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The Pale Assassin

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Set during the French Revolution, this novel about a teen aristocrat who must question the justice of her own wealth while facing the cataclysmic divisions of her society will captivate readers as secrets come out, sympathies shift, and every choice can change or end a life.


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Set during the French Revolution, this novel about a teen aristocrat who must question the justice of her own wealth while facing the cataclysmic divisions of her society will captivate readers as secrets come out, sympathies shift, and every choice can change or end a life.

30 review for The Pale Assassin

  1. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    The title and description of the book made me expect something quite different, but on the surface this one still sounds like a winner. A young girl, forced into political awareness by a great societal change, must escape both the turmoil of her time and the more personal threat of an unwanted marriage. Sounds pretty interesting, right? Unfortunately, I didn't care for pretty much every other aspect of the book. Setting a story during an infamous event like the French Revolution is always risky, The title and description of the book made me expect something quite different, but on the surface this one still sounds like a winner. A young girl, forced into political awareness by a great societal change, must escape both the turmoil of her time and the more personal threat of an unwanted marriage. Sounds pretty interesting, right? Unfortunately, I didn't care for pretty much every other aspect of the book. Setting a story during an infamous event like the French Revolution is always risky, because the characters and plot must be strong enough to stand out over their backdrop. The Pale Assassin fails that test. Eugenie is a bland protagonist who floats through the plot and does very little of interest until the final pages. The story is often advanced by either things she overhears or the things those around her choose to do with her. The other characters may be more active, but they're equally flat. The person who provoked the biggest reaction in me was one of the obvious villains - and it's not the vengeful revolutionary, whose motivation for a decade long "punish the children of my enemy" vendetta is more sad or silly than sinister. The author seems much more interested in the setting than character or story. Several scenes feel awkward or highly coincidental so that a real historical figure or event can be incorporated, and I can't help but feel that those pages would have been better spent filling out the sparse backgrounds of the characters. The writing has a stiff style that may be partly due to this focus. Through the entire story, people do obviously stupid things, and the plot relies entirely on these terrible, unsupported decisions. It would be bad enough if they were constantly wrong, but they're also inconsistent. One encounter near the end of the book was handled in a ridiculous way, seemingly to leave something foolish for Eugenie to do in the inevitable sequel. The romance plot was predictable and barely built up to at all. Some of my issues with the book could have been forgiven if I'd been able to care much about Eugenie, but she spent too long as the empty-headed aristocrat that everyone took her for.

  2. 4 out of 5

    K.

    Okay, so I suspect a reasonable chunk of my disappointment in this one comes from the series title. Based on Pimpernelles and the fact that the main character's brother is named Armand? I was totally expecting this to be a retelling of the Scarlet Pimpernel, for which I am EXTREME TRASH. Instead, this is a book about an aristocratic girl growing up against the background of the French Revolution with a little bit of OMG WILL THEY ESCAPE PARIS?? action thrown in at the end. Literally the most exc Okay, so I suspect a reasonable chunk of my disappointment in this one comes from the series title. Based on Pimpernelles and the fact that the main character's brother is named Armand? I was totally expecting this to be a retelling of the Scarlet Pimpernel, for which I am EXTREME TRASH. Instead, this is a book about an aristocratic girl growing up against the background of the French Revolution with a little bit of OMG WILL THEY ESCAPE PARIS?? action thrown in at the end. Literally the most exciting moment in the book was when the page said "Lafayette himself is coming!" and it took all my self control not to yell "I'M TAKIN' THIS HORSE BY THE REINS MAKIN' REDCOATS REDDER WITH BLOODSTAINS!" in the middle of a year 10 silent reading class. So yeah. Not what I expected. I guess it's a decent introduction to the French Revolution for teens? But it's also not particularly exciting for, like, 60-70% of the book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mara

    The first thing that I must assure Readers is that Eugenie is not nearly as annoying as the synopsis makes her out to be. Eugenie certainly isn't my favorite heroine. I would not call her resourceful, practical, or even especially clever. But she really doesn't complain often, she tries to have original and successful ideas, she grows to understand that the political upheavel in France is important and that she cannot ignore it, and she is not scornful of the lower class. She's just young and ha The first thing that I must assure Readers is that Eugenie is not nearly as annoying as the synopsis makes her out to be. Eugenie certainly isn't my favorite heroine. I would not call her resourceful, practical, or even especially clever. But she really doesn't complain often, she tries to have original and successful ideas, she grows to understand that the political upheavel in France is important and that she cannot ignore it, and she is not scornful of the lower class. She's just young and hasn't had to work for anything. She still possesses a great innocence, which is probably realistic for a fourteen-year-old aristocratic girl. My main complaint is the story. It takes what seems an unnecessary length of time to get to the storyline concerning Le Fantome, who felt like a minor background character to me. I didn't think him terribly threatening or mysterious; just kind of . . . there. Le Scalpel, his "right-hand man" seems more imposing and someone to avoid than Le Fantome, and I have to say that I liked Le Scalpel and who he ends up being. I know that The Pale Assassin will have a sequel, and if it doesn't, I will be very much surprised and my opinion of said story will go down, because that is a very sudden place to end it. Despite the fact that it's going to have a sequel, The Pale Assassin doesn't didn't pull me in. The entire time it felt lethargic, probably because Le Fantome had very little to do with the story. The best way I can describe it is it felt like a very long prologue. I hope that the sequel will pick things up. Maybe it will better explain why Patricia Elliott wrote the first book like she did. Of writing style, I have nothing critical to say, other than the Author didn't seem to quite understand when the work "most" should be interjected and when it should be left out. Just because "most" is put into a sentence doesn't mean it sounds old-fashioned. But other than that, The Pale Assassin was well-written, and I was especially fond of the character Julien. I am looking forward to seeing what happens next to Eugenie.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sarai

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The book ended with a lot of loose ends, so I assume there is going to be a second book coming. One of my main gripes is that it seemed like all through the book the main character, Eugenie, and her brother's friend, Julien, were at odds and then all the sudden at the end Julien was in love with Eugenie and she was in love with him where in the chapter before she was mad at him and was not speaking to him. I felt like I'd missed a chapter somewhere when he all the sudden started kissing her fing The book ended with a lot of loose ends, so I assume there is going to be a second book coming. One of my main gripes is that it seemed like all through the book the main character, Eugenie, and her brother's friend, Julien, were at odds and then all the sudden at the end Julien was in love with Eugenie and she was in love with him where in the chapter before she was mad at him and was not speaking to him. I felt like I'd missed a chapter somewhere when he all the sudden started kissing her fingers - eh? I figured they were going to end up together, but you never got to see the change in her feelings. It was always she hated him, she despised him, she would never forgive him, blah blah blah, and then she was in love. She had been mooning over Guy and then when Julien told her Guy had been the one who attacked her, she didn't believe him. So what happened there? Also, when did she get smart? She was bored and wanted clothes and wanted to dance and go to balls and then all the sudden she was making disguise decisions and knew how to read maps and was able to flirt her way out of danger. It was less like character growth and more like out-of-character lucky guesses. 2/3 of the way through the book she was still being a ding dong and then all the sudden she changed. I guess I just felt that the author did not do a good job of showing the transformation and growth.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kate McMurry

    A beautiful young aristocrat's high adventure during the French Revolution Eugenie de Boncoeur is the beautiful daughter of a wealthy marquis. In spite of being an orphan, she and her brother have been well provided for and she's lived a life filled with glittering parties and gorgeous, outrageously expensive clothing. Until the moment the French Revolution breaks out. In addition to her whole way of life being destroyed, she is horrified to discover that her guardian has promised her in marriag A beautiful young aristocrat's high adventure during the French Revolution Eugenie de Boncoeur is the beautiful daughter of a wealthy marquis. In spite of being an orphan, she and her brother have been well provided for and she's lived a life filled with glittering parties and gorgeous, outrageously expensive clothing. Until the moment the French Revolution breaks out. In addition to her whole way of life being destroyed, she is horrified to discover that her guardian has promised her in marriage when she turns 16 to Le Fantome, the Pale Assassin. This shadowy, evil man has had a grudge against her father for many years, because the marquis humiliated him as punishment for cheating at cards. This is an action-adventure historical novel with a heroine in the vein of Scarlett O'Hara, though with a less compelling goal. Unlike Scarlett, she is not seeking to save her home at any cost, rather to escape her awful would-be bridegroom and the violence against aristocrats in her war-torn country. The heroine encounters spies, revolutionaries and double-crossing suitors in her frantic journey across France. Though the heroine starts out understandably spoiled from her life of privilege, she grows across the course of the book. For teens who have never read a historical novel, or who have read and enjoyed them, this book is a satisfying journey through a deadly period of history.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Erika C

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The (somewhat misleading, anglophone-biased) view of history that appears in The Pale Assassin probably won’t be surprising to long-time French Revolution junkies. We’ve heard it all before: 1789 began with the promise of just enough freedom from monarchy, but then the mobs went mysteriously crazy and before you know it the the king’s head got chopped off. Robespierre Took Over both the CSP and France and perpetuated his Reign of Terror up until Thermidor, at which point, thank god, we all start The (somewhat misleading, anglophone-biased) view of history that appears in The Pale Assassin probably won’t be surprising to long-time French Revolution junkies. We’ve heard it all before: 1789 began with the promise of just enough freedom from monarchy, but then the mobs went mysteriously crazy and before you know it the the king’s head got chopped off. Robespierre Took Over both the CSP and France and perpetuated his Reign of Terror up until Thermidor, at which point, thank god, we all started calling one another “madame” and “monsieur” again and could try out a bunch of newer (…wait) better (WAIT!!!) governments. Salinity of my comments aside, I’ll concede that Elliott’s done her research. The details indicate she’s read primary and secondary sources. It’s just that it’s so much of one specific KIND of research. I can tell she’s used Lucy Moore’s Liberty to write her book, based on her descriptions of Germaine de Stael and Condorcet, and I would not be shocked if Simon Schama’s Citizens were on her reading list either. Especially as the novel draws closer to the execution of Louis Capet, and the weeks after it, Elliott does little to question the conventional narrative we’re fed in history class. Was Robespierre really just too paranoid to comprehend? Of course he was. Was the mob smelly and leering and in it for their own gain? Of course they were. Beyond the issues with the history–which I might have endured, maybe–there are the problems with the protagonist. Eugénie de Boncouer is a half-French, half-English noble girl in her late teens whose fortunes fall as a result of the revolution, and who has to escape the country, both because the revolution’s gotten radical, and because some weird old dude stalker who ends up part of Robespierre’s secret police (??? He isn’t even ON the CSP until much after this novel ends, and yet they act like he is there and a dictator from the beginning) is after her. It’s a solid set-up for conflict, I suppose, and for historical fiction observations on the past from a POV teens might relate to and find exciting. The thing about Eugénie, though, is that I personally find her unlikable simply because everything about her seems calculated to be so likable. Elliott seems to have created Eugenie with the Goldilocks principle in mind. She’s a noble girl with a charmed life and pretty dresses, but her family backstory means she’s got a little bit of tragedy going on. She has just enough training with guns and riding to be unique compared to other girls of her station. She has servants, but is always kind to them, and we can tell they’re good people because of their loyalty to her. She’s oblivious but not too oblivious–she learns and accepts quickly. She would rather have adventures than get married, which I suppose we’re supposed to find spirited, but she becomes marketably heterosexual when the Appropriate Cute Guys show up. (But she is never TOO forward with them, and only likes one at a time–gosh we don’t want her to be immodest or anything!) This is not to say that Eugénie would have been a better character if everything about her would have been taken to extremes–she wouldn’t have. But any one of these traits could have been teased out a bit more in such a way that it would have better driven the narrative. And that’s one of the big problems: in the first two thirds of the book, Eugénie doesn’t do much to drive the narrative. It’s the revolution and then her brother and his friends who do so. Eugénie starts using her skills to escape towards the end, and even though they’ve been mentioned, at that point her skills don’t feel adequately built up to. The problems I find with Eugénie are the sort a writing teacher might comment on, and while they exist in male protagonists, they’re even more frustrating and common in female protagonists. We need girls in books to be proactive in their own way (even if it has the surface appearance of passivity, like with Sansa Stark) rather than reactive. We need girls in books to be brutal and want things. I don’t think those ideas are pushed far enough in The Pale Assassin, and I think this is done out of an attempt to make Eugénie sympathetic. Ultimately this leads me to a point I want to make about a sort of… let’s call it an Intersectionality Of Reactivity that emerges re: Eugénie as a female protagonist and the way we portray more “moderate” (bourgeois? constitutional monarchist? whatever) politics of the Revolution. While trying to understand her former governess’s going over to the radical, republican side of politics (though Elliott neglects to mention all the divisions even there) Eugénie declares, “There is no wrong side, Hortense–I have learned that.” In other words, Eugénie attempts to position herself as apolitical and therefore humanitarian. The issue here is that Eugenie’s privilege is what allows her to do this. Even when she is desperately escaping to England, pursued by our story’s villain and Republican partisans, she can only have done so in the first place with that boost from the world she’s raised in. Someone ought to have reminded Eugénie, when she remembers a childhood glass of lemonade kindly presented to her by Marie-Antoinette, that the lemonade was likely sweetened with sugar harvested by slaves in Saint-Domingue. It’s dangerous to equate recusing oneself from political and social strife with humanitarianism, especially when you come from the class of people who can afford to recuse oneself. And while Elliott gives lip service to the lower classes throughout the book–Eugénie lives with a milliner whose family is starving, which shakes her out of her obliviousness somewhat, and she becomes sympathetic to what caused her governess’s political metamorphosis–we’re never invited to question the “clarity” Eugénie might have achieved about human nature, and the kind of privilege that “clarity” is built on. Overall, this strikes me as an irresponsible narrative, one that dissuades young readers from pushing for social change just at the point when they begin to become uncomfortable with it. Putting an “apolitical but humanitarian” slant on a female protagonist is the icing on the cake, especially considering that we’re writing about a time when the male majorities in most political camps were trying to dissuade women from being actively political, and suggesting that they focus on their “nurturing” sides instead. As if the two ideas are somehow mutually exclusive. To sum this all up: The Pale Assassin is nothing new. But works about the French Revolution really ought to be by now.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    1.5 stars I expected more from a series entitled "Pimpernelles." Pimpernelles...the French Revolution...this book is going to have something to do with the Scarlet Pimpernel, right? Or this Eugenie girl is going to become a female Scarlet Pimpernel? Or....? Nope. The book had lots of potential but doesn't live up to it. Eugenie is an extremely boring character. I learned from the description that she would be spoiled and experience growth as she faces the French Revolution. Which might have been 1.5 stars I expected more from a series entitled "Pimpernelles." Pimpernelles...the French Revolution...this book is going to have something to do with the Scarlet Pimpernel, right? Or this Eugenie girl is going to become a female Scarlet Pimpernel? Or....? Nope. The book had lots of potential but doesn't live up to it. Eugenie is an extremely boring character. I learned from the description that she would be spoiled and experience growth as she faces the French Revolution. Which might have been interesting...but it takes till almost the last chapter for her to show any skills or growth. The character change is too slow and too late to be interesting. The other characters are vague and uninteresting. The villains are unbelievable. The French Revolution is covered in detail...and more detail. It gets slow and boring. The story is conveyed through a very passive, telling style. I kept waiting for it to stop "catching me up" and actually get to the action. Unfortunately, this whole book is a set up for more action that never comes. Finally, I was distracted by the strong "women are strong! Give women the vote!" coming from every female character. (The men are all chauvinistic and ignorant) Eugenie keeps saying she doesn't want to marry...and then falls for every handsome man who smiles in her direction. I strongly dislike books that spout Strong (and in this case, cliche) Female messages and then have pathetic, weak heroines. Overall, not worth it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    ♥ Ashleigh ♥ contrary to popular belief i'm not actually mad!

    Original Review 15.04.2012 DNF what can i say?? i just cant stand the way females talk in these kinds of books - it drives me Nuts! plus im not a big fan of the whole damsels in distress thing. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Latest Review 02.01.2016 1 Star What a horrid book. I can't believe i read this after i had already DNF it. To be fair i had completely forgotten i tried to read it before, it has been quite a few years. The characters were ridiculous and completely Original Review 15.04.2012 DNF what can i say?? i just cant stand the way females talk in these kinds of books - it drives me Nuts! plus im not a big fan of the whole damsels in distress thing. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Latest Review 02.01.2016 1 Star What a horrid book. I can't believe i read this after i had already DNF it. To be fair i had completely forgotten i tried to read it before, it has been quite a few years. The characters were ridiculous and completely unlikable, and ruined a potentially good adventure book about the Revolution in France. They had no redeeming qualities, and made me cringe and roll my eyes throughout the book, I'm 24, rolling my eyes should be something I'm passed but they were just so shallow and unbelievable in their behavior it was impossible to resist. France would have been completely wiped out if this was how everyone thought and behaved, what a bunch of imbeciles.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I wanted to enjoy this book, I really did! Historical fiction, strong female characters, coming of age... However, I thought it fell short. Elliot puts too much emphasis on the historical aspects of the French Revolution, makes Eugene an annoying little girl, and romantic aspect of the story is completely predictable. The first chapter, "The Beginning" is wonderful. After that, I kept picking it up and tried to read more, trying to be interested...I was just bored. It didn't have enough action no I wanted to enjoy this book, I really did! Historical fiction, strong female characters, coming of age... However, I thought it fell short. Elliot puts too much emphasis on the historical aspects of the French Revolution, makes Eugene an annoying little girl, and romantic aspect of the story is completely predictable. The first chapter, "The Beginning" is wonderful. After that, I kept picking it up and tried to read more, trying to be interested...I was just bored. It didn't have enough action nor enough character development to hold my attention. Even with all of the emphasis on the French Revolution to explain motive, the characters didn't feel real to me. She set herself up for a sequel. I won't read it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sophie Carter

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I really did not expect to love this book as much as I did. My motto is, "Never judge a book by its cover, always go by the inside flap." This book was an exception. The inside cover made Eugenie sound really lame and the book seem one dimensional. But honestly, it was neither of those things at all! This book takes place in France during the French Revolution. I stayed up late to finish so I'm not going to go too in depth into the plot, but basically Eugenie, the main character, is a rich girl. I really did not expect to love this book as much as I did. My motto is, "Never judge a book by its cover, always go by the inside flap." This book was an exception. The inside cover made Eugenie sound really lame and the book seem one dimensional. But honestly, it was neither of those things at all! This book takes place in France during the French Revolution. I stayed up late to finish so I'm not going to go too in depth into the plot, but basically Eugenie, the main character, is a rich girl. But during the French Revolution, there is a genocide of sorts towards the aristocrats, so Eugenie goes into hiding in a poorer part of town. She thinks she's in love with Guy Deschamps, and her older brother and his 'dull' friend Julien are planning to rescue the king. Eugenie is also betrothed (without her knowledge) to a creepy serial killer who is called Le Fantome, or The Ghost, because he's really pale. Eugenie's brother's plan fails and the king is executed before they are about to flee from the revolution to England. But Eugenie's brother knows that his friend Julien will be detained for questioning, so he stays behind and sends Julien to England with her instead. They have some trouble escaping National Guard and Le Fantome, but in the end, they end up on their way to England safely and Julien and Eugenie get married (well it's implied. That's what I like to think). The only reason I couldn't give this five stars was just because of silly technical things that made the book a bit confusing. There were several pronoun use issues, where it was unclear which 'she' the author was talking about. I also noticed a few missing quotation marks and errors such as that. I was a shipper of Eugenie and Julien since the time when Julien was first introduced so I was very happy with that! This book was very interesting, and definitely one of the best historical fiction books I've read in a while!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Z

    This sounds like a book I'd like. However, I haven't found any historical fiction that I've actually enjoyed in a few years, which leads me to believe that perhaps I no longer like the genre? I don't know. My basic problems were that the main character didn't do anything until the last bit of the book and that the author seemed too focused on the historical context and getting big names (Robespeirre) thrown in there. There's nothing wrong with that, necessarily, but here it just didn't seem nece This sounds like a book I'd like. However, I haven't found any historical fiction that I've actually enjoyed in a few years, which leads me to believe that perhaps I no longer like the genre? I don't know. My basic problems were that the main character didn't do anything until the last bit of the book and that the author seemed too focused on the historical context and getting big names (Robespeirre) thrown in there. There's nothing wrong with that, necessarily, but here it just didn't seem necessary. I want to read a good historical fiction book with a heroine that's actually a strong character on her own, without coincidences making her strong.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tova

    Well, that was terrible. I don't care about any of the characters (except Belle & Hortense). Well, that was terrible. I don't care about any of the characters (except Belle & Hortense).

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lynette

    Just a short quick read! It was ok. I don’t believe I will be reading the next one? I don’t have a screaming in my head that I need to read it, and the third book in the series appears like barely anyone has read it. It’s not that this is a bad book, but after just within the last year of finishing Les Mis, it seems dull in comparison, which almost seems unfair.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    I did enjoy it, although sometimes I found myself vexed at Eugenie's... innocence. And how blindly trusting she was. I did enjoy it, although sometimes I found myself vexed at Eugenie's... innocence. And how blindly trusting she was.

  15. 5 out of 5

    La Femme Readers

    The Pale Assassin is an interesting historical YA book. The book opened up by introducing our assassin, Le Fantome. He was a gambler and had lost his fortune to Eugenie's father. Le Fantome made it his business to cast revenge on Eugenie's family and cause great distress in her life without her knowing it. The concept sounds pretty good right? However, once the French Revolution started taking place I seemed to have lost sight on the assassin and quickly learned about Eugenie's personality. Euge The Pale Assassin is an interesting historical YA book. The book opened up by introducing our assassin, Le Fantome. He was a gambler and had lost his fortune to Eugenie's father. Le Fantome made it his business to cast revenge on Eugenie's family and cause great distress in her life without her knowing it. The concept sounds pretty good right? However, once the French Revolution started taking place I seemed to have lost sight on the assassin and quickly learned about Eugenie's personality. Eugenie really irked me; she is such a spoiled brat that I rolled my eyes every time she opened up her mouth. I understand she is only 14 but she never listened and always put herself and others in danger. During the times of struggle, the book became a page turner and I was eager to know how Eugenie was going to escape a country that hated aristocrats. I liked the storyline until it got to the end. I know this will be a trilogy but the outcome was so rushed I ended the book with a frown on my face. I doubt I will pick up the second book, Eugenie's character didn't intrigue me as much as I would have liked. Also, their wasn't enough assassin action for my taste, so I'll pass on the sequel. However, if you're a fan of historical fiction, you should pick this book up, you'd enjoy it!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Smily

    When I saw the title (and read the back cover), I was expecting an entirely different sort of story. Maybe some actual assassins, some sneaking around, masquerading as a lady, espionage, etc. The story I got instead was about a girl living during the French Revolution. Her life is in danger because of the social unrest (huge, dangerous mobs and the like) and she has to go from being wealthy and privileged to pretending to be poorer and living someplace more "common." She's not even an assassin ( When I saw the title (and read the back cover), I was expecting an entirely different sort of story. Maybe some actual assassins, some sneaking around, masquerading as a lady, espionage, etc. The story I got instead was about a girl living during the French Revolution. Her life is in danger because of the social unrest (huge, dangerous mobs and the like) and she has to go from being wealthy and privileged to pretending to be poorer and living someplace more "common." She's not even an assassin (which is what the title and back cover makes it sound like). Still, whatever I was expecting, with this type of story line, I should've enjoyed the read. However, unfortunately, this book was just boring. I gave it two stars because I liked the main character and her cleverness, even if she was a little ignorant and sometimes whiny. But other than that, there wasn't much I liked about it. The romances were completely predictable, the writing was slow and absolutely unexciting, and I found that I had to force myself to keep reading. There was a little too much focus on the historical detail and a little too little elaboration on the story and characters. On top of it all, very little was actually believeable.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Janelle

    The Pale Assassin was an enjoyable read. The plot isn't overly complicated, with Eugenie, the main character,trying to grow up and find love in the midst of the French Revolution. Its a simple premise that has been used frequently in the past but it is carried along at a good pace here, with enough characters and plot changes to keep the pages turning. Eugenie, wasn't as annoying as she could have been, so thanks to Patricia Elliot for holding back there. But there was still something lacking in The Pale Assassin was an enjoyable read. The plot isn't overly complicated, with Eugenie, the main character,trying to grow up and find love in the midst of the French Revolution. Its a simple premise that has been used frequently in the past but it is carried along at a good pace here, with enough characters and plot changes to keep the pages turning. Eugenie, wasn't as annoying as she could have been, so thanks to Patricia Elliot for holding back there. But there was still something lacking in her character that made her not fully fleshed. I think the dilemma for the author was to present a character that could be a flouncy little ignorant aristocrat, but also show courage, boldness and strength. The author was fairly successful with this, however several times it was abrubtly revealed Eugenie just happened to have a vital skill that she conveniently learned years ago from her groom. This device seemed too artifical and out of place and therefore weakened Eugenie's character. This story isn't going to blow you away, but its a good read, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to spend a few light hours in the world of the French Revolution.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kristy

    This is one of those books that was decent, but I just wasn't dying to get back home to read it. There was maybe 300 pages, but it felt like it took me forever to read. The story itself was interesting enough, but it was very drawn out. I would have rather it had been more direct and to the point. I wanted a little bit more love and romance between Eugenie and Julian... it felt like that practically hated one another and in an instant they were in love... and then the book ended. What?!?! Most o This is one of those books that was decent, but I just wasn't dying to get back home to read it. There was maybe 300 pages, but it felt like it took me forever to read. The story itself was interesting enough, but it was very drawn out. I would have rather it had been more direct and to the point. I wanted a little bit more love and romance between Eugenie and Julian... it felt like that practically hated one another and in an instant they were in love... and then the book ended. What?!?! Most of the "suprises" were obvious. I love the time period from this book, Marie Antionnette and the Revoltion.. I am so fascinated by it. However if this had been the first book I had read on the subject I don't think it would have left me hungry to find out more. I wouldn't tell you not to read this. I wouldn't strongly suggest that you do. It was just o.k. (I'm having a hard time choosing between 2.5 and 3 stars) Sidenote: I heard this is a trilogy?!?!? Hmmm, i don't know if I want to read the 2nd book or not...........

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    The plot and pacing of this historical novel of the French Revolution were good. It definitely kept me turning pages. However, the characters were odd, and not in a good way. I wanted to push Armand into the Seine for being an idiot. I wanted to shake Eugenie for not getting her act together. And the predictability of her "love" interests isn't worth discussing. The one character that I did like - Hortense - well, you know what happens to the good ones. Anyhow, it wasn't bad at all. It just wasn't The plot and pacing of this historical novel of the French Revolution were good. It definitely kept me turning pages. However, the characters were odd, and not in a good way. I wanted to push Armand into the Seine for being an idiot. I wanted to shake Eugenie for not getting her act together. And the predictability of her "love" interests isn't worth discussing. The one character that I did like - Hortense - well, you know what happens to the good ones. Anyhow, it wasn't bad at all. It just wasn't great. Oh - and I hope the author was being tongue-in-cheek with all of the stuff Eugenie's groom supposedly taught her - because talk about a literary device spinning way out of control . . . apparently the groom taught her to ride, hunt, shoot, dress wounds, and probably how to catch a wolf with her bare hands hands. In short - a fun read, if a bit predictable.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bekah Grace

    ok this is more like a 3.5. This book is intriguing just by looking at the front cover. i picked it up because its time period is in the french revolution, which is dramatic and violent (fun, right??) :) it was a fun read, but kind of difficult. she writes very long, complicated sentences, mixing french in with it. one frustrating thing is that the plot never came to a close. i felt like there were a lot of threads left hanging. it was still interesting, but i kept thinking, "wait! what happened ok this is more like a 3.5. This book is intriguing just by looking at the front cover. i picked it up because its time period is in the french revolution, which is dramatic and violent (fun, right??) :) it was a fun read, but kind of difficult. she writes very long, complicated sentences, mixing french in with it. one frustrating thing is that the plot never came to a close. i felt like there were a lot of threads left hanging. it was still interesting, but i kept thinking, "wait! what happened to him, and him? and what about them??" there were two parts in the book that made me scream aloud. (i've only done this once before.) my sister thought i was nuts :) to moms- there was nothing extremely inappropriate. maybe two questionable parts (but nothing that bad at all.) my advice would be to read at last resort. like if you're really board.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dami

    The Pale Assassin When you first read the title, you're filled with intrigue,hence the reason why I picked it up in the first place. I, being an historical fiction lover, was interested in a story where the main girl had more to her than pretty dresses or courters. I was incredibly disappointed to say the least. The book was written in such a way that I wanted to stick a fork in my eye to get rid of the horror. I decided to give it a chance and struggle through the finish, hoping the pace would pic The Pale Assassin When you first read the title, you're filled with intrigue,hence the reason why I picked it up in the first place. I, being an historical fiction lover, was interested in a story where the main girl had more to her than pretty dresses or courters. I was incredibly disappointed to say the least. The book was written in such a way that I wanted to stick a fork in my eye to get rid of the horror. I decided to give it a chance and struggle through the finish, hoping the pace would pick up. That didn't happen. This book was probably one of the worst I'v ever picked up, do not be fooled by the title.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    The Pale Assassin shows the French Revolution from the perspective of young aristocrat, Eugenie. She's thrown into the violence and terror of the period and forced to hide her true identity as one of the privileged. Meanwhile, her brother remains loyal to the King and becomes part of the underground group that is trying to save the Royal family. Vivid with period detail and suspensful with the second half's story of Eugenie's attempted journey to flee France, The Pale Assassin is a great suggest The Pale Assassin shows the French Revolution from the perspective of young aristocrat, Eugenie. She's thrown into the violence and terror of the period and forced to hide her true identity as one of the privileged. Meanwhile, her brother remains loyal to the King and becomes part of the underground group that is trying to save the Royal family. Vivid with period detail and suspensful with the second half's story of Eugenie's attempted journey to flee France, The Pale Assassin is a great suggestion for teen fans of historical fiction.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Miss Clark

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. It deserves a much higher rating for its historical details and setting. Quite well done, lots of differing characters and a much more well-rounded view of the Revolution than I usually see, but I was bored. Dialogue good. Immerses you in the period very well. But the story and characters were for me not at all gripping. Justin and Eugenie's romance was also unconvincing in the extreme. So, again, pretty good "historical novel," but weak. It deserves a much higher rating for its historical details and setting. Quite well done, lots of differing characters and a much more well-rounded view of the Revolution than I usually see, but I was bored. Dialogue good. Immerses you in the period very well. But the story and characters were for me not at all gripping. Justin and Eugenie's romance was also unconvincing in the extreme. So, again, pretty good "historical novel," but weak.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Daria

    I liked this book well enough to stay up late reading it last night, but had problems with the ending--everything came together a bit too neatly ("My groom taught me to...") and (if there's not a sequel in the works) too abruptly. I would have preferred the narration to be 1st person--maybe then I would've liked Eugenie better? As it was I couldn't decide if she was a whiny, spoiled brat or a really crafty young lady. I liked this book well enough to stay up late reading it last night, but had problems with the ending--everything came together a bit too neatly ("My groom taught me to...") and (if there's not a sequel in the works) too abruptly. I would have preferred the narration to be 1st person--maybe then I would've liked Eugenie better? As it was I couldn't decide if she was a whiny, spoiled brat or a really crafty young lady.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    pretty good, the begining and the pale assasin are little boring, but the main character gets really intersting, and the whole french revolution is fascinating. My favorite parts is the second half were they get pursued. Though it doesn't really wrap up the pale assasin very well, though maybe they'll have a sequel or something that will clear that up :) pretty good, the begining and the pale assasin are little boring, but the main character gets really intersting, and the whole french revolution is fascinating. My favorite parts is the second half were they get pursued. Though it doesn't really wrap up the pale assasin very well, though maybe they'll have a sequel or something that will clear that up :)

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rosemary

    I loved Elliott's Murkmere and am delighted to see a new book by her in print on this side of the Atlantic. This feels like the beginning of a series and my only complaint is the lack of a true resolution -- I would have loved to seen at least one of the villains truly bested. If you're a fan of adventures like the Scarlet Pimpernel, you should check this out. I loved Elliott's Murkmere and am delighted to see a new book by her in print on this side of the Atlantic. This feels like the beginning of a series and my only complaint is the lack of a true resolution -- I would have loved to seen at least one of the villains truly bested. If you're a fan of adventures like the Scarlet Pimpernel, you should check this out.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Takes place during the French Revolution. A perfect companion to Devlin Diaries. Good for young women from 13 on. And adults. I am a bit annoyed by the stubbornness and stupidity of Eugenie, but I know all will come out well in the end. I hope.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    I apsolutly loved this book, the unexpected romance, the interesting historical backdrop. I would reccomend this book to ANYONE!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Fire-bird369

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tina

    This takes place during the French Revolution, it is a story about a trust and conflict between brother,sister, and friends. I would say that it is recommended for grades 6+ because it has history and would grab the attention of those who had a little backstory on the French Revolution more. Also, the book teaches a lot about the French Revolution and the King and Queen during the time. This book is great because it shows a viewpoint from aristocrats in France and their journey rather than a vie This takes place during the French Revolution, it is a story about a trust and conflict between brother,sister, and friends. I would say that it is recommended for grades 6+ because it has history and would grab the attention of those who had a little backstory on the French Revolution more. Also, the book teaches a lot about the French Revolution and the King and Queen during the time. This book is great because it shows a viewpoint from aristocrats in France and their journey rather than a viewpoint of the queen or king. I think the author was trying to show how life during the French Revolution was. It didn't show a "normal" person's life, it showed the adventures and dangers that the characters had to face due to them being aristocrats. I would say the theme was more towards trust. The point of the story is to not quickly judge and pick the right people to trust. In the story, the character, Eugénie, had negative thoughts towards Julien. However, towards the end of the book, Eugénie and Julien must work together in order to survive. I really enjoyed this book because there was a turning point in this book, which made me continue reading.

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