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Girls at the Edge of the World

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Set in a world on the edge of an apocryphal flood, this heart-stoppingly romantic fantasy debut is perfect for fans of Rachel Hartman and Rae Carson.

In a world bound for an epic flood, only a chosen few are guaranteed safe passage into the new world once the waters recede. The Kostrovian royal court will be saved, of course, along with their guards. But the fate of the court's Royal Flyers, a lauded fleet of aerial silk performers, is less certain. Hell-bent on survival, Principal Flyer, Natasha Koskinen, will do anything to save the Flyers, who are the only family she's ever known. Even if "anything" means molding herself into the type of girl who could be courted by Prince Nikolai. But unbeknownst to Natasha, her newest recruit, Ella Neves, is driven less by her desire to survive the floods than her thirst for revenge. And Ella's mission could put everything Natasha has worked for in peril.

As the oceans rise, so too does an undeniable spark between the two flyers. With the end of the world looming, and dark secrets about the Kostrovian court coming to light, Ella and Natasha can either give in to despair . . . or find a new reason to live.

416 pages, Kindle Edition

First published June 8, 2021

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About the author

Laura Brooke Robson

3 books102 followers
I write about snarky girls and climate peril.

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5 stars
320 (34%)
4 stars
353 (38%)
3 stars
195 (21%)
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41 (4%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 195 reviews
Profile Image for Laura Robson.
Author 3 books102 followers
May 15, 2020
HMU for:
* Climate-induced peril
* Aerial silks
* Court intrigue
* Teen girl friendship
* Teen girl ROMANCE
* A healthy mix of bad puns and classic lit references
* My undying belief that you can find the truest magic in nature

Apparently some people think it's silly for authors to rate and review their own books on Goodreads. But, like.

You're trying to tell me
you would spend years writing and editing a book
and give it THREE STARS?

Like, "A strong attempt, but I totally guessed the plot twist at the end."

Profile Image for Lex Kent.
1,682 reviews8,715 followers
June 4, 2021
3.25 Stars. A very good premise, but the book as a whole didn’t all come together for me. This book was a really interesting mix of apocalyptic, dystopian, cli-fi, fantasy, and YA. When you throw in sapphic characters… well let’s just say this was a highly anticipated book for me. Maybe my expectations were a little too high, I’m not sure, but in the end this was just a slightly above average read. I think Robson showed a lot of potential with this debut, but there were clearly some newbie bumps.

The premise was interesting and had this almost Noah’s Ark feel but in a fantasy setting. There were a lot of good ideas here that I really liked, but I did find the book hard to get into. I know a lot of fantasy books start out slow, I’m used to it, but the pace seemed to drag here a lot longer than I expected. It seems like everyone has stuff to do, but no one is in a hurry to do it, and considering the world could be ending so the slow pace didn’t really fit well for me. On the opposite side, the last quarter or so of the book is completely opposite so it was almost like reading everything in fast-forward. I hate to say this but I wondered if the author just wanted to get everything over with so that the story would end.

While I really liked parts of the premise, I’m a character driven read first and foremost. I found both mains to be likeable, but I didn’t feel like I got to really know them. One character is secretive so she doesn’t talk about her past. While we learn some things being in her POV, because everything is such a secret, you don’t really get to learn much about her and you don’t get that close reader/character connection. The other huge problem is that the inner voices, of both mains, are too similar. This book is first person but 2 POV, which I love, but I cannot tell you how many times I had no idea who was speaking. And Robson clearly labels whose POV we are in after each break but they sounded so similar at times that I would still get confused.

One of the reasons I read this book is because it had a WLW romance but unfortunately that was a disappointment. There is hardly any connection between the two main characters. I feel like they are just really at the beginning of the “friends” stage, not the “I’m so in love let’s risk out life for each other” stage. There is a big difference there and I never saw them make that transition. I liked them as a couple, but romantic feelings really seemed to come out of almost nowhere. There is another WLW romance that is told in one flashback (why only one I don’t know) and a few memories. Unfortunately, that didn’t really work either and it was hard to see why one character would do anything possible to honor that past romance.

Even with all my complaints, I still liked the feel of the story and the premise. I liked what the characters did for a living and the bond of friendship they all had together. I must admit I am confused about the ending. I’m not a person who thinks every fantasy books has to be a series, some of my favorites are just one book stories. The problem here is I can’t tell if this book is book one in the series, or is it the end? If it is a series is this the end of these characters as the mains anyway? The ending is one of those open to your interpretations kind of endings. I personally felt like it was the end, but I read other reviews saying they can’t wait until book 2. I honestly don’t know the answer, but if anyone has heard for sure would you please let me know. If there is a sequel I would seriously consider reading it. A lot of the issues I had are easier fixes and Robson will grow the more she writes. I could easily see this as a series that gets better with every book.

A copy was given to me for a review.
Profile Image for Harrow.
313 reviews39 followers
November 27, 2020
This was an okay read. A wonderful concept but the execution of the plot was less than desirable for me. For the longest time I was waiting for the plot to pick up. The slow pace was genuinely the weakest aspect of this story. For instance, if Ella wants to kill Nikolai so bad then why does it takes her a large portion of the book to even come up with a plan. I failed to connect with the main characters. The bond between the flyers was maybe my favourite thing in the book. I wasn't much impress with the romance. I wish they had spend more time together to cultivate a stronger connection, since by the end they are in love and making big sacrifices for each other.
All the action in the book happens in the last 50 pages or so. If I were to only consider that, the rating would be a solid 4.
Overall, it was a fairly quick read that is part of a series but can be read as a standalone.

ARC copy provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
September 23, 2022
Actual Stars 3.75

This was an interesting YA Apocalyptic Fantasy. I wouldn’t call it a favorite but it was a good solid read. It explores a world on the verge of destruction, ready to be ravaged by floods. Everything according to prophecies will be submerged in water. The book chronicles what humanity will do to save themselves from dying in the catastrophic flood. Throw in a little intrigue, some holier than though characters and several strong willed sapphic young women and you have Girls at the Edge of the World.

Natasha is the principal Royal Flyer. Royal Flyers come from a long line of entertainers that perform with aerial silks for the pleasure of the royals of Kostrov.

She believes because she’s lived in the castle for years now and is part of the elite group she and her girls, the other fellow flyers will be guaranteed to be among the chosen placed on one of very few Royal Fleets and saved from the flood. Those who are on the ships are ensured a place in the new world once the waters recede. The rest of the world will perish in the storms. But she overhears a private conversation that warns her that the Royal Flyers are in fact not going to be spared.

Natasha will do anything she can to save herself and her girls. Including vying for King Nikolai’s attention and forcing Gospodin the Righteous Mariner (think something like 1/2 Pope and 1/2 Lead Royal Adviser) to take her “campaigning” to be Nikolai’s queen seriously. She must follow the faith of The Sacred Breath, even though they are responsible for excommunicating her mother as a Royal Flyer, no matter how much she detests it if she wants to find a way to survive.

Ella, the newest member of The Royal Flyers has no intention of surviving the floods. Her sole reason for joining was to set her plan of revenge in motion. She’s going to take Nikolai down. If her mission succeeds she could jeopardize everything Natasha has worked so desperately for.

As Natasha and Ella work together they slowly form a working friendship. A bond begins, along with a deep connection. They are each faced with a difficult choice. Can they really walk away from all the plans they set in motion or is it possible to find a new path where they can survive together?

Girls at the Edge of the World is heavy with political tones. And to be honest that is really not my thing, but getting to know the characters I think is what kept me invested. 3 of them especially interested me.

Natasha likes Nikolai but she doesn’t really love him and is not in love with the idea of having kids, they actually scare her. Also the kingdom’s faith The Sacred Breath goes against what her mother instilled in her and also what banished Natasha’s mother from the castle when she became pregnant with Natasha. So her plot to get Nikolai to marry her weighs on her, but ultimately she will do whatever it takes to survive. (Tbh I would have liked to feel a little more conflict on her part.)

Ella’s anger and hate towards The Royals was palpable and what drove her to keep going after several tragedies. I was sympathetic towards her plight but also not sure if I wanted her to succeed because that meant dooming Natasha and the other flyers to most likely die in the flood. She lived in a world that was unkind to women like herself that enjoyed the company of other women instead of men. They (mainly men) were merciless towards women they considered “wrong”, aka Sirens. She was dealing with some major emotional baggage.

Gospodin was a complex character. He orchestrated some shady deeds but I was never sure if he was really “evil”, just believed that much in The Sacred Breath, or truly thought he was protecting the people of Kostrov. But whatever the case he was a jackass. I think I put that rather eloquently..lol.

The plot had some intrigue, not enough to call it a thriller by any means, but there’s a little suspense. It’s not fast paced but very steady with the world building, apocalyptical events, main characters and side characters to keep readers entertained.

One of the problems that I did have with GATEOTW was in regards to the Storms. There are multiple storms present and past that lead to a world ending flood. The story introduces Storm One then Storm Ten then Storm Four (not the actual order) and previous Storms from hundreds of years ago, they got all mixed together and it was very confusing. Each Storm impacts specific living things, items in nature or elements. There is a sequence of sorts but it went over my head BIG time. It could have been because I listened to the audiobook. Maybe physically reading would have put it in perspective.

If you are looking for a book heavy with romance, this is not the one. The romance is more side dish than entree. I was OK with this personally, it fit the story, but I feel like I should clarify for others who like romance as the main plot, GATEOTW is not that kind of book.

Overall I would classify this as a mash of YA apocalyptic fantasy mixed with aristocratic/religious politics with a love story on the side. Yes…that is a mouthful and there is a lot going on! But it works for this book.

Thank You Penguin Teen for the gifted copy in exchange for my honest review
Profile Image for Ashley.
800 reviews442 followers
September 26, 2021
Star Rating: —> 4.5 Stars

Well, WOW. I am near speechless & just AH MY HEART HURTS In a good way!!!!

This was just so incredibly... EVERYTHING! Oh my GODDD the prose & the story, both, just astoundingly beautiful, especially the whole slow burn sapphic love story aspect that successfully swept me, SO HARD, off of my feet. (Also May Include: Assassins !, life changing apocalyptic—similar to the Exodus—happenings, & political/ courtly intrigue PLUS a gorgeous, hilarious, found family of girls in an elite royal troupe of aerial silks performers, the Royal Flyers, who live in the Palace, not to mention this very troupe includes the two MCs!!! Yay!)

This novel is truly something extraordinarily written, & I enjoyed it IMMENSELY. I fell in love with both MCs Natasha & Ella (each with their own POVs) IMMEDIATELY! You will root for them as they fight for their survival AND their love story from their very first meet-erm-whatever(?) 😂🤍


I want to go more detail with this, so RTC !!!

100% recommend!
Profile Image for kaylie!.
358 reviews73 followers
January 16, 2021
☆ advanced reader copy from edelweiss ☆

Oh god, oh god, oh god

I'm going to try to reign in my feelings to write this review, but I can't make any promises... I had high expectations going into this, but those expectations were greatly surpassed.

The writing was GORGEOUS. I had a ton of quotes marked up, but I'm gonna hold until I get my hands on a final copy. Do you know how in some books with dual-perspectives you tend to get bored of one of them? Well, that isn't this one.

I'm going to have to limit myself here, but NATASHA AND ELLA. If you like Catra & Adora from She-Ra, Tasha and Ella have the same dynamic. That's all. They are perfect, and I love them.

This book was unputdownable. I read this in one sitting because I couldn't stop reading.

An automatic favorite <3

P.S. sequel soon? pls :(
Profile Image for Eva B..
1,227 reviews313 followers
Want to read
April 30, 2020
"A healthy mix of bad puns and classic lit references" is like half of my personality, and this book is f/f so basically what I'm saying is that I need this book injected into my veins.
Profile Image for Nicole N. (A Myriad of Books).
876 reviews93 followers
June 3, 2021
Thanks to PenguinTeen for giving me a free digital copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Content warning: homophobia

Welp… The might be one of the strangest dystopian fantasy novels I’ve ever read. Obviously I read the synopsis but I couldn’t quite seem to grasp the reality of what I was reading. It’s like a weird mix of a Noah’s flood from the Bible, pagan myths, colonialism, dystopia and post-apocalyptic…something. The plot itself was…meh? But it was the characters that really made this book rather unbelievable.

Okay, don’t get me wrong. The concept of the flyers is neat but the fact that they evolved from cool tree climbing spies to…girls who “flew” with silks is kind of baffling. But how am I supposed to dig the rest of this if I can’t really stand any of the characters? You want me to believe that Nikolai and Natasha have a romance when they’re barely even friends? I feel like I didn’t even know Nikolai until the last few pages, and I still can’t decide if he’s a horrible person or not. Then you have Ella who wants revenge and her “mission” to be complete above all else but she’s practically a nobody and given this great “mission” when… How? How in the world is she going to accomplish that at all?

The romance between Natasha and Ella was just…okay. It almost felt forced… But then again, the relationship Ella had before didn’t feel fully real to me anyway in the same way Natasha and Nikolai’s felt like a sham.

I struggled with the world-building as well. Okay, so there is going to be a giant flood and only certain people are allowed in the royal fleet/ships. The Sacred Breath seemed fo be based on Christianity and I see a lot of parallels, not only in terms of lore but also contradictions. It was…interesting to say the least. I thought the whole idea behind the “siren” was kind of dumb in the modern context the book used it. I did, however, like the use of Tamm’s Fables and how these stories were more than just words on a page but real in a loose sense.

And that ending? What the heck? I literally thought the eARC had a mistake so I checked both the NetGalley app and the Kindle app but yeah, it really did end like that. Like??? There’s more??? Maybe???
Profile Image for Mira Mio.
290 reviews51 followers
June 30, 2021
DNF 50%

☆ славянские имена, но нет славянской культуры или атмосферы. Зато почти без клюквы.

☆ прикольная детальная задумка со всемирным потопом.

☆ сюжет очень медленный и пока ниочем, одни дворцовые интриги на уровне детского сада.

☆ две одинаковые героини с нулевой химией. Интересных второплановых актеров нет.

☆ огня спортивных соревнований или депрессии неизбежной воды тоже нет.

☆ скучно. Поругать особо не за что (если учесть, что это янгэдалтный дебют), похвалить тоже.

Я пас.
Profile Image for Acheron.
247 reviews85 followers
July 15, 2021

Put on hold for now. Can't concentrate on the book, might try the audiobook later
Profile Image for rania.
111 reviews
July 2, 2021
”The storms can do what they want to me. Tear me apart. Drown me. But I’ll ask the sea to save her.”

Girls at the Edge of the World is a story told through Natasha and Ella’s perspectives. Natasha is a royal flyer, one of the aerial silk performers of Kostrovia, set in a world that’s only a few months away from imminent destruction.

Ella is on a mission to assassinate King Nikolai, for murdering his sister Cassia, who was also Ella’s lover. So she goes undercover as a new recruit of the flyers to carry out her plan. But she can’t deny the tension and connection she has with Natasha.

Firstly, I loved the apocalyptic approach weaves into the story. It gives us an idea of what the world could end up like if we don’t do the needful to maintain its nature. The beginning of the story was strong. It was interesting to learn both of the protagonists backstories and connect with their personalities.

I also liked the fact that the side characters weren’t very one-sided and were developed on as much as the MCs. The middle of the story was slow as not a lot was really happening. Towards the last 30 percent of the book, it picked up again and it was so worth it!

The ending was left open-ended, which I’m not very concerned about as it definitely leaves space for a sequel. I would really love to know what happens to all the other side characters.

Overall, I would recommend this is you’re looking for a thought-provoking, SFF read with an amazing slowburn sapphic romance.

”Everyone dies sooner or later,” Natasha says. She laces her fingers through mine. “Wouldn’t you rather live first?”

Profile Image for Christina.
286 reviews10 followers
February 1, 2021
3.5 stars. A very cool concept but it felt a little draggy at times. The last quarter of the book is an easy 4 stars. I'm intrigued and enjoyed it enough that I would like to continue the series, and as such that 3.5 star rating could potentially change depending on the other books.

With a flood of Biblical proportions imminent, the royal family has only had time and resources to build a few arcs and very few will be lucky enough to get passage. Our novel follows two aerial silk performers of the royal court - their leader, who is willing to do anything to get her fellow performers (the only family she's ever known) guaranteed spots on one of those arcs, and a new member of the troop, who is actually only there as a means to get revenge on the prince and kill him. Great setup. Everything played out rather slowly, however, and I felt this could have only been successful if more had been done to show the increasing anxiety leading up to this promised flood as it gets closer and closer.

I will say that I very much enjoyed the dialogue and the various relationships presented throughout the book. I loved the complexity of our heroines and their heart breaking backgrounds that connect them more deeply than most. There were a few arresting scenes at the end there that had me completely stand still in my pacing across my room when I read the climax.

I need to find out what happens next ASAP please!

Thank you Edelweiss and Penguin Publishing Group for the ARC!
Profile Image for Sami.
81 reviews273 followers
October 6, 2021
Thank you to the publisher for an ARC of the book in exchange for an honest opinion.

Okay so I had to DNF this at 34%. I hate DNF'ing books with everything in me but gods I just couldn't get past two things. First, the pacing was so slow. 34% of the way in an basically nothing happened. Second, the dual perspective really wasn't working. Their voices were the same. With dual perspectives, the individuals personality shines through and you're able to easily tell whos narrating. That just wasn't the case here at all and I frequently had to go back a few pages to figure out who was narrating.

I do think that the general idea of the book is a good one, I just think it was poorly executed.
Profile Image for Vee_Bookish.
1,342 reviews303 followers
Want to read
March 28, 2020
someone told me this was f/f so now I want it, obviously
Profile Image for Andy.
2,412 reviews192 followers
June 22, 2021
Thank you to Netgalley for an eARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

The land of Kostrov is destined to be flooded. Only those who are lucky or privileged will make it onto the Royal Fleet and survive. Until recently, the Royal Flyers were always counted among its passengers. When Natasha learns they won't be on it, she and her trainer come with a plan for her to become the Queen and convince her new husband to add the flyers. Ella on the other hand, is here for revenge. King Nikolai killed her lover and his own sister and Ella is determined to make him, she doesn't care if she dies for it. She joins the Flyers in order to get access to Nikolai, but she can seem to keep out of Natasha's path.

I loved the world of Kostrov. It’s far from perfect but it’s tense and fascinating. I loved the history of the Royal Flyers and seeing something that's both beautiful and athletic be celebrated for it. Some of the climate stuff makes me a bit anxious—mainly because my overeager brain is ready to apply it to today, but the sense of danger is very much alive in this book!

Between the two main characters, they have my heart. Ella came running onto the page ready for murder and I was all swoons over here! Natasha is more of the cautious but will have a solid plan for revenge type. It was so easy to love these two, but it did take me a bit longer to love them together. We didn't really get too many hints that Natasha might even think of Ella that way until well over halfway.

I really hope there's a sequel because the ending was so open. I cry! Lastly, the way the Storms were described was confusing. There are ten and I could never tell if they had already happened, were about to start or some had happened and some hadn't. Honestly, still am a bit confused.
Profile Image for Allison Saft.
Author 5 books976 followers
April 14, 2020
Complex and unflinching, Girls at the Edge of the World is an absolutely phenomenal debut. The prose is gorgeous, and Robson manages to pack so much meaning into so few words. I'm in awe that she manages to extract so much from the relationships and the world in such a tightly plotted and written book. I adored both narrators--and was absolutely enchanted by the sweet, swoony romance between them. Robson is a master of creating this backdrop of literal world-ending stakes (the rise of religious zealotry, isolationist every-man-for-himself politics, etc) while also emphasizing that this story is, at its heart, the things we will die (and more importantly) survive for.
Profile Image for Kristi.
829 reviews199 followers
June 4, 2021
“She told me stories of girls who knew how to fly and girls who trusted each other and girls who trusted themselves.”

I completely enjoyed this sapphic fantasy with serious dystopian vibes. Court intrigue, revenge, love, secrets and aerial silk flyers make for a story that’s hard to put down. Everything I love about fantasy is layered beautifully in to a fast-paced dystopian world that is facing a devastating future.

I love the premise of Girls at the Edge of the World, the desperation and the knowing that there is only so much room on the Ark’s while impending doom is looming. It’s a terrifying concept but throw in personal stories of love and revenge and it rips at the heart. The writing is absolutely gorgeous and I enjoyed each narrator’s perspective as the flood neared and their desperation grew. I also really enjoyed the world building, to me, it was the chef’s kiss of the story, intricate and thought provoking.

I’m looking forward to what happens next! Thank you to Penguin Teen for this DRC in exchange for my review.
Profile Image for Melanie.
995 reviews19 followers
June 7, 2021
4.5 Stars
Content Warnings at end of review

Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin Teen for an e-arc of this book.

Set in a world well on its way to the next world-wide flood, Natasha will do anything it takes to get her and her Royal Flyers on the Royal Fleet, even if it means trying to marry Prince Nikolai. Meanwhile, new flyer Elle Neves is plotting the courts destruction and falling for Natasha at the same time.

I loved the plot of this book so much! There is so much interesting world-building and I love the lore woven throughout. The elements of religion and fables mixed together in trying to teach the future how to survive the floods, and the courtly intrigue!

I also really loved the main characters, Natasha and Elle. They are both so determined, but in different ways and for different reasons. I love a main character filled with spite, so I was rooting for Elle instantly. Their tension and chemistry was also really good!

The only thing about this I didn't love was the ending. It felt a little to unresolved and I was left with questions I wanted answers to. Maybe a potential sequel?

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

Content Warnings
Graphic: Religious bigotry and Homophobia
Moderate: Violence, Vomit, Blood, Suicide, and Pregnancy
Profile Image for Kaley.
314 reviews78 followers
July 13, 2021
Quick Stats
Age Rating: 14+
Overall: 4 stars
Characters: 4/5
Plot: 4/5
Setting: 4/5
Writing: 4/5

This book was definitely a fun read for Pride month. I loved the characters and I thought that they were all really well developed. The plot was fun and enjoyable, if lacking at times. Honestly, the biggest issue I had with this book was the romance. There was some good yearning, but as soon as there was a romantic catalyst, everything moved really fast. They were in love and ready to die for each other a paragraph after they admitted they had feelings for each other.

The book ended very open-endedly and left me with more questions than answers as to the world building and the flood. It might have been fine for people who prefer open ended books, but it felt unsatisfactory for me.
In the end it was a good book, and I was invested, but it fell flat and left me unsatisfied.
Profile Image for Randi (Rampant Reading Reviews).
365 reviews5 followers
June 7, 2021
I received an advanced copy of Girls at the Edge of the World through NetGalley so I could share my review with you!

Content Warning: Homophobia, Religious Bigotry, Suicide (past), and Violence

Natasha is the principal performer in the Royal Flyers, an elite group of silk dancers whose history extends back to the earliest days of recorded history. Her position is coveted by many, especially with the impending disasters threatening the world. The floods are coming far earlier than anyone could’ve expected, and only a select few will survive their wrath. Every citizen in the kingdom is vying for a position on one of the Royal Fleet’s ships, yet food and space are beyond scarce. Natasha believes her troupes’ seats on the Fleet are guaranteed, but when she learns otherwise, she is willing to do whatever it takes to save them all. But, everyone is not who they seem to be within the Royal Flyers. The newest recruit to the troupe, Ella, has a different mission than making it onto the Royal Fleet, one that has the potential to reshape the kingdom in its entirety. She intends to kill Prince Nikolai and place someone new on the throne, someone who can help right the wrongs of Nikolai’s reign. Ella and Natasha may not share a goal, but they possess a matching determination to fight for their desires, no matter the costs.

You can get your copy of Girls at the Edge of the World on June 8th from Dial Books!

I’m not certain if this book will be a standalone or if it will have a sequel in the future, but I am definitely hoping the latter is the case! After finishing Girls at the Edge of the World, I am eager to read more stories set in this world. Laura Brooke Robson crafted a world with so many layers of lore building on each other, making the reality of this story incredibly rich. I was especially fond of how she incorporated conflicting histories and myths into the plot of this story, forcing the characters to navigate a world in which no one institution is completely correct or altruistic. The lines between stories and truth are constantly called into question, often with massive implications for the characters’ lives.

Because of the many elements brought into the narrative, I occasionally felt the plot dragging. There was so much of the world that needed to be explained that the characters seemed to get stuck explaining quite a bit in their narration. Besides this one issue, I found the story to be quite enjoyable!

My Recommendation-
If you enjoy stories of love, sisterhood, and devastatingly high stakes, you should pick up a copy of Girls at the Edge of the World! This book would be a great read for fans of ocean-centric fantasies like The Dark Tide and The Bone Shard Daughter!
Profile Image for ♡ calliope ♡.
517 reviews53 followers
June 30, 2021

In a world bound for an epic flood, only a chosen few are guaranteed safe passage into the new world once the waters recede. The Kostrovian royal court will be saved, of course, along with their guards. But the fate of the court's Royal Flyers, a lauded fleet of aerial silk performers, is less certain. Hell-bent on survival, Principal Flyer, Natasha Koskinen, will do anything to save the Flyers, who are the only family she's ever known. Even if "anything" means molding herself into the type of girl who could be courted by Prince Nikolai. But unbeknownst to Natasha, her newest recruit, Ella Neves, is driven less by her desire to survive the floods than her thirst for revenge. And Ella's mission could put everything Natasha has worked for in peril.

As the oceans rise, so too does an undeniable spark between the two flyers. With the end of the world looming, and dark secrets about the Kostrovian court coming to light, Ella and Natasha can either give in to despair . . . or find a new reason to live


Thank you so much to Dial for providing a finished copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

WOW! This is was imaginative, queer and absolutely fantastic.

It's told from two perspectives. Natasha is the head flyer for the royal flyers (she performs on aerial silks), and I loved her not quite as much as Ella, but still a lot! She was intelligent, feisty and very honest, which I love to see in characters. Ella is one of my all time favorite YA characters: courageous, deceiving and unapologetically queer. (Basically who I wish I was) The side characters were also very well developed. The other flyers consistently made me laugh, and didn't steal the spotlight too much, but were still mermorable. Maren and Nikolai were interesting and layered characters, and I wasn't expecting what happened to either of them.

The idea (plot) was SO GOOD. LGBT+, Climate Change, Royals?!?! Amazing. Loved the idea a lot.

Thankfully, the execution (pacing+writing) was fantastic, too! The pacing was just right: I usually have complaints about the too fast pacing in fantasy, but this wasn't rushed at all! The writing style was humorous and sharp, with lots of banter (Love to see it)

The romance was very tame and sweet, and I'm excited to see how this relationship progresses if/when there is a second book!

All in all, I really didn't have any major complaints for this, go read it!

Anticipation: 4: Amazing setup!
Enjoyment: 5: YES YES YES

--> 4.5 stars
Profile Image for Kate.
Author 15 books824 followers
September 30, 2021
As a Royal flyer, Natasha expects that she has a spot on the boats when the big flood wipes out the world. But when she finds out the Royal flyers aren't considered necessary, she decides to pursue Prince Nikolai as a means to secure herself and her fellow flyers a place. Ella, on the other hand, has a very different reason to pursue Nikolai: revenge. And she's just gotten a spot with the Royal flyers. But when sparks fly between Natasha and Ella, they begin to reconsider what kind of future is possible.

Anyone who knows me knows I picked this up because the "Royal flyers" perform aerial silks! I loved how that niche interest of mine was blended into a fantasy universe that also had undertones of the Biblical plagues. The worldbuilding was well-done and I had no problems diving into this universe, with all its backstory and mythology. And there was no skimping on the aerial silks talk which was cool, although I don't know how they would practice for 8 hours a day--I'd be dead on the floor! Natasha and Ella's attraction to each other was also well-done, Ella understood her feelings more, while Natasha seemed a little more bi in that she could see herself with Nikolai and there was some chemistry there but not the same as with Ella. This was super fun for me to read and had all the right elements for a great story.
Profile Image for ella.
404 reviews39 followers
February 10, 2021
★★★★☆ 4/5

thank you to penguinteen and netgallery for the arc!

WOW okay that was actually so so good. this book was on my list for most anticipated releases for 2021 and i practically screamed when i got the arc and it definitely lived up to my expectations.

i really liked the idea of the book, and it felt pretty well done. maybe a little too much plot and it felt a little messy at times, but it was enjoyable and easy to look past.

the romance also felt a little rushed at the end, i feel like the book focused more on the plot than the romance so it felt a little under-developed but i’m hoping we get to explore ella and natasha’s romance a little further in the next book! (which i am actually super excited for already)

there were a lot of characters in this book, and not all of them felt developed. i appreciate an author who isn’t afraid to cause their characters pain, but if you want the readers to hurt along with them, you have to make the readers connect with said characters.

but overall, this was really enjoyable and i practically raced through the last 100 pages because they were SO GOOD. definitely looking forward to the sequel!!

also that cover though... GORGEOUS😭
Profile Image for sarah.
83 reviews15 followers
February 13, 2022
no words i have would ever do justice for how fucking phenomenal this book was but i’m going try.

i’m gonna be straight up, when i read that this had sapphics on aerial silks i was sold. and honestly i don’t normally read fantasy because i get bored or confused and give up before the world building is even done but goddamn this was beautiful. the world that author manages to create is so gorgeous with a rich and intriguing history, it’s flawless.

as for the characters, although the plotline and world are gorgeous on their own, it truly is the girls that make the story. from our main characters, natasha and ella to even the smallest of side characters, everyone is so well written and multidimensional which gives the book so much heart and you really do feel for every single person and hear their story to the absolute fullest.

the main selling point has go to without a doubt be the relationship between natasha and ella, both fiesty, passionate and driven girls with so much chemistry even on paper makes their story so fun and entertaining to read and the slow burn between them kills you in the best way possible and i’d be lying if i said i didn’t shed a few tears.

all in all, it’s an adventurous fantasy with a beyond beautifully built world and characters that will steal your heart (and potentially shatter it into a million pieces). but i truly cannot recommend this book enough.
Profile Image for Avery Elise.
74 reviews54 followers
May 23, 2021
5/5 stars

I just finished this book and I am in shock. This book was incredible, I haven't read a fantasy like this in a long time.

The characters were pretty well characterized, except for some of the side characters. The romance was excellent. The pacing was so-so, while it was a bit slow in the beginning, the end and middle sections were at a great pace.

The Worldbuilding is also something I thought added a good element to the story. The world the novel is set in is very interesting and has lots of threads tied to it. I thought the author did a good job of explaining some things but leaving others a mystery.

This book really helped get me out of a fantasy reading slump, and I will forever be grateful to it for that. The novel as a whole was just one of a kind and I highly, highly recommend it!

*thank you to netgalley and the publisher for an arc of this novel
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