Published by Scholastic on September 24, 2013
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller, Paranormal, Young Adult
Colette Iselin is excited to go to Paris on a class trip. She’ll get to soak up the beauty and culture, and maybe even learn something about her family’s French roots.
But a series of gruesome murders are taking place across the city, putting everyone on edge. And as she tours museums and palaces, Colette keeps seeing a strange vision: a pale woman in a ball gown and powdered wig, who looks suspiciously like Marie Antoinette.
Colette knows her popular, status-obsessed friends won’t believe her, so she seeks out the help of a charming French boy. Together, they uncover a shocking secret involving a dark, hidden history. When Colette realizes she herself may hold the key to the mystery, her own life is suddenly in danger . . .
Acclaimed author Katie Alender brings heart-stopping suspense to this story of revenge, betrayal, intrigue — and one killer queen.
I only picked up Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer for two reasons: 1) Marie Antoinette is a serial killer. I had to see it. 2) I’m in need of a book that’s less of a romance. Oh, and I need a break from all of the books out there that do before I blow a gasket. Really, it’s for everyone’s benefit.
This book is a fantastic break for me – it’s not a fluffy book set in Paris with a Paris romance (though there is a sort-of Paris romance I’m totally peachy with), despite the fact Alender starts things off with a gruesome murder involving a head being chopped off by a ghost.
No, I did not actually enjoy reading a person getting her head chopped off by a flying broken mirror shard caused by a ghost. I might be a ninja and secretly evil, but I don’t actually enjoy those kinds of things.
France’s history in the late 18th century is quite intriguing – from helping the US with the American Revolution against the British and then entering their own Revolution against the monarchy a little over a decade later. Alender’s book is full of rich details involving French history and culture circulating the Revolution (despite the fact some facts were liberated by Alender to fit the overall plot of the story) as Colette tours France with her classmates, questions her roots and her friendship with Hannah, and tries to figure out why she’s seeing a Marie Antoinette lookalike everywhere.
The amount of French the author uses throughout the book isn’t overwhelming – it’s enough to keep the intrigue, but not enough where it’ll be overly confusing and categorizing the book as a piece of French literature. Then again, it’s probably helpful when 1) the main character isn’t entirely proficient at French, and 2) the romance languages are so similar, I pretty much understand the basis of the conversations with my sliver understanding of Spanish and Italian.
On the overall basis of the book being well written, I had mixed feelings for Colette for awhile – she’s both likable and not likable at the same time. She’s not likable because she just seems to have a very snobby attitude of sorts, tries too hard to fit in with the rich and wealthy at her private school, and spends her time being a doormat in the beginning of the book for fear of facing Hannah’s wrath. As the book goes on and everyone makes Colette questions her friendship with Hannah, Colette slowly becomes likable – someone who isn’t snobby after all, and her ending with Hannah is quite fantastic. Of course, it does become a little obvious there’s some sort of gap between their friendship (and growing) since Colette secretly rebels at times without Hannah’s knowledge.
All in all, Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer is a book about deception, loyalty, and how even the dead can come back for revenge to complete unfinished business before they can finally rest in peace.