Description from Goodreads:
Aster, the protector
Violet, the favorite
Tansy, the medic
Mallow, the fighter
Clementine, the catalyst
THE GOOD LUCK GIRLS
The country of Arketta calls them Good Luck Girls–they know their luck is anything but. Sold to a “welcome house” as children and branded with cursed markings. Trapped in a life they would never have chosen.
When Clementine accidentally murders a man, the girls risk a dangerous escape and harrowing journey to find freedom, justice, and revenge in a country that wants them to have none of those things. Pursued by Arketta’s most vicious and powerful forces, both human and inhuman, their only hope lies in a bedtime story passed from one Good Luck Girl to another, a story that only the youngest or most desperate would ever believe.
It’s going to take more than luck for them all to survive.
I should not have read this book. It’s good. The writing is imminently readable. The characters are distinct and meaningful. The editing is clean. Just look at that cover; it’s to die for. The use of having/not having a shadow as a metaphor for racism based on skin color works effectively. The world is interesting. This is a good book.
But the main characters are teenaged girls indentured for life to a brothel (starting in young childhood) and a large part of the plot is the effects of their trauma and PTSD. (There basically aren’t ANY non-victimized females in the book. Only Good Luck Girls, evil men, and a very few decent men.) And while I understand intersectionality and how important it is to face the realities of abuse in people’s lives I assiduously avoid it in the books I read for entertainment. (It’s just become a little too triggering for me in recent years.) So, despite how much I could appreciate about this book (and there is so much), I had to grit my teeth and force myself to keep reading because the subject matter is one I try not to touch in fun books. (I guess I need the distance of academia because I do read about such things to educate myself.)
My biggest critique would be that meeting up with Zee, who seems overly knowledgeable and capable, and doggedly loyal, seemed a little too convenient for the plot. And the lack of women in the world was notable. This is a book about women as victims and men as perpetrators (and about racism) but the lack of other women to flesh it all out both made it feel unreal and, I thought, showed a male lens that is too common in literature. Women exist to be victims and don’t seem to exist outside that role. Almost none were seen passing on the street, or in a saloon, through a show window, etc. The world was basically all men and the Good Luck Girls. That’s it.
All in all, I’m torn. I recognize it’s a good book but I did not enjoy reading it.