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(Muse #1)

3.33  ·  Rating details ·  435 ratings  ·  133 reviews
American Royals meets The Winner’s Curse in the first book of bestselling author Brittany Cavallaro’s new duology, set in an alternate history American monarchy where a girl grapples for control of her own life in the middle of a looming war.

The year is 1893, and war is brewing in the First American Kingdom. But Claire Emerson has a bigger problem. While her father prepare
ebook, 352 pages
Published February 2nd 2021 by Katherine Tegen Books
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Elisabeth It is a genuine question. I have an art degree and I totally understand that this is done in the art deco style. But the colors, the model's face, an…more It is a genuine question. I have an art degree and I totally understand that this is done in the art deco style. But the colors, the model's face, and the positioning of the head with a halo and a suggestion of feathers behind it also remind me of some Mexican art. It is a gorgeous cover with possible combined influences. And it's on an AU North American story. So I am wondering if the characters are Latinx or Native American.
(putting this reponse to Cat's answer here because otherwise it doesn't show up. I am honestly wondering and would like an answer.)(less)

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♠ Tabi⁷₈⁷ ♠
for a country who escaped monarchy we sure are fascinated with the possibility of being a monarchy ourselves
Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)
Set in an alternate history World's Fair Chicago, where America is a monarchy, science is king, and magic shouldn't exist - and one girl's touch has the power to grant wishes.

hell y
hell ye
hell yes
hell ye
hell y

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Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A long time ago, I read the very beginning of this book, then had to wait years for the rest.

Well, I finally got to read the rest, and it's everything I hoped for. Both smart and strange, and at turns romantic as it is furious, with writing that crackles and characters sharply drawn in varying shades of gray.

Remy forever.

Will review in greater detail when we're closer to release, but for now, historical fantasy and alternate history fans get this one on your rad
3 stars but... Underwhelming. A story taking place around the 1898 Chicago World's Fair in an alternate history America where George Washington became king, with a main character who longs to escape her father (he keeps her like Mother Gothel because he believes she has magic that helps him) and gets embroiled in the middle of duelling Governorships on the brink of a civil war of sorts... the plot was intriguing. The sentence crafting was beautiful and I have a decent amount of highlights.

But h
DNF at about 50%

What? I actually don't really get what I just read (or at least the 50% I read). First of all, this book is set in a world of If George Washington became a king instead of a president. Which was the absolute worse choice Cavallaro could possibly make. It basically ERASES the entirety of the Revolutionary War! She tries to justify this whole...problem in the 4 pages of the prologue, but no, no I REFUSE TO BELIEVE THIS. We worked almost 10 years to officially gain our f
Rayne ♥
Sep 15, 2020 marked it as to-read
THIS COVER COULD SLAP ME AND I WOULD SMILE BECAUSE I WAS HIT BY SUCH BEAUTY. Seriously, that cover is so amazing, I just want to marry it.

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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

I quite enjoyed Muse, once I got into it. I do love a historical book, even better when it's alternate history and I can see all the Easter eggs from the real history. I definitely liked more than I didn't in this one, so let's break it down!

The Yays:

►Very cool setting!  I mean, 1893 World's Fair but like, Alt-World's Fair, in Alt-Chicago? Yes please! That is pretty great, frankly. E

There were some interesting ideas here, but they all felt kind of jumbled up for me, and frankly I think the story would have been stronger with fewer concepts. The idea that felt most powerful - Claire's supposed ability to 'bless' people or grant wishes, interwoven with the idea of (upper-class, white) women as the "angel in the house" - didn't really get fully explored because there was a LOT of other stuff going on. I didn't really buy into the alternate history angle, and honestly I thi
Aug 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020, arcs
C/W:(view spoiler)

I can honestly say that Muse was unlike anything else I've read. It's set in an alternate 1893 where the United States is actually the First American Kingdom and the provinces are poised for war. Claire's father is an inventor working on a new weapon that's going to be unveiled at the World's Fair. He believes that he can
Sara (A Gingerly Review)
I live for these What if...? stories that give voice to what could have been... but this story wasn't one I would be writing home about. There were parts that drug on, the ending was far too quick, and not everything felt fully developed. Will I continue the series? You bet your sweet tush I will. ...more
Aug 13, 2020 rated it liked it
*Spoiler free*

Historical fiction and I have a rocky relationship. I've found a few that I've absolutely adored, but I tend to be really picky about which ones I liked. So, going into this one, I wasn't sure where my opinion would land. But, it had such an interesting concept. A girl, perhaps with magical abilities, torn between helping her father or helping the Governor who's taken her captive. Or finally helping herself. Plus, there was the intrigue of the World's Fair and all the inventions it
Hayden (bookish.hayden)
Feb 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
The year is 1893, and war is brewing in the First American Kingdom. But Claire Emerson has a bigger problem. While her father prepares to reveal the mighty weapon he’s created to showcase the might of their province in the World’s Fair, Claire is crafting a plan to escape. But when things go awry at the fair, Claire's plans burn up in flames. Taken captive by Governor Remy Duchamp, St. Cloud’s young, untried ruler, Claire is suddenly allies with a powerful man. Left with the choice to hide in th ...more
*Source* Publisher
*Genre* Young Adult / Alt History / Fantasy
*Rating* 3.5-4


American Royals meets The Winner’s Curse in the first book of bestselling author Brittany Cavallaro’s new duology, set in an alternate history American monarchy where a girl grapples for control of her own life in the middle of a looming war. In 1782, after winning the war for Independence, George Washington makes the decision to become a King thus begins the First American Kingdom. It is also decreed that the c
Skye ~ Court of Binge Reading
Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

The premise of this story is unique. Imagine a world where George Washington decided to become a king and re-establish the monarchy in America. It’s 1893, war is on the horizon for those in the First American Kingdom. War, however, is the least of Claire Emerson’s worries. Her top priority is finding a way to escape her father, an inventor who has gone mad. Her father believes Claire can make his dreams and invent
Joe Sacksteder
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I don't reads tons of YA literature because so often it goes beyond the formulaic to consist of nothing but strung-together signifiers of edginess, of love, of against-all-odds-ness. But here's a book so unique that it clears new grounds of possibility for a genre, taking what we know we love about the Chicago World's Fair, the figure of Tesla, and fin de siecle awfulness and promise and jolting it with traces of magical realism and steampunk to create new ways of seeing the past, the future, an ...more
Feb 18, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: coming-soon-21
WoRlD's FaIr ...more
Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard
hell yes to everything about this
Online Eccentric Librarian
Oct 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: au, arc, dystopian
More reviews at the Online Eccentric Librarian

More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog

Muse started out promising: a rare YA where the heroine is understated and has to use her brains in order to navigate a world determined to keep her helpless. But a very slow first half morphed into a second half that built so much momentum that the ending felt both rushed and unsatisfying. There is an arc here but it felt manufactured.

Story: It's 1893 and Claire Emerson's province is celebrating - and posturing - thr
Pine Reads Review
“If she survived the next two days…she might just have a throne. Or, at least, be the power behind it.”

Claire Emerson has never been allowed to decide for herself what she wants in life. It’s 1893 in the First American Kingdom, and all Claire can hope for the future is to marry a man who isn’t horrible to her. Unfortunately, her inventor father believes that her touch is magical and refuses to let her leave. As the young Governor opens the gates of the World’s Fair and people stream into the pro
Feb 21, 2021 rated it liked it
Muse was an interesting subversion of the "girl with a magic touch" trope, and though I was not a fan of the (almost instantaneous and out-of-left-field) romance and the politics were a bit muddy, the overall concept was enjoyable and leaves potential for an even more engaging sequel.

I adored the alternate-Chicago World's Fair setting, having grown up in Chicago myself and noticing the real life geographic details that remain despite the change in universe and time period. The American Monarchy
Emily Kazmierski
Jan 28, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was so interesting. The world the author has created drew me in immediately. I was already intrigued by the Chicago World’s Fair and am even more so now. I want to spend more time there ASAP.

The main character is a girl who up until the start of the story hasn’t discovered her power. She’s thrust along by her father and other powerful men in her life, but over the course of the story that changes. I rooted for her to step into her own, to stand up for herself, and to maneuver out of the rig
Mary Claire
I will go ahead and say that I was not very fond of this book. I was hesitant about the concept of rewriting American history at first when i read the summary, but ultimately decided that it could be really cool and interesting. However, that being said I was rather underwhelmed and a bit disappointed with Muse. The first 95 ish pages were extremely slow, and not much happened at all. When there finally was some action around page 1/3 of the way in (which was acting as the main catalyst for the ...more
Therese Thompson
Feb 26, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Muse is a fantasy, based on an alternate United States, in which George Washington agreed to rule as King beginning a dynasty of male rulers and governors overseeing provinces. This could lead you to believe it’s a story about men in charge. It’s actually a tale of women taking power back from the men who rule from their homes to palaces of power.

The muse of the title is Claire, abjectly in the control of her crazed inventor father, tasked with creating a giant cannon to be displayed and demons
Feb 11, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
First book of 2021 that I had to quit. I read about 60% of this and I finally asked myself why I was forcing myself to suffer? For how little time I get to read I shouldn’t be taking the facial bruising of sleeping with phone on face from this book. Seriously don’t read it. I genuinely have no idea what was going on or why anything was important. I don’t really think it was. Disappointing too because it seemed like such a cool concept. The historical allusions and historical figures seemed so fu ...more
Sarah Perchikoff
Let’s start with the good, shall we?


I really loved Claire! I loved her interactions with her friend, Beatrix, how she worked with Tesla, and how curious she was about everything around her. I liked that she never gave up despite her less-than-great circumstances. Like….the girl repelled down the side of building with a sheet! That’s pretty awesome!

I also really liked how her… I don’t know how to say this in a good way, but how it was clear she was not very trusting of anyone because of her f
I was fully prepared to give this a four star rating...until the last chapter, where almost every character behaved so uncharacteristically that I lost my hold on who any of them really were throughout the preceding narrative. But, I mean, it was okay until then.
this book is like eating wings. good, but i would've liked some more meat on the bones. ...more
If you're looking to read this for the alternate history where the United States is a monarchy, American Royals is better! ...more
Fernanda Granzotto
Still don't know if I like the end of this book and don't know if I will continue with the series. It's a low 3 stars. ...more
Dec 07, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
3.5 overall

I was not a fan of the American republic turned monarchy alternate history that Cavallaro built. I’ve read a good many of these alternate history type YA books and didn’t find this one particularly interesting.

The world was very loosely built and a bit confusing. Plus the main plot wasn’t my thing.
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Brittany Cavallaro is a poet, fiction writer, and old school Sherlockian. She is the New York Times bestselling author of the Charlotte Holmes novels from HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books, including A STUDY IN CHARLOTTE, THE LAST OF AUGUST, THE CASE FOR JAMIE, and A QUESTION OF HOLMES. She's also the author of the poetry collections GIRL-KING and UNHISTORICAL (University of Akron) and is the re ...more

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