The back jacket, from Goodreads:
From Alisa Kwitney comes a connected novel set in the same alternative Victorian England of Cadaver & Queen. Corpse & Crown follows the story of Agatha DeLacey, an Ingold nursing student who travels to London and uncovers a devastating secret about the country's Bio-Mechanicals. Inspired by the classic story of Oliver Twist and complete with a dashing Artful Dodger-inspired male lead, this retelling is a satisfying follow-up to Kwitney's clever and critically acclaimed young adult debut.
Oh my, CORPSE & CROWN did not disappoint. In fact, it surprised me. Like a hydra beast of Frankenstein meets Oliver Twist (I’m laughing because for real what is this mash-up and how did it work so well 😂) this book proved to be much different than its predecessor in all the best ways. I have to admit the very short back jacket didn’t instill me with overwhelming confidence, because there wasn’t much to anticipate, but now that I’ve finished, I understand the vagueness. Because holy moly, things things got crazypants. A slower burn turned into glorious, unpredictable, and escalating surprises, each chapter wilder than the last. Had the back jacket mentioned any specifics, they would’ve been spoilers, so while the description doesn’t have much “hype,” don’t be deceived. There were a ton of bananapants-level twists and overlapping storylines.
Cover design by Mary Luna
Leaving this review spoiler-free means I can't talk about the plot's awesomeness in any detail, but I can share that CORPSE & CROWN did a fabulous job of reinforcing the problem of ego in medicine. Combining a doctor knows best attitude, both from a patient and practitioner perspective, with a desire to push limits, results in limitless opportunities for danger because nobody speaks up, too afraid to contradict a superior--one who likely has a reputation for not accepting critique in a positive way. Without those checks and balances, the need to prove a hypothesis or test new methods and medications can all-too-easily eclipse patient welfare in the name of science. A Frankenstein retelling is arguably the most appropriate place to examine the darker side of medicine, and as a woman with chronic illness, I was here for it. The phrase “practicing” medicine exists for a reason, and those who believe they’re above failure and can bend science to their will are the ones to stay away from, because while you’re writhing in agony on an exam table, they’re likely viewing you as a subject instead of a person and mentally adding up all the potential organs they can harvest from your body.
Okay that last part may only be applicable in CORPSE & CROWN but keep your wits about you, friends.
This series remains my favourite Frankenstein retelling, and I really hope there are more books on the way because a lot of crazy stuff went down that left things wide open. While some readers have skipped the first and headed straight for CORPSE & CROWN, I wouldn’t recommend it. Yes, the POVs are different in the sequel, but the concept behind Bio-Mechanicals is explained in greater detail in the first, and there are several crucial scenes that give context for certain relationships. Also, CADAVER & QUEEN is awesome and you need to read it just because of the awesomeness.
Historical science fiction with smart dialogue and strong female characters, the CADAVER & QUEEN series needs far more attention than it's gotten, because HELLO THESE BOOKS ARE AMAZING AND YOU MUST READ THEM AS SOON AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE SERIOUSLY JUST GO BUY THEM.
That is all.
Big thanks to HCC Frenzy for an ARC!
For this mani, I used:
FingerPaints – Paper Mâché and Black Expressionism
OPI – Lucky Lucky Lavender and matte topcoat
China Glaze – Boujee Board, I Sea the Point, Bizarre Blurple
Glisten and Glow – After Midnight and Dinner and Drinks
So Nailicious – needle brush