Ever since she was a kid, Sal has been plagued by false visions of rain, and though people think she's a liar, she knows she's a leader.
Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.
Author: Kate Pentecost
Publication Date: April 14, 2020
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Page Count: 400
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy,
My Rating: ★★★★★
In this sweeping Dust Bowl-inspired fantasy, a ten-year game between Life and Death pits the walled Oklahoma city of Elysium-including a girl gang of witches and a demon who longs for humanity-against the supernatural in order to judge mankind.
When Sal is named Successor to Mother Morevna, a powerful witch and leader of Elysium, she jumps at the chance to prove herself to the town. Ever since she was a kid, Sal has been plagued by false visions of rain, and though people think she’s a liar, she knows she’s a leader. Even the arrival of enigmatic outsider Asa-a human-obsessed demon in disguise-doesn’t shake her confidence in her ability. Until a terrible mistake results in both Sal and Asa’s exile into the Desert of Dust and Steel.
Face-to-face with a brutal, unforgiving landscape, Sal and Asa join a gang of girls headed by another Elysium exile-and young witch herself-Olivia Rosales. In order to atone for their mistake, they create a cavalry of magic powered, scrap metal horses to save Elysium from the coming apocalypse. But Sal, Asa, and Olivia must do more than simply tip the scales in Elysium’s favor-only by reinventing the rules can they beat the Life and Death at their own game.
I’m excited to be a part of the ELYSIUM GIRLS blog tour with The Fantastic Flying Book Club from April 8th – April 14th, 2020!
I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! In no way does this affect my rating or review.
All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication.
Content Warning: Epidemic illness, Mass-Death, Gore, Prejudice, Murder, Profanity, Animal sacrifice
First of all, there isn’t only one god. There are two Sisters–Life and Death–and their Mother, who presides over everything else. And the Sisters like to gamble against each other with things like time and space and human lives. And when our world ended and their Game began, it was silent and smothering as the grave.
April 14, 1935 is known as Black Sunday in Elysium, Oklahoma. It was the day that reality changed. A dust storm appeared on the horizon and soon engulfed the region in a dark cloud. It was the moment that the entities of the Mother, and her daughters, Life and Death revealed themselves, and the game they decided to play. For the next ten years, Elysium would have to prove themselves to decide if they would return to the normal world outside or remain in this dust-bowl dystopia for eternity.
In the present, only a short time remains to the next confrontation with the Dust Soldiers–the conduits of the entities. Sal, a young woman residing within the walls of Elysium, anxiously counts down with the rest of the town’s citizens. Orphaned and outcasted by the rest, Sal still knows that she is destined for more than to be known as the “girl who cried rain.” Premonitions of coming rain from when she was a young girl have plagued her ever since–turning the town against her when the rain never came. But the visions have only grown stronger. Dust Sickness has only become more prevalent within the city walls. Time is running out.
The time has also come for the town’s leader to choose a Successor. Mother Morevna, a witch and strong leader shockingly names Sal to become that person. Ready for the challenge, and ready to discover more about herself and the possible magic that she possesses, Sal enters into training. Her victory and change of status, however, are eclipsed by the arrival of Asa to town. A professed traveling magician, Asa is truthfully a Daemon in disguise and servant to Life on an errand for his goddess. His exhibition of magic in a random dust storm, however, turns the townsfolk from Sal to Asa, causing a rift in the hierarchy. In an orchestrated magical duel between Sal and Asa to prove that Sal is the superior magic leader, plans go awry, and Sal finds herself banned from Elysium.
As Asa realized this completely, the yearning seemed to fill his every sinew, his every fiber, and he knew he was powerless to resist this new, intoxicating thing called humanity.
Sal is faced with a much bigger problem now that she is stranded in the desert. Her want-to-be-human-daemon adversary luckily decides to accompany her outside the walls. As they traverse the harrowingly new landscape, the two begin on a journey that will unravel the truth about the game waged between Life and Death, Dust Sickness, and the foundations of Elysium itself.
Almost eerily familiar to current events in the world today, Elysium Girls is a timely read while a mysterious illness ravages the town, a celestial war ensues, and magic enables a secret agenda. Fans of diverse Westerns with a flare of Mad Max dystopia elements will find this fast-paced read a contender in dust-bowl fantasies.
Sexual content: Minimal.
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Kate Pentecost was born and raised on the Texas/Louisiana border, where ghosts and rural legends lurk in the pines and nothing is completely as it seems.
She holds an MFA in Writing for Children &Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She was recently nominated for a award for her poem "Small Town Witches."
Her debut novel, Elysium Girls, is forthcoming from Disney Hyperion in 2020 in print and audio formats.
She is obsessed with the Romantic Poets and can be identified by the enormous tattoo of Percy Bysshe Shelley on her arm. She lives in Houston (H-Town, Space City, etc.)
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Prize: Win a copy of ELYSIUM GIRLS by Kate Pentecost (US Only)
Giveaway runs from April 8th, 2020 – April 22nd, 2020