Author: Rachel Hawkins
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Contemporary
Rating: 4 Stars
Life is almost back to normal for Harper Price. The Ephors have been silent after their deadly attack at Cotillion months ago, and best friend Bee has returned after a mysterious disappearance. Now Harper can return her focus to the important things in life: school, canoodling with David, her nemesis-turned-ward-slash-boyfie, and even competing in the Miss Pine Grove pageant.
Unfortunately, supernatural chores are never done. The Ephors have decided they’d rather train David than kill him. The catch: Harper has to come along for the ride, but she can’t stay David’s Paladin unless she undergoes an ancient trial that will either kill her . . . or connect her to David for life.
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
Immediately after putting down Rebel Belle, I grabbed Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins. I was excited to move onto the second book in the series and to continue the story of Harper, David, Ryan, and Bee. Miss Mayhem picks up immediately where Rebel Belle left off, and though the transition seemed seamless, about halfway into the book I began to realize that things were a little off.
Like the previous book in the series, the writing was clear, easy to follow, grammatically correct, and other than the way my Kindle decided to butcher the formatting, error free. However, something seemed to be missing. It took me awhile to put my finger on it, but at the halfway mark, I realized that the narrative lacked any of the funny, sometimes a bit meta asides that I’d come to love in Rebel Belle. Harper’s tone of voice was much more serious in this installment to the series. She didn’t crack jokes or poke fun at herself. As a side effect, the narrative lost some of the humor and heart that I found so engaging previously. Instead of gorging myself on a 9-hour binge read (as I did with the previous book), I found myself repeatedly putting the book down to do other things, and I didn’t feel drawn to pick it back up again.
Don’t get me wrong, the book was still a fantastic read and a compelling continuation of the Rebel Belle series… but it lacked that magical engaging quality that I’d expected when I picked it up. Still, the characters stayed true to their original versions and were well-built. The narrative was natural (though, I too agree with David and Boyfie was not a thing that needed to happen), and the plot was interesting.
My only other major complaint about the book was the ending. I won’t spoil it for you (don’t worry), but I will say that it felt very… final. Even though it was left open for a third book, as the story closed there was this sense of foreboding and finality that came with the closing scene. To be honest, I didn’t like it. When the previous book ended I was compelled to pick up the second book. I wanted to see what would happen with David and Harper and all their friends. With how this book ended, however, I feel no such draw. It’s not that I want the story of Harper and her friends to end permanently as it did here… but I don’t know if I honestly care to find out what happens next. The end was kind of… depressing.
Overall, I liked the book and I’m glad that I read it. I think the first book in the series was better, but this one wasn’t bad. Despite the end and the more serious tone of Harper’s POV, I still really enjoyed the story.