Welcome to the blog tour for E.K. Johnston’s newest novel, That Inevitable Victorian Thing! Today I’m sharing my review of the book. Keep reading to find out what I thought and make sure to enter the giveaway at the end of the post:
Set in an alternate-history futuristic world, That Inevitable Victorian Thing follows three main characters: Helena, August, and Margaret (who happens to be the Crown Princess of the Empire). In this Victorian world, Britain still rules a spanning empire, including Canada, and marriage matches are made with the help of genetics. Taking advantage of the distance and her last chance at anonymity, Margaret heads across the ocean to spend her summer in hiding as a commoner. This is where she meets Helena Marcus, a non-royal who has been invited to debut in Toronto as a favor to her mother, and August Callaghan, Helena’s lifelong friend and expected soon-to-be-fiancé. As the three grow closer, the secrets each hold threaten to blow up a friendship and put the Empire in danger.
That Inevitable Victorian Thing is one of the most unique novels I’ve ever read. Johnston does a great job balancing the technology and society of the future while balancing the alternate-history side of things and building up the backstory thoroughly enough for it all to make sense; somehow, everything that happens is just feasible enough to believe. After all, we aren’t that far off from romantic partnerships being formed off of genetic matches combined with online chats; the online dating thing is already a major force in society today. The Victorian England formal touches in their society felt somewhat strange but I was able to embrace it since the worldbuilding was so strong.
One of the things I loved most about this book was the practically effortless way that diversity is included. Her Royal Highness Victoria-Margaret and her mother are black. That Inevitable Victorian Thing also features LGBT relationships and an intersex character, which is something I haven’t seen a lot of in YA. I especially appreciated seeing the character’s mental turmoil over discover the truth of their chromosomes as well as the fact that they have a fully developed character arc; it isn’t dependent only on that character being intersex.
In addition, I really enjoyed the friendships that are explored in this novel. Helena, Margaret, August, and Elizabeth are such fun characters and I had a blast seeing them interact with each other as their authentic selves. They all have secrets that they’re keeping – from their families, from their country, from each other – and I loved seeing how those secrets impacted their interactions. It’s clear that each character is just trying to live their life and do their best job, but things don’t always go as expected and I really appreciated that not all of the secrets were revealed without consequence. That made it feel much more realistic.
I’m also one of those people who loves anything with royals and I find it so fun when someone of such high caliber goes undercover to live a “normal” life. I really enjoyed reading about all of the close encounters Margaret found herself in and the creative solutions she (and her friends and family) had to use to get her out unscathed. Though, I do wish we had seen more of Elizabeth (Margaret’s friend and confidante). She felt more like a plot device to spur the start of Margaret’s story and then disappeared in the second half; I would have loved to have her appear again near the end.
Overall, I really enjoyed the creative worldbuilding and seamless inclusion of diversity on That Inevitable Victorian Thing. I would definitely recommend it for someone looking to read something a little different in YA.
About the book:
Victoria-Margaret is the crown princess of the empire, a direct descendent of Victoria I, the queen who changed the course of history. The imperial tradition of genetically arranged matchmaking will soon guide Margaret into a politically advantageous marriage. But before she does her duty, she’ll have one summer of freedom and privacy in a far corner of empire. Posing as a commoner in Toronto, she meets Helena Marcus, daughter of one of the empire’s greatest placement geneticists, and August Callaghan, the heir to a powerful shipping firm currently besieged by American pirates. In a summer of high-society debutante balls, politically charged tea parties, and romantic country dances, Margaret, Helena, and August discover they share an extraordinary bond and maybe a one-in-a-million chance to have what they want and to change the world in the process.
Set in a near-future world where the British Empire never fell and the United States never rose, That Inevitable Victorian Thing is a surprising, romantic, and thought-provoking story of love, duty, and the small moments that can change people and the world.
About the author:
E.K. Johnston is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of several YA novels, including the L.A. Time Book Prize finalist The Story of Owenand Star Wars: Ahsoka.Her novel A Thousand Nights was shortlisted for The Governor General’s Award. The New York Times called The Story of Owen “a clever first step in the career of a novelist who, like her troubadour heroine, has many more songs to sing” and in its review of Exit, Pursued by a Bear, The Globe & Mail called Johnston “the Meryl Streep of YA,” with “limitless range.” E. K. Johnston lives in Stratford, Ontario. Follow her on Twitter at @ek_johnston.
Enter for a chance to be one (1) of three (3) winners to receive a hardcover copy of That Inevitable Victorian Thing E.K. Johnston. (ARV: $17.99 each).
a Rafflecopter giveaway
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on October 2, 2017 and 12:00 AM on October 23, 2017. Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about October 25, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.
Blog tour schedule:
October 2 – YA Bibliophile – Author Guest Post | Research Done to Build an AU & Timeline for this World
October 3 – Bookiemoji – Review
October 4 – Fiction Fare – Author Q&A
October 5 – Icey Books – Quote Candy
October 6 – BookCrushin – Review
October 9 – Alexa Loves Books – Bookish Style Files
October 10 – Here’s to Happy Endings – Review & Style Board
October 11 – What Sarah Read – Top 10 Most Swoonworthy Royal Couples Throughout Time
October 12 – Arctic Books – Playlist
October 13 – Xpresso Reads – Author Guest Post | Favorite Victorian Women
October 16 – A Page With a View – Author Q&A
October 17 – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Royal Women Throughout History
October 18 – Mundie Moms – Review
October 19 – The Young Folks – Review
October 20 – Brittany Book Rambles – Author Guest Post | Playlist