“I quieted my trembling hands, swallowed to wet my dry throat, and cursed myself for becoming so ridiculously agitated at the sight of him. Perhaps Dr...more“I quieted my trembling hands, swallowed to wet my dry throat, and cursed myself for becoming so ridiculously agitated at the sight of him. Perhaps Dr. Bennett would be better for this task.“ How right you are, you insufferable wench. For Dr. Bennett would not inform us on each and every page how aroused he became while watching the recently infected "specimen", homeless Whitechapel grave robber Nathaniel Strider, who would turn into a people-eating, brainless werewolf within a month and who would have to be shot down, if a cure was not discovered before the expected transformation. He would not make unseemly squeaky noises from his hidey hole, because he was jealous of all the kissing and shoulder-freeing and into-lap-pulling and groping, which the young rakish lad he was sent to lure into the scientific lab, was applying to giggling, rose-cheeked girls and buxom matrons in dark alleys, ale houses, doorways and behhind market stalls. And certainly he would not have come to the conclusion that the reason for Nathaniel being such a magnet to the „bevy of enthusiastic girls he had waiting for him around every corner“ is not to be found in his lazy smile, his brown eyes, his shiny, black hair or his shirt-stainingly broad torso, but in his kindness towards those even less fortunate than him: Our heroine, Camille, is overcome by an apple-sized lump in her throat when she witnesses her werewolf to be press a freshly stolen apple into the gnarly hands of a misable, old beggar, who promptly „lifted her bloodshot eyes in a silent thank you“.
Seriously. The first 25%, which is all I managed to consume of this low-priced, self-published paranormal histo-romance for young adults, do not offer much more than the heroine, whose father turned werewolf, too, and had to be taken down by his best friend – now Camille’s guardian –, the renowned scientist Dr. John Bennett, „who had read every science book written and even wrote a few himself“ (definitely not possible even 150 years ago), shadowing her prey in a boy’s disguise while drooling all over herself and breaking the „rule“ of not forming an attachment to one of the „specimen“.
What annoyed me on the side was that the author is so sloppy in her choice of vocabulary. For instance, it is never said when Camille is supposed to take place, but the descriptions of every day life in the novel’s version of London strongly suggest some time during the rather long Victorian era. And the combination of gruesome deaths with the Whitechapel setting wave the Jack-the-Ripper-flag at the reader with ferocity. But it is clear that the story takes place before Britain entered the EU and that means usering „meters“ to describe a distance is simply a big no-no.
As you surely already can guess I do not recommend picking up Camille, but I can point out alternatives if you are still reluctant to let go of the idea to read it: - If you do enjoy virgin turn-of-the-century girls spying on a how a womanizer ravishes a couple of ladies from behind a curtain or through a keyhole or whatever barely keeping herself from tuning into their harmonized moans, I recommend trying the Francesca Cahill series by B.D. Joyce. Although slightly silly at times, too, High Society sleutheress Francesca at least has a motive for peeping excessively. - If it is the gory graveyard feel of Victorian monster hunter stories you are after, you might be better off with chosing The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey. The scientist-orphan-team of that one knows how to turn your stomach inside out without having someone writhe in their panties. - And if you are into Jack the Ripper retellings with a supernatural twist, I believe that Maureen Johnson’s The Name of the Star is quite popular among the paranormal YA crowd.
If you still are convinced you must experience Camille yourself, I cannot keep you from doing it and I do not feel entitled to use brute force to try, for I have only read a quarter of the book after all and miraclous turns around the 50% mark are not unheard of. (less)
3.5 stars. I do not really know exactly why I enjoy stories that picture girls masquerading as men so much – I do not mean stories that focus on girls...more3.5 stars. I do not really know exactly why I enjoy stories that picture girls masquerading as men so much – I do not mean stories that focus on girls feeling wrong in their own female skins, but plots that show girls cross-dressing because their gender would be an unacceptable obstactle to doing what they want or what they have to do (like spy work, having a career or evading a certain unwelcome fate). For instance, I loved Alle halten mich für einen Jungen, in which 12-years-old Simone just doesn’t dare to contradict the teacher introcuding her to her new classmates, Star-Crossed, in which the heroine applies for a job as a ship’s surgeon after her master dies and leaves her jobless, Freedom Beyond the Sea, which shows a jewish girl fleeing the Spanish Inquisition as a hand on Christopher Columbus’ ship, the historical romance The Spy and the manga series W Juliet, Volume 1... plus I have to admit I almost became addicted to the Korean drama The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince when I watched it two years ago: I felt compelled to watch episode after episode although night had already set in and I had plans for the day after.
In Babe in Boyland a lot of the possible, awkward situations that might occur when a girl pretends to be a boy in an boys-only-boarding-school were covered and I liked the conveyed message that we all have different sides to us that we broadcast in the company of different people and that the conviction of really knowing someone is mostly founded by what our own interaction with the person in question triggers. Plus, The heroine and her two best friends were rather cute and the love interest was hot and nice.
Still, Babe in Boyland was not perfect as a girl-in-boys’-clothes-book. It reminded me a lot of the Japanese drama version of the popular manga series Hana-Kimi, Volume 1, which I enjoyed considerably more inspite of all the unnecessary twists and turns and silly side-plots a manga-based TV-series is inherently prone to. In both stories the supposed new boy falls for her roommate. And in both plots this leads to interesting dilemmas. But the scenes in the drama were more vivid, more romantic, more awkward. They pushed the dangerous whoa-she-almost-blew-the-cover angst at me with a firmer shove and made me wonder if the „real“ boy, who tended to react grumpy or moody, but sometimes a little tender, was having difficulties at keeping himself from being attracted to someone he thought to be a guy.
But a non-perfect book is by no means a book that is not good or not recommendable. So if you like light and short chicklitty romances that involve a little cross-dressing, cute boys, friendship, Shakespearean drama and a teenaged heroine, who shows some character development, I show you you both my thumbs turned upwards. Babe in Boyland provided my with some much-needed fun hours and a wonderful respite from wading through an endless historical fantasy that entirely revolves around sex and dark obsessions. (less)