Lady A is the most notorious blackmailer in the city. With just a mask and a gown to disguise her, she sweeps into lavish balls and exclusive events collecting the most valuable currency in 1725 London—secrets.But leading a double life isn’t easy. By day Lady A is just a sixteen-year-old girl named Arista who lives in fear of her abusive master, Bones, and passes herself off as a boy to move safely through the squalor of London’s slums. When Bones attempts to dispose of his pawn forever, Arista is rescued by the last person she expects: Jonathan Wild, the infamous Thief Taker General who moves seamlessly between the city’s criminal underworld and its most elite upper circles. Arista partners with Wild on her own terms in the hopes of saving enough money to buy passage out of London.
Everything changes when she meets Graeden Sinclair, the son of a wealthy merchant. Grae has traveled the world, has seen the exotic lands Arista has longed to escape to her whole life, and he loves Arista for who she is—not for what she can do for him. Being with Grae gives something Arista something precious that she swore off long ago: hope. He has promised to help Arista escape the life of crime that has claimed her since she was a child. But can you ever truly escape the past?
Things to look out for in Tangled Webs by Lee Bross
- A VERY confused MC. Meet Arista aka Lady A aka Ana aka someone help me because so many “aka’s” aren’t even legal. Arista is a thief…or rather, the aid of a thief. Her boss, Bones (Villain #1), collects secrets of the aristocrats in London’s society and he’ll keep them safe, for a price, of course. He is cruel, abusive, and basically owns Arista. He keeps her starved and filthy, only allowing her to dress up family for the sake of masquerade parties, when Arista becomes Lady A and collects the payment from London’s richest. But Arista doesn’t know who she is, or what she wants to be. When she’s Lady A, she cherishes the control she, a girl, has over the rich bastards of the city. But when everything is said and done, Arista only wants to run away, and lead a normal life. All of this struggle and angst is fine, but not until it wears the reader down. Duuuude. You don’t know what you want to do. Newsflash: None of us teens do. What you’re experiencing is normal teenage behaviour. Jeez. Don’t show me your inner struggle for 302 pages out of your 304 page book.
- A host of characters with the depth of the finest potholes in your city. When I read a book, I expect to see characters who are thicker than a cardboard and deeper than potholes. I don’t want to see these characters come and go when the story line requires them to, and I don’t want them to be used to drag the story along. Examples of these characters? Nic (Love Interest #1), Becky (Arista’s “friend”), Grae (Reigning Love Interest) and most importantly Wild (Villian #2). These people came when they had to utter a few dialogues, and then left, leaving Arista to ponder upon—what else?—her identity crisis. Sigh.
- Instalove? Instalove! I could go on and on and on about Arista and Grae and their love-at-first-sight situation. How she fell in love with his voice and the fact that he had been to India. How she thought about him all the time, forgetting how best friend and companion Nic had always protected her from Bones. How she thought that she wouldn’t even give him her name for fear that he would…what go to the cops? How she decided (without him, might I add) that she would help his family (who found their way into the book, somehow) and make sure that they lived happily—no matter the fact that she’d essentially dug her own grave. And then there was Grae. I loved him the first time he met Arista. He was all soft voice and strong arms and swoons, but as I kept seeing more and more of him, I realised that while he was likeable, he wasn’t some special character that I’d remember. Not bad, but nothing new either. Bummer, because I really like his name. MY NAME IS GRAE SINCLAIR AND I’M MYSTERIOUS AND SEXY *insert sexy pelvic gyrations*
- Villains who are as cliché as they come. Two villains in this story, ladies and gents, and both do basically the same thing. One is a brute about it, the other uses sweet words to get what he wants. And if you don’t do as they say, they will take from you, whether you like it or not. Let me tell you, in the history of YA has never been one villain who made me fear for the character’s life. And Tangled Webs is no different. The two bad guys could have been worse had they shown something that other stereotypical villains don’t but they stuck to the old classics and that just weakend the plot even further.
- London, 1725…or was it? One of my main reasons for picking up this book was the time period. London is my happy place, whether in current times or two hundred years ago. And in Tangled Webs, apart from the repeated mentions of the London slums and squalors and the filth in the alleyways, nothing else made me feel like the book was based in London. In fact, it could be the current time in a city that hosted a little too many masquerades and my feelings about the book would remain unchanged. What is the use of such an elaborate setting if it brings nothing of consequence to the plot line?
Overall, I’m not too sure if I’m going to pick up the sequel to this one, but it’s a confirmed two book series, so why the fuck not, right?