Friday, January 17, 2014

Review: Vixen

Vixen (Flappers, book one)
By Jillian Larkin, read by Abby Craden
Published 2010 by Listening Library

Three girls discover jazz, booze, and men in the Roaring Twenties. Gloria, newly engaged, worries that her party days are over. Her cousin, Clara, sent to make sure the wedding goes as planned, has some secrets of her own. And Lorraine, Glo's best friend, longs to live outside of her shadow. What will the Jazz Age bring these girls?

I'm going to be bluntly honest with y'all - I listened to this book about 4 months ago and I'm having a hard time recalling it. What doesn't help is that I've also listened to (and have yet to finish) the first two books in the Bright Young Things series - which is also about three teen girls in the Jazz Age. These series are shockingly similar, so please forgive me if I mix about any details.

I suppose that's what I should start this review with - even while listening to this book, I felt like I'd already read this story. Godbersen's series also tells the story of the Jazz Age from the alternating perspectives of three young women. Just as in that series, one of the girls is about to be married and isn't entirely sure it's the right choice for her. I suppose those are the most glaring of the similarities, but they are pretty big ones, and important if you are reviewing the book some time after you finished reading it. Okay, I think I made my point.

To this book itself: it's not life-changing literature. This is a frothy period piece, full of drama and pretty dresses. Is there anything wrong with that? Of course not, just remember what you're getting yourself into. The girls are mostly vapid and self-absorbed, making terrible choices and almost instantly regretting them. But do I really have to care about them to want to know what kind of madness they're going to get into next? No, and so the book works just fine.

The plot is pure melodrama - one ludicrous development after the next - until the completely over the top ending. It barrels along relentlessly, which keeps the reader (or listener, as the case may be) engaged the whole way through. It's entertaining and mostly mindless, which makes it a quick and easy read. One thing I'll be interested to watch develop (as surely, I'll eventually read the next book) is the interracial romance that begins in this book. I'm definitely curious to see how Larkin is going to handle that.

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