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In this sweeping Dust Bowl-inspired fantasy, a ten-year game between Life and Death pits the walled Oklahoma city of Elysium-including a girl gang of witches and a demon who longs for humanity-against the supernatural in order to judge mankind. When Sal is named Successor to Mother Morevna, a powerful witch and leader of Elysium, she jumps at the chance to prove herself to In this sweeping Dust Bowl-inspired fantasy, a ten-year game between Life and Death pits the walled Oklahoma city of Elysium-including a girl gang of witches and a demon who longs for humanity-against the supernatural in order to judge mankind. When Sal is named Successor to Mother Morevna, a powerful witch and leader of Elysium, she jumps at the chance to prove herself to the town. Ever since she was a kid, Sal has been plagued by false visions of rain, and though people think she's a liar, she knows she's a leader. Even the arrival of enigmatic outsider Asa-a human-obsessed demon in disguise-doesn't shake her confidence in her ability. Until a terrible mistake results in both Sal and Asa's exile into the Desert of Dust and Steel. Face-to-face with a brutal, unforgiving landscape, Sal and Asa join a gang of girls headed by another Elysium exile-and young witch herself-Olivia Rosales. In order to atone for their mistake, they create a cavalry of magic powered, scrap metal horses to save Elysium from the coming apocalypse. But Sal, Asa, and Olivia must do more than simply tip the scales in Elysium's favor-only by reinventing the rules can they beat the Life and Death at their own game.


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In this sweeping Dust Bowl-inspired fantasy, a ten-year game between Life and Death pits the walled Oklahoma city of Elysium-including a girl gang of witches and a demon who longs for humanity-against the supernatural in order to judge mankind. When Sal is named Successor to Mother Morevna, a powerful witch and leader of Elysium, she jumps at the chance to prove herself to In this sweeping Dust Bowl-inspired fantasy, a ten-year game between Life and Death pits the walled Oklahoma city of Elysium-including a girl gang of witches and a demon who longs for humanity-against the supernatural in order to judge mankind. When Sal is named Successor to Mother Morevna, a powerful witch and leader of Elysium, she jumps at the chance to prove herself to the town. Ever since she was a kid, Sal has been plagued by false visions of rain, and though people think she's a liar, she knows she's a leader. Even the arrival of enigmatic outsider Asa-a human-obsessed demon in disguise-doesn't shake her confidence in her ability. Until a terrible mistake results in both Sal and Asa's exile into the Desert of Dust and Steel. Face-to-face with a brutal, unforgiving landscape, Sal and Asa join a gang of girls headed by another Elysium exile-and young witch herself-Olivia Rosales. In order to atone for their mistake, they create a cavalry of magic powered, scrap metal horses to save Elysium from the coming apocalypse. But Sal, Asa, and Olivia must do more than simply tip the scales in Elysium's favor-only by reinventing the rules can they beat the Life and Death at their own game.

30 review for Elysium Girls

  1. 4 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    In the early-1930s, in a fantastical version of the United States, the Goddesses of Life and Death decided to play a game. Their board is an Oklahoma settlement town called, Elysium, set amidst a stark desert landscape. Their game pieces are the inhabitants of the town, scurrying around like the ants in A Bug's Life, trying to gather up enough sacrificial materials to please the Goddesses once the 10-year game is up. Within the settlement, an elder witch, Mother Morvena, seeks her replacement. Sh In the early-1930s, in a fantastical version of the United States, the Goddesses of Life and Death decided to play a game. Their board is an Oklahoma settlement town called, Elysium, set amidst a stark desert landscape. Their game pieces are the inhabitants of the town, scurrying around like the ants in A Bug's Life, trying to gather up enough sacrificial materials to please the Goddesses once the 10-year game is up. Within the settlement, an elder witch, Mother Morvena, seeks her replacement. She is nearing the end of her life, and as the settlement's unofficial leader, someone needs to take over her duties. Sal Wilkerson, a teen living within the settlement, has never quite fit in. She's different than the other girls and has few friends. She lost her mother to the Dust Sickness and has found it hard trying to make it on her own. She knows she is meant to be a leader, but getting others to see her as such will be a battle. Her recurring false visions of rain aren't helping matters. But when Mother Morvena selects Sal as her successor, things change. Sal begins to see how she can truly contribute and discovers her powers as a witch. Her new found celebrity is dimmed, however, when a new man arrives in town. A magician named, Asa, who happens to be a Daemon in disguise! All the townsfolk are completely enamored with him and constantly after him to perform tricks. When a magical duel between Sal and Asa goes horribly wrong, the entire fate of the game has been ruined. Blamed for the catastrophic result, they face excommunication and Asa disappears. Now alone, Sal is tossed outside the border wall and forced to survive in the desert, where cannibals are said to lurk. When all hope seems to be lost, Sal finds her salvation. A badass group of girls, the leader of which was also kicked out of Elysium for bad behavior. The group takes Sal in, along with Asa, who just couldn't keep away from those darn humans. They form a beloved found family that was an absolute delight to read. Together they plan to get back in the game and save all of Elysium from the clutches of Death. Y'all, this book was so much fun to read. Super unique and full of action. I really enjoyed the setting, a sort of magical Deadwood meets Mad Max: Fury Road, and if that isn't reason enough to pick it up, I'm not sure what is. I loved both Sal and Asa, as well as many of the side characters. They were full of grit and determination. I really started rooting for this hastily assembled girl gang. They were smart, tough and never afraid of a fight. The giant mechanical horse on the cover is in the story as well, adding a touch of steampunk charm! The whole way through, I was so into it. Thinking all along, this is a 5-star read, but then, the last 20% sort of lost me. I found it confusing, it was going so fast and there were multiple twists thrown in right at the end. I still don't really understand the conclusion. I guess if I would have had more information on the world outside of Elysium, it may have solved some of the uncertainties. With this being said, this is still an enjoyable read. One that I can treasure for its magical narrative and captivating setting. I would urge anyone who finds the synopsis interesting to pick it up. I do not think you will be disappointed. Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney Book Group, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I had so much fun with it and look forward to seeing what Kate Pentecost dreams up next!

  2. 4 out of 5

    raphael ✧

    please be gay please be gay please be gay please be g

  3. 4 out of 5

    Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard

    I absolutely LOVED this book! ADORED! The cover and plot had me so hyped up and it did not disappoint! The last half especially was such a wild ride having the dust sickness and everyone's backstories come up while fighting the weird dudes in the desert plus all the gods/daemons involvement! It was busy so I kept guessing who and what was the cause of the dust sickness! I really liked the wrap-up and the relationship development between all the outcasts. I also appreciated it not being super rom I absolutely LOVED this book! ADORED! The cover and plot had me so hyped up and it did not disappoint! The last half especially was such a wild ride having the dust sickness and everyone's backstories come up while fighting the weird dudes in the desert plus all the gods/daemons involvement! It was busy so I kept guessing who and what was the cause of the dust sickness! I really liked the wrap-up and the relationship development between all the outcasts. I also appreciated it not being super romance heavy because there was definitely the potential for it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    Plot I’m going to admit that wanting to read this one was purely driven by my love of the cover… Yeah, I did that. But, what followed as I read was a respect for the amazing story that Elysium Girls turned out to be! I’ve heard people liken it to Mad Max, and I can see it. You have a bunch of girls–and a daemon–who are left to the devices of the gods; stranded in the desert trying to survive a game that they didn’t ask for. With obstacles both human and supernatural, the girls do what they can to Plot I’m going to admit that wanting to read this one was purely driven by my love of the cover… Yeah, I did that. But, what followed as I read was a respect for the amazing story that Elysium Girls turned out to be! I’ve heard people liken it to Mad Max, and I can see it. You have a bunch of girls–and a daemon–who are left to the devices of the gods; stranded in the desert trying to survive a game that they didn’t ask for. With obstacles both human and supernatural, the girls do what they can to survive with the help of magic. Elysium Girls takes place in Oklahoma after the infamous Dust Bowl. The gods decide to take advantage of an-already disadvantaged people by setting up a game between Life and Death. If Life wins, so do the people of Elysium. If Death wins… they perish. From the first page, the author builds up the setting of what is a powerful story of how even the most seemingly downtrodden and defeated characters can not only defy odds stacked against them, but do it with strength and goodness that is rare in the times they’re in. Characters The main character, Sal, started out as a weak girl who was unsure of herself due to the treatment she’d received in Elysium for most of her life. She knew she was different, but that difference didn’t give her the confidence that it should have. Sal’s growth through the whole story is one of the things that impressed me the most. By the end, Sal is a force to be reckoned with. I attribute that to the sheer need to grow and the influence of other amazingly strong characters. Asa, a daemon sent down as a pawn, came off as a little goofy to me at first. But, that quickly turned into an endearing presence that I know the story couldn’t have done without. These two, along with a powerful group of girls they find in the desert carry the plot to the finish line and make this story as great as it is. Writing The writing was superb! I can’t convey enough how well Pentecost carried out this story. In a world where there are so many post-apocalyptic stories being told, this one was refreshing and unique. Pacing The pacing was well-done. Oftentimes I struggle with the beginning of a book when the author is doing the world-building, but there was none of that here. Cover I already admitted that I picked this one for the cover… So, do I need to say more? I absolutely suggest that if you are interested in reading about powerful females, magical battles, and endearing characters, you pick up Elysium Girls. I believe there’s a little bit of something for everyone in this book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    ♠ TABI⁷ ♠

    Uhm yes I will read this. It had me at MMFR DAMN LOOK AT THAT COVER WOW

  6. 4 out of 5

    Dahlia

    This was very cool! It's not the most "my thing" as far as genres go but I had to read it to confirm it was Sapphic as reported, and I read the whole thing in a couple of days so it was certainly compelling! Think The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco meets The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis. There are a couple of things that I thought were leading to much cooler, grander revelations** but didn't (one I think is just an error, so hopefully that's fixed for the final copy; I read an A This was very cool! It's not the most "my thing" as far as genres go but I had to read it to confirm it was Sapphic as reported, and I read the whole thing in a couple of days so it was certainly compelling! Think The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco meets The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis. There are a couple of things that I thought were leading to much cooler, grander revelations** but didn't (one I think is just an error, so hopefully that's fixed for the final copy; I read an ARC), but I definitely did not see All the Things coming in this book that did, and there were a bunch of IMO really well-done surprises. *It is, in the sense of the female MC definitely being into her female friend, though it's not explicit that she ever figures out her feelings are romantic, whereas the LI knows she's queer - basically, I'd say it's queer but don't go into it *for* the f/f Romance, because there isn't explicitly one. I think maybe if you like more ace-spectrum-coded romances, this could be very much your jam though? **(view spoiler)[At one point, there's a mention of a code that's in Cyrillic (though how the MC would know it's Cyrillic, I have no idea), and I thought "Oooh, Russian Spy!" because this is set around mid-20th-century, but it didn't actually have any deeper meaning. (Also, Cyrillic for this coding didn't really make sense, so I'm very curious about that choice.) There's also a mention of a girl learning about "all 50 states" in class, but there weren't 50 states when the book is set, so that's the error I'm assuming will be caught by the time the book goes to print. (hide spoiler)]

  7. 4 out of 5

    fae

    a girl gang of witches and a wildcard demon?? Goddesses of Life and Death?? a girl gang of witches and a wildcard demon?? Goddesses of Life and Death??

  8. 5 out of 5

    Cindy ✩☽♔

    Pitched as Mad Max: Fury Road meets Caraval in an alternate history American Dust Bowl, the book features a girl gang of witches and a wildcard demon... I have no idea what to expect, but I think I'm into it? Pitched as Mad Max: Fury Road meets Caraval in an alternate history American Dust Bowl, the book features a girl gang of witches and a wildcard demon... I have no idea what to expect, but I think I'm into it?

  9. 5 out of 5

    Vee

    Mad Max meets Caraval also there's a witchy girl gangs I'm don't know what I'm here for but I'm here for it Mad Max meets Caraval also there's a witchy girl gangs I'm don't know what I'm here for but I'm here for it

  10. 4 out of 5

    Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)

    You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight Not going to lie here, friends, I had some sky-high expectations from this book. Because come on, did you see the synopsis? It sounds amazing! And I am here with some great news! It fully delivered (in fact, I think it exceeded my expectations, woo)! And now, I am going to tell you all the reasons that Elysium Girls hits it out of the park! • The setting was so on point! When I read " You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight Not going to lie here, friends, I had some sky-high expectations from this book. Because come on, did you see the synopsis? It sounds amazing! And I am here with some great news! It fully delivered (in fact, I think it exceeded my expectations, woo)! And now, I am going to tell you all the reasons that Elysium Girls hits it out of the park! • The setting was so on point! When I read "Dust Bowl Inspired", I figured it may be just... a vague feeling of similarity. But NOPE. It is in the actual Dust Bowl! Right smack in the middle of Depression-era Oklahoma, you will feel how dire of a situation this book is set in. Because yes, it's set in a real place and time, but in an alternate situation. It'll all be explained to you, which is also greatly appreciated. The author provides a lot of world-building along the way. In fact, it's kind of a big part of the plot, in essence! • Sal is an incredibly relatable and sympathetic character. Gosh, girl cannot catch a break! If it wasn't bad enough that she's stuck in Elysium, her mom is dead, and she's kind of the town pariah after a bout of magic that didn't turn out as she'd planned. She has a handful of allies, but none that are willing to really go to bat for her. At the start, anyway. • When Sal finds her people, it is absolute perfection. Look, I am not telling you the who, where, when, etc, because I think you're better off finding that out on your own, but the people who Sal eventually finds/chooses are kind of a perfect fit and they elevate the book so much. • I actually enjoyed the magic system! I know you guys, this is a big rarity for me, but here I am, liking me some magic! The author describes it really well in a way that didn't go over my head or feel convoluted. And considering the situation, it worked without requiring any suspension of disbelief. • The author absolutely nails the descriptions of the events. And make no mistake, this was not an easy feat! I mean, some things happen in the book that are kind of bananas, so you can imagine that it's a tricky thing to truly make the reader visualize. But she did it! I was able to fully understand what was happening, even when there was a lot of action and excitement. I could picture and sense what was happening with our characters. It stood out for me so much that I kept making Kindle notes about it, which is why I am sharing with you! • It's thought provoking, very morally gray, and asks the tough questions. I mean, is there anything I love more than a book that forces its characters to make some terrible decisions and figure out the least of evils? No there is not, and this book absolutely features ALL of that! Bottom Line: So atmospheric with fabulous characters and a ton of heart and hope in the darkest of situations, Elysium Girls is one you cannot miss.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Shelley

    *Source* Publisher *Genre* Young Adult / Fantasy *Rating* 4.0 *Thoughts* Elysium Girls is author Kate Pentecost's debut novel. In this sweeping Dust Bowl-inspired fantasy, a ten-year game between Life and Death pits the walled Oklahoma city of Elysium against the supernatural in order to judge mankind. On April 14, 1935, two sisters, Life and Death, who like to gamble with each other, time, space and human lives, make a deal with Mother Morevna, leader of Elysium. They will have 10 years without int *Source* Publisher *Genre* Young Adult / Fantasy *Rating* 4.0 *Thoughts* Elysium Girls is author Kate Pentecost's debut novel. In this sweeping Dust Bowl-inspired fantasy, a ten-year game between Life and Death pits the walled Oklahoma city of Elysium against the supernatural in order to judge mankind. On April 14, 1935, two sisters, Life and Death, who like to gamble with each other, time, space and human lives, make a deal with Mother Morevna, leader of Elysium. They will have 10 years without interference to prove that they are worthy of staying alive. If society is judged good, life goes on. If society fails, the entire town is wiped out of existence. *Full Review @ Gizmos Reviews* https://gizmosreviews.blogspot.com/20...

  12. 5 out of 5

    Leah Waters

    DNF at 50%. It wasn't bad...I just don't care enough to continue. DNF at 50%. It wasn't bad...I just don't care enough to continue.

  13. 5 out of 5

    rachel ☾

    In this sweeping Dust Bowl-inspired fantasy, a ten-year game between Life and Death pits the walled Oklahoma city of Elysium-including a girl gang of witches and a demon who longs for humanity-against the supernatural in order to judge mankind. Blog • Goodreads • Twitter • Instagram In this sweeping Dust Bowl-inspired fantasy, a ten-year game between Life and Death pits the walled Oklahoma city of Elysium-including a girl gang of witches and a demon who longs for humanity-against the supernatural in order to judge mankind. Blog • Goodreads • Twitter • Instagram

  14. 5 out of 5

    Autumn Krause

    I got to read this prior to publication and IT. IS. AMAZING. It's a thrilling story grounded in exquisite writing--all I can say is: read this!! It delivers on every level. I got to read this prior to publication and IT. IS. AMAZING. It's a thrilling story grounded in exquisite writing--all I can say is: read this!! It delivers on every level.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Devann

    I felt like there were some issues with this book in terms of pacing [especially at the end] and to a lesser degree world building as well, but at the end of the day it was just a really fun book with some great characters and a very interesting premise so I think it still deserves four stars. Also just as a note, the F/F romance is not what I would consider a 'large' part of the plot so if you are looking for something more romance heavy this is probably not it, the focus is definitely more on I felt like there were some issues with this book in terms of pacing [especially at the end] and to a lesser degree world building as well, but at the end of the day it was just a really fun book with some great characters and a very interesting premise so I think it still deserves four stars. Also just as a note, the F/F romance is not what I would consider a 'large' part of the plot so if you are looking for something more romance heavy this is probably not it, the focus is definitely more on the plot aspect of the book and the romance is something that happens more on the sidelines.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kristi Housman Confessions of a YA Reader

    RTC for blog tour.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Chelsies Reading Escape

    The sample was amazing. I cant wait to get my hands on the full novel.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jaye Berry

    I am so sorry for the shitpost but I can already see this book being super underrated and overlooked and I'm just doing my part. *** This was WILD and I really enjoyed it! Elysium Girls is about a Game between the goddesses Life and Death in a small walled city called Elysium. One day a dust storm came in and cut Elysium off from the rest of the world and they are told they have ten years to build their civilization up to be judged as to whether Life or Death is the winner. If Life wins, they are f I am so sorry for the shitpost but I can already see this book being super underrated and overlooked and I'm just doing my part. *** This was WILD and I really enjoyed it! Elysium Girls is about a Game between the goddesses Life and Death in a small walled city called Elysium. One day a dust storm came in and cut Elysium off from the rest of the world and they are told they have ten years to build their civilization up to be judged as to whether Life or Death is the winner. If Life wins, they are free to join the outside world once more but if Death wins they all die. Sal is a girl living in the city, never fitting in but always wanting a purpose. When she is named Successor to the powerful witch in charge, she jumps at the chance to prove herself. Meanwhile Asa is a human obsessed demon in disguise who has been sent to Elysium. Together Sal and Asa make a mistake that leads them to be banished from Elysium, out into the deadly desert. My summary is long as HECK because this book is seriously wild and it's so hard to explain what it's about. This book is really: Mad Max meets girl squad of witches and I live by that. I know nothing these days is super original and unique but she's very gorgeous to me and I haven't read anything like this is a very long time and I have to stan. It was such a different mix of things but it just all worked together so nicely?? There were some moments with the writing that was a little choppy and awkward but this is a debut and it's pretty good for one in my opinion. So much stuff oh my god. Witches, magic, daemons, goddesses, mechanical horses, deadly dust storms, raiders and cannibals, giant soldiers made from dust, dangerous desert, a mysterious sickness, beautiful diversity, a walled city cut off from the rest of the world in 1930s Oklahoma!! Go OFF ma'am. This book was fast and I can support that as I've been in a reading slump for months and reading myself (vs listening to an audiobook) would take me forever but I blasted through this baddie pretty quickly. Love to see that. There were parts where the pacing was a little slow and I wanted it to hurry up but I loved the extra time to flesh out all of these different badass female characters. The first half of the book is good, mostly set up but the second half when Sal is in the desert and meets the squad? *Chef's kiss*. All of us or nobody. I loved every single one of those girls and I loved seeing their different powers, teamwork, and all around literally just a squad of girls supporting girls while kicking ass. The part that denies me from giving this five stars is that I wanted more romance and for a wlw book, it felt like there was more hetero romance in the spotlight. I really loved Asa and Olivia's romance but I just wanted more romance with Sal and Lucy. Sure they were cute as all hell but it was so small and minor it could be cut from the book and nothing would change, and it just made me sad because I came into this book wanting wlw and it just felt like a tease. The magic system was really interesting and cool but I had wished Sal trained longer because she really didn't seem to know what she was doing for the entire book. It was a bit underwhelming in that regard. I guess I just personally wanted more flash and dramatic magic from her instead of... just throw some seashell dust and hope it does something. Sal was a good enough main character but because there were so many other interesting characters, I kind of wish they were the main character instead. But I still really enjoyed this book and I liked how fast and exciting it was. I absolutely love the cover and I love how this is a standalone as well. (Next time make girls kith and you get five stars.)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Besides the beautiful cover this book is actually good. I was surprised to see all the fantasy elements working so well together. That was so epic! The characters really got to me as well, particularly the adorable Asa. However, I missed a certain kind of dept in individuality in their characters other than their backstory and skills. What I liked the most in this book was definitely the witchcraft and the specialties of the witches. I also ‘enjoyed’ the gloomy doomsday vibes, especially during Besides the beautiful cover this book is actually good. I was surprised to see all the fantasy elements working so well together. That was so epic! The characters really got to me as well, particularly the adorable Asa. However, I missed a certain kind of dept in individuality in their characters other than their backstory and skills. What I liked the most in this book was definitely the witchcraft and the specialties of the witches. I also ‘enjoyed’ the gloomy doomsday vibes, especially during the first part of the book. I would have given it 4.5 stars if the pacing of the story had been better. The worldbuilding was awesome and took quite some time, while the chapters near the ending felt really rushed. I had expected a bit more and would not have minded it if the book had been fifty pages longer.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Marylon

    However the book was a total cover-buy (I mean, just look at it!) I enjoyed reading it. I liked the story and set-up a lot, with it's goddesses and apocalyptic vibes. There were certainly places where the plot could have been stronger and where I would have liked more background. Also did the ending feel a bit rushed and abrupt. All together I rate the book with 3,5 stars: highly enjoyable story, cool setting and a looming apocalyps. And let's not forget: a badass girl-gang! However the book was a total cover-buy (I mean, just look at it!) I enjoyed reading it. I liked the story and set-up a lot, with it's goddesses and apocalyptic vibes. There were certainly places where the plot could have been stronger and where I would have liked more background. Also did the ending feel a bit rushed and abrupt. All together I rate the book with 3,5 stars: highly enjoyable story, cool setting and a looming apocalyps. And let's not forget: a badass girl-gang!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Allisa White

    There are not many YA westerns out there, so when I first heard about this YA western fantasy, I was really excited! I love a good western setting and the characters they bring, and I was not disappointed with Elysium Girls! Quick Thoughts -There is not much focus on romance in this book, but what's there was just. SO. CUTE. I could not stop squealing over the cuteness of the romance. -This book is so easy to read (at least it was for me). The prose wasn't flowery, and the action was exciting and t There are not many YA westerns out there, so when I first heard about this YA western fantasy, I was really excited! I love a good western setting and the characters they bring, and I was not disappointed with Elysium Girls! Quick Thoughts -There is not much focus on romance in this book, but what's there was just. SO. CUTE. I could not stop squealing over the cuteness of the romance. -This book is so easy to read (at least it was for me). The prose wasn't flowery, and the action was exciting and the whole book was just so FUN. It did not take me long to get through it. -This is a PSA: Elysium Girls is a standalone fantasy book! Yup, there is no sequel! How awesome is that? Lasting Impressions My favorite part of this book is how unique and fresh it is. It blends so many different components together that it felt like I was reading something totally new. For one thing, the genre blend of western and fantasy is definitely not something I've read! This book has magic, goddesses, daemons, and witches, but it I was never confused about the world building or the magic system. It was refreshingly simple and not overwrought. And speaking of the world, this one is so interesting! The book is set in 1944, so not exactly your spaghetti-western time period, but the setting if Elysium, Oklahoma trapped in time because of a pair of gambling goddesses is just so fascinating. The added touches of steampunk, metal/magic horses was just the best thing ever. You know what else was the best thing ever? The goshdarned plot! There were so many twists, so many reveals that I didn't see coming! It was fast-paced and exciting with lots of action. But my favorite thing about this book was the characters. The main character, Sal, is so uncertain and doubtful of herself at first, but watching her grow into her powers and seeing her grow in confidence was just so heartwarming. And Asa is THE BEST! He's so funny and sweet, especially for a daemon. The other secondary characters such as Lucy and Olivia were all three-dimensional and so interesting to learn more about. The rest of the girls who make up the desert witchy girl gang are also wonderful. The sisterhood is strong in this book, and I am here for it! Overall Feelings Kate Pentecost is a new author to watch out for! Her debut is incredibly strong, and a lot of fun. I can't wait to see what else she comes up with! If you're looking for a standalone fantasy that is different from the norm, or you're just looking for a wonderful fantasy book in general, you should definitely pick this book up!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sana

    This one sounds too good to be true but hey, here for the girl gang just like in Undead Girl Gang and The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy This one sounds too good to be true but hey, here for the girl gang just like in Undead Girl Gang and The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy

  23. 4 out of 5

    Uma | Books.Bags.Burgers

    (A huge thank you to the FFBC tours FFBC tours the publisher and Netgalley for the eARC of the book) SAY HELLO TO MY NEW FAVOURITE BOOK. The author takes some regular tropes tropes and turns them into something crazy spectacular and 200% unique and I'll just be over here rambling about the brilliance of this book so read on! I shall try to be coherent ~Hello to the most incredible setting/world of ever~ A walled city surrounded by the desert of sand and steel, watched by Life and Death. That w (A huge thank you to the FFBC tours FFBC tours the publisher and Netgalley for the eARC of the book) SAY HELLO TO MY NEW FAVOURITE BOOK. The author takes some regular tropes tropes and turns them into something crazy spectacular and 200% unique and I'll just be over here rambling about the brilliance of this book so read on! I shall try to be coherent ~Hello to the most incredible setting/world of ever~ A walled city surrounded by the desert of sand and steel, watched by Life and Death. That would be an underrated and simplistic way of describing it. Elysium is the city the two sisters, Life and Death are betting over. They are betting over it's survival in the harshest conditions trying to tip the scales in their favour by using their wildcard. The aesthetic of this world was just so unique, a kind of recycled metal technology along with magic. my favourite part were the horses (an example of which you see on the cover); made of metal scraps, held together by bolts and magic, brought to a type of life by magic. It's not quite steampunk meets magic and I AM SO HERE FOR IT. I get exactly why it's described as Mad Max: Fury road meets witches. ~Meet the Characters~ Kate Pentecost plays with tropes, teases us with the idea of cliche tropes but before we can groan about it, BAM she reinvents the whole trope and gives us something unique. There is Sal, the orphaned MC who is something of an outsider within Elysium. There is Asa, the demon in human form, something of a chosen one, a wildcard who appears pretty much out of nowhere at the Elysium. There is so much chance this could have been orphan girl meets mysterious stranger boy and goes lovey eyed. Readers almost expect that to happen but the brilliant story teller that is Ms. Pentecost turns it all around. ”And it’s not like you, the strong, patient, ingenious girl I know, to bow before something as insignificant as fate.” The non stilted romances THAT WERE NOT THE FOCUS OF THE STORY were a HUGE plus. The romance is there, the crushes are there but they are not all-encompassing or taking away from the plot. There is both a straight romance and a f/f pairing is all I'm going to say. ~Hello Plot Twists ~ I'm not saying I didn't at all see some of the plot twists coming; I did, BUT were they still awesome? ABSOLUTELY. And when some plot twists were revealed, I could go back and see just how cleverly and subtly it had been foreshadowed. I like it when a book has (a) Plot twists that shock me (b) Plot twists that are not as shocking but are cleverly foreshadowed and utterly brilliant. this book has both these kinds of plot twists ~A Writing style to draw you In ~ The writing is amazing. This is probably the most well written debut book I have read so far. I loved how the authors puts everything in front of the readers in a simple but captivating manner. I read this book in pretty much one sitting. Even when we came to some points where the story itself was a bit slow, the writing was always there to keep me swiping through the pages. ~A unique, badass standalone novel where metal meets magic and strong willed characters fight for their own destinies and not bow to any predetermined fates ~

  24. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    None of this should work. In reading the synopsis, there is no way that any two elements of this story should work together. And yet, somehow, some unfathomable how, it does. Beautifully. Full review and blog tour at Write, Read, Repeat The premise of this book could be likened to quarantine cooking. The author rooted through her mental pantry and threw whatever she had that might taste decent into a pot. Dustbowl USA, the Great Depression, a game between the goddesses of life and death, witches, None of this should work. In reading the synopsis, there is no way that any two elements of this story should work together. And yet, somehow, some unfathomable how, it does. Beautifully. Full review and blog tour at Write, Read, Repeat The premise of this book could be likened to quarantine cooking. The author rooted through her mental pantry and threw whatever she had that might taste decent into a pot. Dustbowl USA, the Great Depression, a game between the goddesses of life and death, witches, daemons, and a gun-slinging girl gang with metal horses. All of it into a pot, simmered on the stove for twenty minutes until this book sat at the bottom. And somehow it works. It's a fantastical and weird mix of story elements that all piece together to form a highly unique and entertaining story. On top of the writing being excellent, there are some incredible world building details. I mean, obviously, but let me go into a few of my favourites. Dust sickness is a blight that infects people in the walled town of Elysium from the regularly occurring dust storms that hammer this isolated world. It gets in their lungs and makes them cough up mud. Another detail I liked is the monsters in the desert. They aren't featured much—to my eternal disappointment—but there is one that pulls you down through your own shadow like quicksand. And yet for all that I liked, there wasn't enough. I was left feeling a little cheated on a few things. The horses, for instance. They're a huge part of why I was drawn to this book. Metal, fiery horses on the cover; surely they're a focal point. Instead I found they weren't explained well and didn't become important until way too late. I was surprised by how well diversity was handled in this book. I've often seen books set in this time period maintain the racist and sexist tones of life at the time. Coloured-only spaces and the woman is only good in the kitchen and all that. This book said I see you, and I know you're wrong. In Elysium, the leader strives to create a town of equality. It is led by a woman, and racism and sexism are not present. Everyone is treated the same, given the circumstances, and it was such a treat. And, of course, who can say no to a gang of girls causing trouble out in the big, bad desert? If you're coming into this expecting a spectacular sapphic read, I'd temper those expectations right this second. To call it wholly queer is a stretch. For one, there is very little romance that takes place. The most prominent love story is between one main and secondary character, and it's a peculiar straight one. Yes, there are a couple of characters who we know to be lesbian, but nothing comes of it. Even when the other main character begins to develop feelings toward a woman, it is never named or acknowledged, really. As a debut and a standalone, this was a ridiculously unique and entertaining read that I would highly recommend if you're on the lookout for something new and different. 3.5/5 stars

  25. 5 out of 5

    gwendalyn _books_

    This book was received from the Author, and Publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. ELYSIUM GIRLS by @katepentecost #ElysiumGirls #witchyreads This stunning western style dystopian, is one uniquely compelling Dust Bowl-inspired fantasy. A Wild Wild West of a fantasy that plunges the reader into 1935, Oklahoma where a high stake ten year game between Sister Goddesses one of Life and the other of Death… a book of survival or This book was received from the Author, and Publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. ELYSIUM GIRLS by @katepentecost #ElysiumGirls #witchyreads This stunning western style dystopian, is one uniquely compelling Dust Bowl-inspired fantasy. A Wild Wild West of a fantasy that plunges the reader into 1935, Oklahoma where a high stake ten year game between Sister Goddesses one of Life and the other of Death… a book of survival or annihilation, witchy girls, and goddesses. On the pivotal day April 14th, 1935 A powerful devastating dust storm changes the Oklahoma Panhandle. Leaving in it’s wake an unfathomable destruction to the landscape and its survivors. The sister Goddesses of Life and Death set a challenge to those remaining to establish order, building a city and tithing of third of their harvests crops for 10 years. The time is drawing near and the fate of the people are at hand and will be so determined by the Goddess Themselves Elysium, a walled city of of an alternative Oklahoma, is under the leadership of a powerful witch, Mother Morvena. Strategically set apart from the world, ELYSIUM and it’s survivors struggle under desperate post apocalypses circumstances. Just staying alive is feat in its self, when death by the dust-sickness, that causes you to cough up mud is spreading everywhere. and no one knows how to stop it. The struggles are real in treacherous society where food is rationed, along with the decline of religious beliefs, to dealing with racism. Ultimately the city must go head to head in a battle against the supernatural soldiers sent by Life and Death. Sal Wilkerson won’t be a pawn in this game, our exceptional heroine, is an outcast in Elysium. Ever since she was a child she had false visions of rain. She is chosen by witch, Mother Morvena, to be her successor. But when a series of events happens, Sal is faced with exile, when she falls from grace. Accompanied with Asa, a demon turned human. Outcasted in a desolate desert, the two saddle up to a misfit girl gang witches. Sal comes into her own, when she is excepted within the exiled girl gang and their witchy leader Olivia Rosales. They join forces together and create a cavalry of magic powered scrap metal horses to fight to save Elysium. Wow, this was an exceptional creative novel, with its intriguing characters,and vibrant world building. The Magic System was enjoyable and easy to comprehend, the characters were well fleshed out. This a stunning steampunk badass book about girl power and friendship. I was completely engaged and immersed into this neck-breaking paced Ya Fantasy! #yalit #yafantasy #bookishalgorithm #bookreview #bookrecommendations #elysiumgirls #disneyhyperion #katepentecost

  26. 5 out of 5

    Paige Green

    Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher and Fantastic Flying Book Club. Thanks! All opinions are my own. Book: Elysium Girls Author: Kate Pentecost Book Series: Standalone? Rating: 3/5 Diversity: LGBT f/f moments Publication Date: April 14, 2020 Genre: YA Fantasy Recommended Age: 16+ (violence, slight gore, romance, magic, and dust) Publisher: Disney Hyperion Pages: 400 Amazon Link Synopsis: In this sweeping Dust Bowl-inspired fantasy, a ten-year game between Life and Death pits the walled Okla Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher and Fantastic Flying Book Club. Thanks! All opinions are my own. Book: Elysium Girls Author: Kate Pentecost Book Series: Standalone? Rating: 3/5 Diversity: LGBT f/f moments Publication Date: April 14, 2020 Genre: YA Fantasy Recommended Age: 16+ (violence, slight gore, romance, magic, and dust) Publisher: Disney Hyperion Pages: 400 Amazon Link Synopsis: In this sweeping Dust Bowl-inspired fantasy, a ten-year game between Life and Death pits the walled Oklahoma city of Elysium-including a girl gang of witches and a demon who longs for humanity-against the supernatural in order to judge mankind. When Sal is named Successor to Mother Morevna, a powerful witch and leader of Elysium, she jumps at the chance to prove herself to the town. Ever since she was a kid, Sal has been plagued by false visions of rain, and though people think she's a liar, she knows she's a leader. Even the arrival of enigmatic outsider Asa-a human-obsessed demon in disguise-doesn't shake her confidence in her ability. Until a terrible mistake results in both Sal and Asa's exile into the Desert of Dust and Steel. Face-to-face with a brutal, unforgiving landscape, Sal and Asa join a gang of girls headed by another Elysium exile-and young witch herself-Olivia Rosales. In order to atone for their mistake, they create a cavalry of magic powered, scrap metal horses to save Elysium from the coming apocalypse. But Sal, Asa, and Olivia must do more than simply tip the scales in Elysium's favor-only by reinventing the rules can they beat the Life and Death at their own game. Review: For the most part this book was ok. The characters were complex and well developed. The author did great to include diversity in her novel and make the content LGBT friendly. And the book had a good pacing. The story was also intriguing and there was a great voice that the author had when speaking through the main character. However, I had a lot of issues with the novel. The plot was confusing and there was very little world building. The magic system (yes there’s magic, it didn’t seem like there would be when I picked this book up) wasn’t explained fully and it didn’t really fit in with the world that I understood it to be. The history and background information was muddied and unexplained, which made it really hard to understand where the characters were coming from and how they were coming to the conclusions that they did. The romance also felt forced to me, like it just felt really off. There was also POV switching, which I don’t mind, but the tenses did change and that also made for a confusing read on my end. Verdict: Overall, I think the book is good and interesting, but I think it definitely needed another round of edits. However, I did have an ARC so it should have went through another round or so before final printing. Hopefully, the issues have been ironed out in it.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alexx

    Elysium Girls is an incredibly diverse and original YA Fantasy novel that will wow you as you flip the page! When I first saw and heard of Elysium Girls I was intrigued, but I’m going to be honest and say I didn’t know what to make of it. But as I read, I realized just how original and unique this story is. It’s not your usual YA Fantasy novel with magic in a fictional magical land. Instead, it’s a story in a Southern setting with a diverse cast and a high stakes plot. The first 40% dragged on for Elysium Girls is an incredibly diverse and original YA Fantasy novel that will wow you as you flip the page! When I first saw and heard of Elysium Girls I was intrigued, but I’m going to be honest and say I didn’t know what to make of it. But as I read, I realized just how original and unique this story is. It’s not your usual YA Fantasy novel with magic in a fictional magical land. Instead, it’s a story in a Southern setting with a diverse cast and a high stakes plot. The first 40% dragged on for me. It definitely took a while to build up. But once I got past that, it just got more interesting! I met the girl gang of witches (which was incredibly diverse and I have to give kudos to the author for that, (there are Mexican characters, Black characters, and Native American characters!)), and the plot thickened. The characters are great, but I wanted more characterization. Specifically, I wanted to explore these different characters more and see more of their relationship with the other characters. For example, Sal and Asa has a connection since they were part of a big mistake and got exiled from Elysium together. They have a bond of their own, but I never got to see that flourish. Sal and Olivia also has quite a dynamic as sister witches/co-leaders, but I never fully saw that. And of course, Sal and Lucy. I shipped them since the beginning, even though they only had a few scenes together. I just wanted more of them! On the other hand, I loved the plot twists! They were not anything major or out of the blue, instead they were just right and were cleverly written into the story. The author’s use of foreshadowing was also great and it made the story more exciting as I unraveled all the little details. The epic final battle was also a great way to end the story! Although, I do wish that there was some sort of epilogue after that. Overall, Elysium Girls was a great read and I am pleasantly surprised! Go ahead and pick up this book! (This review was first published as part of the Elysium Girls Blog Tour.)

  28. 5 out of 5

    USOM

    (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) Elysium Girls is a story of witchcraft, cunning, and friendship. Mixing a dust bowl setting meets Wild West and witches, Elysium Girls revolves around Sal an the found family she creates. Caught in the middle of a game between life and death, part of what I adored about Elysium Girls was its celebration of friendship. I've always felt that at the end of the world, we would either fra (Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) Elysium Girls is a story of witchcraft, cunning, and friendship. Mixing a dust bowl setting meets Wild West and witches, Elysium Girls revolves around Sal an the found family she creates. Caught in the middle of a game between life and death, part of what I adored about Elysium Girls was its celebration of friendship. I've always felt that at the end of the world, we would either fracture or band together. And Elysium Girls proves that if you can find your family, the place where you belong, you can make real change. The girls were the highlight of Elysium Girls. Not only were some of them queer, and some POC characters too, but their friendship is supportive. It gave me all the good vibes feelings with a sense of high stakes. The kind of book that pulls you out of a slump. If you're also a fan of characters who aren't quite human, but are more human like than some humans - this book is for you! Elysium Girls is able to balance a mysterious plot full of betrayal and end-of-the-world vibes, with moments of happiness and bonding. Glimmers of light in the impending dust storm. full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...

  29. 4 out of 5

    tina

    this is the night circus but for people who like buff girls with weapons, daemons disguised as very soft boys, and books that have a plot

  30. 4 out of 5

    megs

    *2.5 stars

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