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(Muse #1)

3.31  ·  Rating details ·  716 ratings  ·  197 reviews
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 prepares to reveal the mighty weapon he’s created to showcase the might of their province, St. Cloud, in the World’s Fair, Cl
Hardcover, 332 pages
Published February 2nd 2021 by Katherine Tegen Books
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Helena There is no explicit sexual scenes or very brutal scenes. There are some talks about abuse and rape (not overly explicit and only a little part). So t…moreThere is no explicit sexual scenes or very brutal scenes. There are some talks about abuse and rape (not overly explicit and only a little part). So technically I would say it's okay to read it at 12 y/o. Personally I would say 16+ because of the subjects it deals with and the whole feeling of the book. I can't really explain it but it feels like a story for a bit older people (not newly YA readers but more between YA and NA). (less)
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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Average rating 3.31  · 
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♠ TABI⁷ ♠
Jul 06, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: edelweiss, netgalley
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 15, 2020 rated it liked it
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
May 02, 2021 rated it it was ok

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
Toria (some what in hiatus)
Jan 06, 2022 rated it did not like it
I had so much hope for this because it sounded so awesome of a plot. But i was so disappointed.the alternative history wasn't well done, the characters was not interesting or intriguing to follow and overall had nothing to give it more than 1 star. I feel very harsh giving such negative review as I could see potential, but it did not deliver for me ...more
Sarah Hermes Griesbach
Mar 08, 2021 rated it did not like it
What kinda white feminist nonsense is this?

To write an alternative history, you have to have some grasp of history. There is no context in which this bizarre white patriarchy makes sense.

George Washington dissolved the U.S. to form a monarchical society that functions like nine-year-olds might conceive them. Black people don’t exist. Maybe never have. France and Germany exist. All of the intellectual history that our pre-1776 universe should share with this alternative world is irrelevant and n
abi ♡
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
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
Rayne ♥
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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Amanda M (The Curly Reader)
This one just didn't work for me which is a big bummer as it was one of my most anticipated books of 2021. I felt like this premise had so much potential and sounded super intriguing, but it just didn't deliver on this. It ended up being a feminist "stick it to the man" sort of book, in which every woman thinks that every man is stomping on their rights and they need to fight back. I just don't get along well with that mentality. There is of course a history of women's rights being stepped on th ...more
MUSE, by Brittany Cavallaro is an alternative "historical fiction" novel based in the USA. The premise was interesting, and I had no problems with the writing. The main character, however, was too... unassertive ... in my opinion. Because of this, I really wasn't able to connect to her in any way. While I did want to see what happened next in the story, I just was underwhelmed when her character came into play (a couple of the secondary characters were easier to follow for me).

A decent book, but
Aug 13, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
*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
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 08, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Joe Sacksteder
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mary Claire
Dec 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
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
Online Eccentric Librarian
More reviews at the Online Eccentric Librarian http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/

More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/

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
Feb 11, 2021 rated it it was ok
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
Skye ~ Court of Binge Reading
***This review was originally posted on Ideally Inspired Reviews***

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
Hayden (bookish.hayden)
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
Jan 01, 2022 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2022-tbr
The instalove.

The pointlessness.

The unlikable main character.

My god.

What a way to start 2022. But at least it was a quick read!

And, boy, I'm keeping it solely for that cover.

Two stars because of what this story could have been. I actually liked the main love interest, surprisingly.
Feb 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
*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
Apr 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
I FLEW through this book!

Oh my goodness it has been a while since I have enjoyed any kind of historical fiction book (with the inclusion of alternative historical fiction), but this one I found quite compelling. I had a lot of emotions reading it and I can't believe I have to wait another year to know how the story continues!
Mar 17, 2022 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audio
Only listened to this for Julia Whelan. Not my kind of story.
Fernanda Granzotto
Mar 26, 2021 rated it liked it
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
Raven_Blake (dreamy addictions)
Actual Rating: 3.5 stars!

Review to come!
Trishita Das
Mar 20, 2021 rated it liked it
Story of the book-

I love a decent elective history idea and albeit this one isn’t remarkable, it is as yet a cool plan to me. Here, the reason is that not long in the wake of acquiring freedom from the British, George Washington chooses to announce himself, King of America, as opposed to attempting to mess with that chaotic business of a majority rule government. He gives out domains to his companions as America extends and makes them lead representatives. The rulers then, at that point, hand th
Feb 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
For those of us wondering, What would America have looked like as a monarchy, here is your answer. Brittany Cavallaro's stunning and fierce newest release is an alternative take on American history, which combines a big of magic and a girl who holds the power of the nation in her hands--literally. Muse is a thrilling and twisty story that dives deep into the political machinations of a nation at the same time as it uncovers secrets of the hearts. Its unrelenting scrutinization of men in power be ...more
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
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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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Muse (2 books)
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Alternate history is one of the most reliably interesting subgenres in the book game. As a kind of subset of speculative fiction, alternate...
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