This was such a beautiful and refreshingly different fantasy read!
A Dress For The Wicked is centred on fashion and a society that honours and reveres it above all. The story is about ballgowns and design, the contrast of what the rich vs poor wear, the competitiveness and the classism and the politics of it all. It was such an addictive read. Plus the descriptions of the gowns had me absolutely heart-eyes. I don’t think I’ve worn a dress in 10 years haha, but I’m so wholly in love with pretty things. Mixing ambitious cunning competitiveness + love of femininity and gorgeous gowns made for a compelling and fresh story.
(I have a giveaway going on my instagram too, if you’d like to enter!)
things to expect…
- contest at the Fashion House for an upcoming designer to win the honour of working there
- girls vying for the position and forming alliances and enemies
- descriptions of exquisite gowns and design ideas
- it’s set in an alternate reality Victorian England setting (No magic! But definitely if you like Clockwork Angel vibes, you’ll love this.)
- girl friendships!
- classism politics, betrayals, sewing needles, corruption, refusal to give up
One of my favourite parts was definitely the friendships.
With competition books, it’s so easy just to have girls hating each other…but this went beyond it. We’ve got the mean girls still, but it subverted some tropes and it was so so refreshing! Emmy is ambitious but not quite cunning enough for the cutthroat city life. Sophie is cunning but cold and aloof. The way they thaw and their lives and purpose entwine was absolutely the best thing. (There is a gossamer thread of a romance in there as well between Emmy and a reporter boy, but it was in the background.)
Lots of sewing and designing goes down!
I loved these descriptions but also never felt they went on too long or were too weighty. While the ending went super fast, I loved how the story unfurled with sewing and design challenges, the balls to attend, and Emmy’s blossoming plan to not let the Fashion House chew her up and spit her out. It’s a story about reaching for your impossible dreams.
Beautifully written, engaging and tense! The gorgeous cover is just a promise of what’s inside the book.
Thanks to Penguin for the ARC! Run Rebel by Manjeet Mann is out now!
Nothing much happens in the sleepy town of Shy in Avon-upon-Kynt. And for eighteen years, Emmaline Watkins has feared that her future held just that: nothing.
But when the head of the most admired fashion house in the country opens her prestigious design competition to girls from outside the stylish capital city, Emmy’s dreams seem closer than they ever have before.
As the first “country girl” to compete, Emmy knows she’ll encounter extra hurdles on her way to the top. But as she navigates the twisted world of high fashion she starts to wonder: will she be able to tailor herself to fit into this dark, corrupted race? And at what cost?
do you love dressing up and wearing pretty things? 👀 is this one on your tbr or tell me what you think of it!