Disney-Hyperion | June 2016 | 400 pgs
Source: Library

There are two sides of seventeen-year-old Arista. By day she is Lady A - a notorious blackmailer in the London city who sweeps into lavish balls and exclusive events to collect and sell secrets whoever who pays the most for the information he wants. Behind her mask and lovely gowns, Arista is merely a slave to her abusive master, Bones, who had trained her to be a thief since she was five. Her partner-in-crime, Nic, is also another slave who works as her bodyguard whenever Lady A goes to her "businesses". 

Arista is then approached by Jonathan Wild, the infamous Thief Taker General who operates like Bones after the latter attempts to dispose her for good. Wild is well aware of Lady A's capabilities but Arista is not sure if she wants to escape from a hellhole to another hellhole despite Wild promises of split profits and freedom until he saved her from a fire in Bones' property. It seems Arista has no choice but to partner with Wild until her encounter with Grae Sinclair, the son of a wealthy merchant whom she has met once during her servitude to Bones. 

Grae and Arista are attracted to each other, but the former has no idea of her identity and while Arista feels sorry about her lies to Grae, it is nothing as compared to the scheme which Wild has wanted her to deal later - to infiltrate into the Sinclair's household under the disguise of a young widow in wait for Wild's instructions as the merchant has owed Wild a favour. Little does she know that the transaction she is going to deal would crush not only the Sinclairs but her future with Grae. 

Tangled Webs has an interesting premise set in 1725, London. Here we have a feisty heroine under disguise and her role as a notorious blackmailer sounds very intriguing isn't it? Alas, I've to say my excitement ends there as I felt the characters are one dimensional and underdeveloped. I liked the characters, in particularly Arista and Grae but they aren't fleshed out and I didn't feel any connection with any of them although I sympathised with Arista as well as a few others who are under Bones' grasp. The attraction between Arista and Grae seemed more like insta-love to me and while I've nothing against it, it just feels unreal to me (maybe in fiction but not in reality, I suppose). Truth be told, I think this story has potential but it fell short when characters development and story dynamic are concerned. I liked the story but it wasn't enough to wow me. 

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10 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    Yep. Sounds like it had tons of promise. Too bad it disappointed.

  2. jenclair Says:

    A lack of characterization can keep a book from being completely satisfying. When you read a lot, many books can provide a few hours of entertainment and still fall short. :(

  3. This sounds a bit like Fingersmith by Sarah Waters. It's an interesting premise, but it's too bad it wasn't better done.

  4. Lark Says:

    That's too bad. It sounded like it could have been so good. Guess I won't be adding this one to my list. :)

  5. Iliana Says:

    What a bummer this one didn't live up to the great set up. As I was reading your review I really liked the premise - I think I'd give this one a go but would have to keep my expectations in check!

  6. Melody Says:

    Jenny - It'd be perfect if the story was more well executed. Oh well, perhaps I'd high expectations of this book because the blurb sounds so good to me.

  7. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - I totally agree with you on that.

  8. Melody Says:

    Wendy - I still haven't read Fingersmith! Yes, this one does have an interesting premise but I suppose I'd expected too much.

  9. Melody Says:

    Lark - The blurb made me picked up this book. That said, I'm still glad I read it, though.

  10. Melody Says:

    Iliana - I loved the premise. I just wished the characters are more developed. Can't wait to hear what you'll think of it if you get to it, Iliana.

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