“You…” Her eyes fluttered as her skin turned pale. Thea could see from here that the (spoiler)’s leg was bent at an unnatural angle. “You could have been great.” Thea’s lips curled. “I’d rather be good.”
Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!
I am SO happy to share that my first 5-STAR READ OF 2019 is… THE BLACK COATS by Colleen Oakes! This book exceeded my highest expectations, and I am so thankful that I received an ARC from HarperCollins Canada/HCC Frenzy of this book!
TW: Rape, abuse, murder, violence.
Roses are read, violets are blue, if you hurt us, we’re coming for you.
The deeply secretive Black Coats have been exacting vengeance on men who hurt girls and women for years. And Thea has just received an invitation to join them. This is the opportunity she’s been waiting for to finally get justice for her cousin Natalie, whose killer went free.
Thea dives head first into the group, training every day with other girls whose stories rival hers. Together they carry out Balancings—acts of revenge guaranteed to teach a lesson. With every predator threatened, every blackmailer exposed, and every date rapist punished, Thea can feel herself getting closer to avenging Natalie’s death.
But then the Balancings begin to escalate in brutality, and Thea discovers that the Black Coats are not all they seem to be. Thea must confront just how far she’s willing to go for justice—and what kind of justice Natalie, and Thea herself, deserve. Because when the line between justice and revenge is razor thin, it’s hard not to get cut.
This book was phenomenal. I loved the writing style and vocabulary used in this book. I was hooked in from the very first page.
While this book is marketed as a contemporary novel, I would say that it’s more of a dark contemporary novel. There is a lot of killing and abuse talked about in this book, so it is definitely not like a fluffy contemporary book that you may be used to reading. There was no magic in this book, but it read almost like a book with paranormal realism in it.
The Black Coats was filled with some fierce and bad-ass female characters. They were all brought together because of past grief and tragedy, and slowly bonded because of their shared experiences. At first, they didn’t like or understand each other, but slowly their characters went through a lot of development, and considered each other family at the end of the novel. Thea, the main character, experiences her first love in this story with a boy named Drew. While the romance is definitely present in this novel, it is not overwhelming by any means. It does not impact the plot line and influence any of Thea’s decisions, which I really appreciated. Quite frankly, their relationship does not majorly impact the story until the last 100 pages. Thankfully and fortunately, I have not experienced any similar events that the main characters in this novel have experienced, but that does not mean I could not sympathize and connect with the characters.
The setting in this novel did not play a major role within the plot line, but it was definitely an important part of this novel. Many of the events in this story take place in Mademoiselle Corday, a huge mansion that the Black Coats group schemes in. I loved reading scenes that were set in this mansion, since I thought it was a really cool place for everyone to meet up in.
The plot/storyline in this novel is incredibly unique and unlike anything I have ever read before. To be honest, I thought that the plot would be quite problematic. Fighting fire with fire is never a good idea, and can be written/read quite poorly in books. However, as the characters developed, they realized this themselves, which opened their eyes to a lot of the problems within The Black Coats society (sorry if that was vague, I try not to include any spoilers in my reviews!), and further developed both the plot and their character. I thought that the plot flowed very nicely and was paced to perfection. Something that I appreciated Colleen writing about was the fact that women can abuse other women and man can be abused by both women and men. I thought that this book would just zone in on men abusing women, but it was much more expansive than that.
After the epilogue and acknowledgements, Colleen wrote a beautiful letter talking about the #MeToo movement and women’s abuse/freedoms. The letter alone is worth purchasing and reading the book, as it gives you a preview of Colleen’s wonderful writing style and story. I thought the letter was a very thoughtful touch and a stunning way to close off her book.
Overall, I absolutely adored this book and gave it 5/5 stars. I did not expect this book to be my first 5-star book of 2019, but the bigger the surprise, the better the rating feels!
I highly encourage you to pick up this book at a bookstore near you, since I think it is a great book to read in today’s day and age. Thank you to Harper Collins Canada/HCC Frenzy for an ARC of this book!
Good Night Book Owls!