Cover Image: Foul is Fair

Foul is Fair

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Member Reviews

Um, so this book is dark. Not wow that's effed up dark. I mean, Heathers is a romcom compared to this story. Hannah Capin's ability to paint a mood with words was evident in her debut, but she's definitely stepped up her game with this Macbeth retelling. 

With Capin at a keyboard, Shakespeare will never be the same.
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This was such an amazing read that I couldn’t put it down. It went everywhere with me. To the doctors office, the dentist, the eye doctor. IT WENT ABSOLUTELY EVERYWHERE. I was so sad when it ended that I immediately went and bought more books from this author!
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Honestly this was a pretty clever retelling of Macbeth, with Lady Macbeth taking over as the lead character (which is basically what everyone wants while reading Macbeth in the first place anyways). Elle/Jade Khanjara sets out to get revenge on a group of lacrosse boys from an elite private high school. Not just any revenge -- she wants them dead. Only time will tell whether that means physically deceased or ruining their reputation by exposing their secrets. With help from her coven of witches (aka her closest friends), Jade transfers to the high school to enact her plot.

It was difficult to put this story down: it's fast paced, and I was so invested in Jade and her mission. Macbeth was slowly coming back to me as I read the book, and I was impressed by how Capin was able to modernize the old Scottish names, making the characters hide in somewhat plain sight if you didn't remember the play haha. I eventually did refresh myself on the specifics of Macbeth, and when I was reminded of Lady Macbeth's end in the play, it became even more difficult to put the book down. Would it be the same? Was there a way to go against what was fated to happen?

There are some story elements that are a little ridiculous (the way the characters speak might be influenced by direct lines in the play, so when you really think about it the words would be super awkward coming from a modern teen; the whole book only takes place over two weeks, which is a fast timeline to enact your detailed revenge plot), and these things might bother some people. I think that Shakespeare is a little ridiculous to begin with, so adding to the ridiculousness isn't too bad! I also really enjoyed how Capin created Jade: Jade is extremely strong, but there are also moments in the book where she's extremely vulnerable and it's clear that she's still working through the trauma she experienced. Don't get me wrong -- most of the time Jade is just focused on revenge, but I enjoyed that there was still some suggestions to the fact that Jade is healing, even though this isn't the main point of the book.
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Hannah Capin's voice is absolutely breathtaking, and Foul is Fair a real feat of stylistic storytelling. This book is relentless, and not always easy to read due to the subject matter, but it is handled sensitively and with a dark humour that gets the reader completely on board with the brutality of what Jade and her friends are doing. I can't wait to read more by this brilliant woman - I came across this novel when I tweeted asking for a witch focussed YA adaptation of Macbeth, not sure if one existed. Well, it does, and I can't imagine it being done more successfully.
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"Fair is foul, foul is fair" - an infamous phrase and recurring theme, not just in this novel, but originally from Shakespeare's Macbeth. And make no mistake, despite the fact this novel isn't presented as such, it IS a modern retelling of the classic - from the coven's prophecy.. to the new King and his escalation in violence to keep his secrets.. it's all there. The author even maintains most of the original character names, if somewhat modified for modern use. 

Unfortunately for Hannah Capin, it's a lofty ambition to begin with, recreating one of Shakespeare's great tragedies, and while she's competent at stringing together the puzzle pieces of a story, she's no storyteller. At least, she doesn't show any real ability here. If the synopsis had been more honest about what it was, that also may have earned it more leniency. I might have enjoyed the way she reapplied certain aspects of the original work, such as the Inverness location, but going into a story expecting something fresh.. made me draw those contrasts much more strongly. 

My biggest issue with this novel, is really the narrative point-of-view approach the author uses to tell the story. It's often the weakest way to tell a story anyway. Authors intend to utilize it to immerse readers in their stories, but instead I feel.. it often alienates me. And our protagonist's 'voice' reads like rambling, with little direction and less control.. despite all her claims of the opposite. The words seem to pour out in a constant rush, more like a spill than a careful pouring of information.

As far as the characters are concerned, the bulk of them are as designed.. thoroughly unlikable. However, I felt that also extended to our main character, Jade, and her friends. In fact, the only character I did like, was our new King. Our Mack(beth), and watching him fall to ruin was just unpleasant. Turning away from the original text in this case, might have been the only thing that would have won me over. 

Overall, the book was a disappointment. There was potential there, but the author just failed to bring it to fruition.
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Think of all the darkest vengefests you’ve enjoyed in literature and film and you have the experience that is Foul is Fair, the latest novel by Hannah Capin. 
MacBeth, Heathers, Mean Girls, Kill Bill, and AHS: Coven have all been used to describe elements and the tone of this new book, and they are all appropriately used.
Jade and her friends have fabled teen lives, they’re the “it” girls and the world is at their feet—until a group of boys from a wealthy prep school make the mistake of assaulting Jade. Now, Jade has sworn to get vengeance, and nobody will stand in her way.
Foul is Fair is a dark, unflinching journey into manipulation and vengeance. Capin’s writing is raw and intense, drawing you along and daring you to turn away while taunting you to turn another page. This is one of those books that is both horrifying and fantastic at the same time, and destined to create quite a buzz.

*I received a copy of Foul is Fair from St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
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This book takes itself way too seriously. The concept is fantastic - just as advertised, a high-school Kill Bill meets Macbeth meets Heathers. A group of rich mean girls in LA to go a private prep school’s party and one of them, Jade, is sexually assaulted by a group of rich white across boys (names: Duncan, Duffy, Connor, Banks - yes they’re all exactly as awful and evil as they sound, and they’re confident they can get away with anything). Jade transfers to the same school as these boys and plots with her three best friends (“the coven”) on how they’re going to get back at these boys - and getting back at them = killing all four of them. Violence ensues. Revenge fantasy like you’ve never read it before. 

The young women in this novel are femme fatales, sirens who won’t hesitate to ruin you, all of whom are very very angry and ready to kill. It’s essentially a retelling of Macbeth, with Jade as dangerous young (Indian!) Lady Macbeth, whispering poison in the ear of Mack, our innocent and good-turned-evil Macbeth figure (see what she did there?). It’s a highly unique take on the play, and I think it’s pretty effective and hell, I’ll say it: fun. 

However, there are a couple of sticking points for me. I could just not get into this writing. Man, it is dramatic and disjointed as all hell. The author continuously uses this format as a substitute for an adjective: “noun-adjective.” Here are a few, pulled from just the first couple of chapters:
“spirit smooth”  
She uses this format to the point where the words lose their meaning and just sound pretentious, like writing how a young person imagines adults to write. It seems like every sentence you read is on a new line, with the intended effect of making every sentence punchy, but with the reality of it seeming choppy and forced.

Realism is not really a consideration here. It is a fun romp in the world of teen murder and revenge, with some Heathers-esque mean girls (for that’s what they are - rich mean girls through and through, I can see myself getting bullied by them in high school) in the starring roles. But the dialogue is silly, something out of a bad movie rather than something that I’d believe sixteen-year-old girls would say to each other. They’re so dramatic and serious and murderous. And as other reviewers have pointed out, it is so unbelievable that Mack (our Macbeth, lest ye forget) would turn from innocent, handsome midfielder on the lacrosse team to power-hungry killer of his teammates in the span of a week. Hmmmm. I don’t think so. 

Overall, Foul is Fair is a wild ride on a rollercoaster young women so rarely get to hop on. Rage on, young mean ladies. But fair warning: be able to read choppy writing that feels entirely put on and believe some crazy plot holes.
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A set of content warnings is graciously provided in the front matter is Foul is Fair, noting that the book takes on rape (not depicted "on-screen" but remembered in broken fragments that could be triggering for readers), suicide, murder, and transphobic bullying. 

A razor-sharp, #timesup rape revenge retelling of Macbeth that recasts Lady Macbeth as a teenage girl plotting destruction against the prep school "golden boys" who raped her at a house party and which is as unflinchingly dark, angry, and cathartic as such a novel should be. As a spin on Macbeth, I felt that this novel was very refreshing in its handling of its source text and did some much more sophisticated reimagining than your average YA retelling, crafting something so very unique and painfully timely that even passing knowledge of Macbeth is not required. It's so easy for a retelling to become clunky and on-the-nose, but Foul is Fair never falls into that trap, largely thanks to its witchy, lyrical prose style and its unabashed approach to its content, which is brutal but not gratuitous.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing an e-copy of Foul is Fair in exchange for an honest review.
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I received a complimentary copy of Foul is Fair from NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Oh boy!  This one was hard to put down.  This coven of girls is vicious!!  Jade has been terribly wronged and is out for revenge in the highest degree.  Her friends are there for moral support, completing secret operations, and to simply egg her on.  Though many of the events in the book were cringe-worthy and some were just hard to imagine playing out the way they were written, it was kind of like watching a train-wreck....I just could not turn away!  I HAD to know how this story turned out.  It ended as I expected, but I was not disappointed, and it was a pretty good read overall.
Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC.
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Elle Khanjara is a sixteen year old with everything going for her. She is popular, comes from a wealthy family and with her three friends are the untouchable ones at their private school. For her sweet sixteen celebration Elle decides to gatecrash the party of the lacrosse club at another elite school with her friends knowing she is invincible. Unfortunately for her no one told that to the golden boys of St Andrew's Prep and she becomes the latest female victim of their depraved idea of how to have a good time.

Elle however, has no intention of remaining a victim for long and sets in motion a plan to find and destroy all those, male and female, who had anything to to do with what happened. She knows she has the ambition and ability to make everyone involved regret the day they met her and with her friends, her coven, she begins a reign of terror no one will see coming. 

Given that this book takes its plotline from 'the Scottish play' it is obvious it will be a bloodbath of epic proportions but it is also way more than that. I am not sure how realistic the everyday setting of St Andrew's Prep actually is as there seems very little control over the students who roam the hallways and park their expensive cars outside in a private lot. As for a responsible parent forget it, they would just get in the way of a good read!

That said I thoroughly enjoyed this romp through the murderous intentions of one wronged teenager who drags everyone else into her nightmare scenario and leaves very few of them alive to tell the tale. This book isn't 100% Macbeth and nor should it be as it works so much better this way because however well you know the original this version adds to and, in it's own setting, changes certain aspects to make things fit a little tighter. 

This is a clever, original take on something so well known it is easy to think there is nothing left to say about it. The characters are necessarily stereotypical but none the worse for that and as it is set in a world I know very little about I was surprised and delighted that I both read and enjoyed this book as much as I did.

I was able to read an advanced copy of this book thanks to NetGalley and the publishers in exchange for an unbiased review and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good old murderous tale full of blood, gore and retribution with a classic twist.
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Elle, aka Jade, and her three friends Mads, Summer, and Jenny have the means to exact revenge when a situation calls for it. They aren't new to retribution and when Elle is raped at a St. Andrew's Prep party, she calls in her friends to make the golden boys pay. One call from her father and she's the newest St. Andrew's Prep attendee and the plan starts taking shape. She will make the boys pay and have a blast doing it.

Jade starts with Mack, the seemingly innocent guy. If she can take down his friends and have it pinned on him all the better. She doesn't think he was at the party but he definitely knew they did something, so that makes him guilty, even if she thinks she's starting to catch feelings for him.

I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about this clicky, high school, drama mashup of classics, but I got sucked into the drama, the strength of the girl's convictions, the support of Jade's parents. It made it so hard to put down the book when it was time to go to bed. The level of dark in the girls is fantastic. You feel a bit on the outskirts of their conversations, sometimes stilted and short, you sense the evil in what they are planning without being completely privy to that plan.

I found myself cheering on the girls as things fell into place, I wanted them to get the revenge Jade needed to move on, and I highly praise Capin for putting me in such a position. I see other people comparing this to Macbeth, Kill Bill, and the Heathers, and I would say that is completely apt. It's a wild ride that you won't' want to get off.
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This is a fun read with a theme of everything being over-the-top in a good way!  It is violent and perfectly captures the fantasy of any girl that has had enough of being walked over!
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I really really liked this book. I was expecting to like it, just based on the premise of girls getting revenge- I am a fan of vengeance. However, I was not expecting the actuality of this book being a re-imagining of Shakespeare. The title is not just a nod because of the witches- the whole book is a very creative and modern retelling of Macbeth that focuses more on the women (Lady Macbeth and the three witches). My Lit major self really enjoyed picking things out like character and place names (Duncan, Malcolm, Inverness, etc). I also appreciated that the publisher and author included a trigger warning at the beginning of the book concerning the themes/events of the book that may be problematic for some readers. All in all I thoroughly enjoyed this book, both for the twist on a familiar tale, and the writing style itself. I look forward to seeing more books from Hannah Capin.
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Brilliant retelling of MacBeth. Well written novel of revenge. This book drives home the power of women and sisterhood. 
My only issue with the novel was the revenge angle was sometimes to easy and not believable.  

I recommend this book for anyone with a love for Shakespeares darker concepts!
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This is hands-down my favourite YA novel I've read this year. It's unapologetically DEVIOUS and downright DELICIOUS - and we all need a bit of that sometimes, don't we?!
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This book wasn’t for me. There was nothing wrong with the writing I just couldn’t get into it. There’s definitely people that will really enjoy this.
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I really loved this book!! It had so many twists and turns. It kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next!! This was my first book by this Author, and it won’t be the last!! Quick read!! Highly recommended!! You won’t be disappointed!!
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A modern Macbeth retelling....I loved this. I wasn't sure what to expect and I'm glad I didn't go in with expectations. This story is about revenge and I was hooked.  I will be picking up a copy once released!
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This MacBeth retelling blew my mind. It’s clearly not a tale for everyone - but I loved it! 

Such a well written tale of revenge - although a bit far fetched to say the least. 

I recommend this read for anyone with an open mind - imagination and love for the original Shakespeare concept! 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ From me. Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this gem in return for an honest review!
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I actually had a friend send me a physical copy of this arc because as much as I appreciate Publishers and Netgalley providing earcs, I prefer physical books. 
I unfortunately couldn't get into Foul is Fair despite the important subject matter or what platform I tried to read. I'm also confused about the cover. It looks cartoonish but it also looks like it's trying to be spooky? I don't know. 
I do think others will enjoy this book.
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