*This review contains spoilers, especially if you haven’t read Rebel Belle.*
“Honestly, not enough people know how to use good manners as a weapon.”
Synopsis from Goodreads: Life is almost back to normal for Harper Price. The Ephors have been silent after their deadly attack at Cotillion months ago, and her best friend, Bee, has returned after a mysterious disappearance. Now Harper can focus on 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 make her more powerful than ever.
Feelings: I recently posted a list of book series that I gave up on and Rebel Belle was #8 on said list. When I saw the sequel was available to check out at my local public library, my gut said to grab it, so grab it I did. It reminded me a lot of the first book in this trilogy because it was entertaining and really funny. I love Hawkins’ writing style and the narrating character’s voice. However, I was somewhat disappointed in how this story didn’t completely come together.
Issues: #1: So if Alexander died, what was the purpose of the whole book? The main goal throughout the book was for Harper to survive the Peirasmos so she could become a full-on Paladin. But then…Alexander called it off after the second trial, David ran off, and Alexander died? So…is she not a full Paladin or is that something we just aren’t worried about anymore?
#2: I was confused on why they lost their powers in the end. Was it just because David was so far away from them, so their power was gone? It all comes down to a lack of plot development. The ending left me with questions, but not in a good cliffhanger way. It’s more like there were too many plot holes and things that didn’t add up.
#3: The “trials” shouldn’t have been advertised as “trials.” Instead, they should have been called “checkpoints” or something less dangerous. The first “trial” (which is a term I’m going to continue using loosely) had her saving David from a fire that he wasn’t really in danger from. Also, what kind of fire marshal lets a school have a darkroom in which the occupants can’t hear the fire alarm? How is that a thing? In the second “trial”, she had to see her worst fears in a mirror…then…walk away. When I read that she was going to be tested, I expected her to at least break a sweat.
Characters: Harper is my fictional spirit animal. She is sass personified. However, as much as I love her character, the Harper-David relationship time loop is not something I love. I get that they want to decide what their relationship really IS (just Paladin/Oracle or “boyfie/girlfie”…whatever that means…) but they decided to break up, but then they spent more time together and that line was further blurred.
I honestly thought something was up with Bee for 92% of the book. I thought she was working for Alexander or was brainwashed or something. The writing made it seem like she was full of secrets, but she wasn’t…not until the very end. That bothered me. I felt like Hawkins was leading me towards something that didn’t exist. That just confuses me.
I was pleasantly surprised to see some character development for Ryan. We got more of his real person-ness in this book. In Rebel Belle he annoyed me because he seemed too perfect and yet too fake at the same time. In this book, however, he had a little more depth to his character and personality.
Genre: If you aren’t usually interested in fantasy or paranormal books, this is a great way to peek into the genre. The characters and the writing are top notch, it’s fast paced, and entertaining – a great ride.
Final thoughts: While this book wasn’t as good as Rebel Belle, I’m invested in these characters and I know I’ll read the third installment when it comes out next year. I just want to see how it all ends and if my questions get answered. If you read Rebel Belle and you aren’t sure if you want to read Miss Mayhem, I would recommend that you pick it up. I enjoyed it, overall, and I read flew through it – it’s a really easy read.
Pick this up if you liked:
Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins
Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
Goodreads rating: 3.57/5
Amazon.com rating: 3.8/5
My rating: 3.75/5
Happy reading! – Caitlyn