Friday, April 6, 2018

ARC #Review - The Sisters Mederos by Patrice Sarath #Fantasy #Historical

Series: Standalone
Format: E-Galley, 368 pages
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Publisher: Angry Robot
Source: NetGalley
Genre:  Fantasy / Historical

Two sisters fight with manners, magic, and mayhem to reclaim their family’s name, in this captivating historical fantasy adventure.

House Mederos was once the wealthiest merchant family in Port Saint Frey. Now the family is disgraced, impoverished, and humbled by the powerful Merchants Guild. Daughters Yvienne and Tesara Mederos are determined to uncover who was behind their family’s downfall and get revenge. But Tesara has a secret – could it have been her wild magic that caused the storm that destroyed the family’s merchant fleet? The sisters’ schemes quickly get out of hand – gambling is one thing, but robbing people is another…

Together the sisters must trust each another to keep their secrets and save their family.

The Sisters Mederos, by new to me author Patrice Sarath, is a twisted tale of two sisters, Yvienne and Tesara Mederos, who try to bring their family back from the brink of destitution with cunning, daring, and through counting on one another as they face challenge after challenge. The Mederos' are considered one of the founding families of Port Saint Frey. They were once the wealthiest merchant family in the city as well. Then someone went full out betrayal and destroyed the families reputation and their fortune.

Their Uncle Samwell, who they believe was framed and blamed for losing a fleet of ships and not insuring them, spent time in prison. Meanwhile, Yvienne and Tesara were sent away to a boarding school where Tesara had the most issues thanks to an evil Grinch which I won't spoil for you. I will say that her troubles directly correlate to the possibility that Tesara may have some magical abilities, abilities I don't believe were addressed properly by the author, and that they may have caused her families nightmares and lost of fortune.

It might also explain her bitterness, her attitude, and her coldness towards her parents and her Uncle who she was once close as two people not in a romantic relationship could be. Tesara uses her ability to count cards to get close to those who were once her friends, and families business partners. She grows close to a variety of characters who really don't matter in the general scheme of things which is a shame. There are some curious characters I would have loved to get more information on, but the author failed to deliver. 

Tesara's magic that isn't fully incorporated into the story or explained. While Tesara was facing hell at school, her sister failed to protect her from the evil Grinch. After being called home from school, Yvienne, the smartest girl in town, becomes a triple threat. A Governess for a second tiered family to spy on and see if she can glean information on who betrayed the family, a charismatic bandit who is slick as they come, and a reporter who rages war against the Guild who she believes destroyed the families reputations and nearly their family in the process. 

Yvienne doesn't believe that her own sister has magic. She chooses to ignore it, instead of using it to her advantage. Huge let down, again. The story is told in alternating narratives, and has some background flashbacks as well. The story mixes elements of historical fiction and adventure fantasy in a way that is both familiar and fresh. The world building is fairly mundane. Readers don't really know where this particular city is and it's never explained. Is it France, or Italy, or Spain?

There are, obviously some issues that I have with this story. First is Tesara's powers. The author barely touches on them. As powerful as she is, for there are those who would use her talents for their own machinations, she should have been allowed to let them loose from time to time. Terk the gambler and Mrs. Fayres the mistress were the two most interesting characters in this book. Both are connected to Tesara, but nothing is really explained.

Yvienne is by far the most interesting, while Tesara is the most angry. As others have said, there were instances that the sisters never talked about or gave each other enough details to prevent accidents or surprises from catching up to them. I was also disappointed at how rapidly the booked wrapped up while leaving a whole lot of questions and no answers. Thus my overall rating.   

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