ARC Review: The Casquette Girls

The Casquette Girls
The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After the storm of the century rips apart New Orleans, sixteen-year-old Adele Le Moyne wants nothing more than her now silent city to return to normal. But with home resembling a war zone, a parish-wide curfew, and mysterious new faces lurking in the abandoned French Quarter, normal needs a new definition.

As the city murder rate soars, Adele finds herself tangled in a web of magic that weaves back to her own ancestors. Caught in a hurricane of myths and monsters, who can she trust when everyone has a secret and keeping them can mean life or death? Unless . . . you’re immortal.

The Casquette Girls is an urban fantasy set it in New Orleans – a perfect setting, actually, for magical stories. Adele and her father have returned home after a catastrophic storm ripped through their coast. They are picking up the pieces, along with a few other people, and learning to live in this new world. The storm took apart most of the town, but a few places remain, including Adele’s home. While rebuilding, curious events begin to happen – a large crow following her around, her being attacked by said crow, she discovering she has magic, and the existence of witches and vampires in New Orleans.

Our heroine, Adele, is an independent, creative and strong girl, who despite living in her town for all her life, doesn’t know most of it’s secrets. She has a love-hate relationship with Paris due to her estranged mother and the months she had to spend there during the storm. She comes across an old medallion while cleaning out her attic, and slowly she starts discovering she has telekinesis. But there was also an incident that makes her believe she isn’t the only supernatural thing around – and while she does her most to ignore weird stuff to preserve her sanity, she gets deeper into the mystery when she comes across her ancestor’s diary.

The diary takes us back 300 years ago, when New Orleans was a French colony being settled. Seems the casquettes had served more than one purpose, and Adele is tasked with fulfilling the duties of her ancestor. There were clues sprinkled liberally throughout this book, but it was still a very enjoyable read – to put them together, to guess who was what. Both the present and the past were written so well, each with its distinct style, and the general dosage of mystery and intrigue was prevalent throughout the book. The finale was especially grand, taking place on Halloween, with a smart plan devised and a lot of emotional turmoil.

Speaking of emotions, Adele had a lot to go through. Her mother’s abandonment, her feelings over Emile (her mother’s very young PA) and newer feeling over Niccolo, the gorgeous broody guy who lurks about town. But I did enjoy her and Isaac’s interactions the most – they seemed so natural, as opposed to the very hypnotic-power-like effect Nic has on her. The story was fraught with their romantic tension, and I suspect it still can’t be considered resolved, not with the loose ends left. The next one will be particularly interesting, to see how Adele protects the town again from the vampires.

Received a free galley from Skyscape via Netgalley; this does not influence my opinions or the review.

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