I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Corpse Queen by Heather Herrman
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers on September 14, 2021
Genres: YA Historical Fiction, YA Thriller
Source: the publisher
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In this dark and twisty feminist historical thriller, a teenage girl starts a new life as a grave robber but quickly becomes entangled in a murderer’s plans.
Soon after her best friend Kitty mysteriously dies, orphaned seventeen-year-old Molly Green is sent away to live with her “aunt.” With no relations that she knows of, Molly assumes she has been sold as free domestic labor for the price of an extra donation in the church orphanage’s coffers. Such a thing is not unheard of. There are only so many options for an unmarried girl in 1850s Philadelphia. Only, when Molly arrives, she discovers her aunt is very much real, exceedingly wealthy, and with secrets of her own. Secrets and wealth she intends to share–for a price.
Molly’s estranged aunt Ava, has built her empire by robbing graves and selling the corpses to medical students who need bodies to practice surgical procedures. And she wants Molly to help her procure the corpses. As Molly learns her aunt’s trade in the dead of night and explores the mansion by day, she is both horrified and deeply intrigued by the anatomy lessons held at the old church on her aunt’s property. Enigmatic Doctor LaSalle’s lessons are a heady mixture of knowledge and power and Molly has never wanted anything more than to join his male-only group of students. But the cost of inclusion is steep and with a murderer loose in the city, the pursuit of power and opportunity becomes a deadly dance.
When I picked this book up I was hooked from the very first page. I sped through the first 50 pages before I had to put it down to get back to other things, but couldn’t wait to pick it up and get back to reading. I sped through this book, it was really good! It had a lot of dark parts, I mean it is about people who steal bodies and doctors who then operate on them or dissect them to learn anatomy. There’s a lot of hints about who might be the bad guy, and then there are a lot of red herrings thrown in that keep you guessing till the end. The twist of events that concluded the book was major! I did not see it coming, well, at least not in the way it did. The story itself is interspersed with the viewpoint of a girl in an insane asylum, and I assumed I knew who it was, but even that was called into question towards the end. The characters were all really interesting and added a lot to the story.
There were aspects reminiscent of Frankenstein, even a little bit of a Jack the Ripper feel, and at one point, I almost wondered if there was going to be something in there about the elephant man. There wasn’t, I don’t know if the time period would even match up off the top of my head, but so much made me interested in all that they were doing.
Seriously, there were so many twists and turns in this one that I was on the edge of my seat all the way through. I could have stayed up and read the last 100 pages on Sunday night, but I had work in the morning, so I made myself quit with about 30 left and saved those for lunch and dinner Monday. I knew I would like this one, but didn’t know just how much. Will probably be a favorite of mine for the year!