Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Review: Tangled Webs

Tangled Webs (Tangled Webs, #1)Author: Lee Bross
Series: Tangled Webs, #1
Released: June 23rd 2015
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Length: 400 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

London, 1725. Everybody has a secret. Lady A will keep yours—for a price. This sumptuous, scandalous YA novel is wickedly addictive.
Lady A is the most notorious blackmailer in the city. With just a mask and a gown to disguise her, she sweeps into lavish balls and exclusive events collecting the most valuable currency in 1725 London—secrets.
But leading a double life isn't easy. By day Lady A is just a sixteen-year-old girl named Arista who lives in fear of her abusive master, Bones, and passes herself off as a boy to move safely through the squalor of London's slums. When Bones attempts to dispose of his pawn forever, Arista is rescued by the last person she expects: Jonathan Wild, the infamous Thief Taker General who moves seamlessly between the city's criminal underworld and its most elite upper circles. Arista partners with Wild on her own terms in the hopes of saving enough money to buy passage out of London.
Everything changes when she meets Graeden Sinclair, the son of a wealthy merchant. Grae has traveled the world, has seen the exotic lands Arista has longed to escape to her whole life, and he loves Arista for who she is—not for what she can do for him. Being with Grae gives something Arista something precious that she swore off long ago: hope. He has promised to help Arista escape the life of crime that has claimed her since she was a child. But can you ever truly escape the past?

Beautiful exteriors often hide the nastiest things, in life and literature alike. We learn that lesson very early in life, and we readers quickly learn to be wary of gorgeous covers. But the wariness can make us miss out, and Tangled Webs has a lot more to offer than just the pretty swirls and colors on its dust jacket.

Not many YA books take place in the 18th century, so when I first read ‘London 1725’ in the summary, I was immediately drawn to it. It must be said that Tangled Webs doesn’t offer many historical details, but it also avoids any inaccuracies. Because of the fast pacing, going into descriptions of historical settings and society could have been disastrous for this book. Bross gave us just enough to ground the story, but not enough to burden it.

We meet Arista as Lady A, a lady with a feathered mask who trades secrets and blackmails the rich, but not for her own gain. Underneath the ladylike behavior and glamour is a street urchin, a hungry orphan with nothing left to lose. Arista was bought from the orphanage when she was five or six, and taken to be one of crime lord’s many child beggars and pickpockets. But as she grew, she learned to talk and act like a lady, all to prove herself useful and save her own life.

Arista has only two friends, the slightly older Nic, her protector, and the former maid, Becky, who is responsible for her clothes and manners. They may be the only people she trusts, but they are constantly used to threaten her into obedience. Through it all, through pain and impossible circumstances, Arista has a backbone of steel. She is sometimes a bit naïve, having missed out on any and all normal experiences, but she is fierce, dependable and kind-hearted.

The romance may just be the weakest part of this book, not only because it’s instalove, but because I never saw any actual trust develop between Arista and Grae. Pretty words and infatuation are what it all came down to. Arista kept working around Grae instead of with him which, while understandable, was also incredibly frustrating.

If I were a nitpicky sort of person in a nitpicky sort of mood, I could find at least twenty seven things wrong with this book. But I’m not, and I won’t. At the end of the day, Tangled Webs is a flawed but entertaining story that kept me awake for most of the night and even made me cry at times.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.


  1. Sounds interesting! I just love the cover.

  2. Glad this was more than a pretty cover, even with the flaws. I can overlook flaws if the story is entertaining and makes me feel and it sounds like this story did both for you.
    Wonderful review Maja!

  3. Great review! I though the cover was pretty and I was wondering exactly what you said-- would it burn me? I'm still pretty undecided because I'm in a nitpicky mood and really don't want any instalove. I'm glad you enjoyed it though!

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

  4. I like the street urchin beneath the blackmailer. I might have to give this one a go. :)

  5. I'm glad you found this one enjoyable for the most part. Bummer about the instalove, but I am curious about the time period/overall story.

  6. I think the constant threat behind her motives for obtaining secrets would constantly have me on edge. Not sure I would enjoy that. It does sound like an entertaining read, but it sounds like I'd be annoyed by the romance, as well. I don't like lack of communication and if Arista and Grae are not on the same page I'm guessing it's because Arista doesn't trust him enough to share. Wonderful review, Maja. I think I'll wait for the responses on the next book before I decide to jump in. :)

  7. I love when a book is good enough that you really don't care about its flaws. I like the synopsis of this one. It sounds unique.

  8. Even with some points it sounds like a nice book. I agree with you, like you the period is the first thing that appealed me when I did read the synopsis so I confess I could read it only for that lol

  9. I have a hard time believing she could get into the balls, get the dress, fix her hair, look her part

  10. I had no idea this was a historical book! I'm very curious about it now although I'm sad that the romance wasn't as good. Insta-love ruins everything.
    This sounds interesting though and I'm willing to give it a shot.
    Lovely review, Maja!

  11. I'm bummed about the instalove in this one Maja, but the rest of the story sounds outstanding. I love a heroine with a backbone of steel, so I think Arista and I are going to get along well:) And that cover is absolutely stunning!

  12. This book sounds really intriguing - if the story is entertaining enough, I can overlook quite a few flaws! Lovely review.

  13. Oh no insta love and the world building sounds not so good, but I like that it is entertaining and of course, I love the cover.

  14. Sounds fun but ugh instalove. I wish that trend would just go away!

  15. What? It made you cry? And didn't even reward you with a decent romantic development? Off with its head (cover...?)!!! :)

  16. It's like a historical PTL/GG!


  17. Not a fan of insta love but I had to laugh... not picky... only 27? Not to be specific or anything. LOL :D This sounds like a fun one but I'm not sure if it will surpass this review! :D

  18. I actually haven't heard much about this book but I'm glad I read your review! Ahaha, I'm like you - 1725 England does sound extremely appealing, although Arista doesn't seem like the most likable character out there, especially because she's deceiving and her romance with Grae isn't true. This does seem fairly entertaining though, which is perhaps what it is best for. Thanks for your thoughts, Maja!

  19. I've got a copy of this one for review, Maja, so I'm glad you found it entertaining, even if there's insta-love. I'm a bit disappointed though to find out that it doesn't offer too many historical details although it seems to work for the story in this case.

  20. Aw, I can definitely appreciate an entertaining book, one that isn't meant to be nitpicked to death, but enjoyed. I believe this is the first I'm hearing of this one, but this is enough to hear to add it to my tbr anyway!

  21. Glad that even if the book wasn't perfect by any means it was entertaining enough and it avoided any big glaring anachronisms and historical innacuracies!
    I'm now more looking forward to read my own ARC soon!

  22. Hmm, I've been reading a lot mixed things for this one and the romance would clearly put me off because if there's gonna be a romance, it's gotta be a good one, haha! I do wanna read more historical fiction, so I'll keep this one under my radar for now.

    Excellent review, hun <33


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