story than anything else, and we all know how much I love those.
We start by meeting Chess Raven: juvenile delinquent, hacker, orphan and data entry admin at a fancy museum on a second chances program. This very quickly falls to strange museum artefacts, saving homeless men, lunch with a benefactor, and kidnapping (by three different groups in the first 10 chapters). It’s safe to say that Chess is not the normal sixteen year old girl she thought she was, nor is it your average birthday. And of all of this, Chess is convinced they have the wrong girl.
Chess was good – a little bit like your standard Sarah J Maas heroine (bad, but with a heart of gold). I still liked her, don’t get me wrong, but she came from an abused, neglected foster care background and rises above to beat it. She has a mentor (not who you first think it is), a childhood sweetheart and a very big secret that she doesn’t know anything about. Oh, and she’s kind of fantastic at everything (if not first time, then third time definitely). It’s kind of a trope masterpiece.
Tom Williams is lovely, but again he’s the perfect boy trope: constantly rescues the girl even when doing so could hurt her, strikingly handsome, very smart, etc. Although, their relationship was cute. Abby, Tom’s sister, reminds me of Lysandra way too much.
Honourable mentions to Gladys and Jules – I really like both characters and they have a good storyline each as well. I also really loved some of the conversations between Gladys and Chess, as Gladys tries to impart so much wisdom.
“… Water. Is it good or bad?”
“Good, of course.”
“Ah, but water can be deadly. Tsunamis destroy whole villages and towns… Floods can wipe out crops and property. Water enables bacteria that transport disease, killing millions… The truth is we project good and evil onto water. But water just is. It is neither good nor evil – it is amoral… Neither good nor bad, but beyond both.”
I really am starting to think that urban fantasy is my absolute favourite type of setting. I like that there is an element of our world in a fantasy story, and this book is no different. With most fae stories, the worlds sit side by side, one hidden from the other by a grove or a forest. This one was literally imprinted over the other, three worlds exist on top of each other – kind of like how I imagine alternate universes would happen, but I liked it. It was perfect for world building.
The writing style was simple and easy to read. I literally flew through this book after picking it up. The terms for the different worlds and some other things were the only made up words, and the story just flowed really well.
Despite the book being a bit trope-y, it was still a fun and easy read and I enjoyed. Such a great book from a debut author (well, two authors writing under a pseudonym), and I’m really looking forward to book two: The Girl Who Loved.