Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley, HarperCollins Children's Books, and Balzer + Bray for the opportunity to read an advanced reader's copy of this book for an honest review. (Publish Date: 14 Feb 2023)

The moment I saw that “Revelle” was inspired by Moulin Rouge but included characters with magical abilities and was set in Prohibition-era New York, I was sold!

Debut author Lyssa Mia Smith writes in such a captivating way that I was hooked for the entire book. The sudden twists and turns kept me guessing. I absolutely loved the duel point of view that flip flopped between Luxe and Jamison. I really liked the main characters from the very beginning and was excited to uncover Luxe’s secret magical powers and Jamison’s mysterious past.

I’m usually skeptical of standalone books not being able to wrap everything up in the end, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much the closure the author provided for the reader. While I would never turn down a sequel, I was very happy with how this book ended.

Overall, I highly recommend this book to any YA readers who are interested in a magical version of Moulin Rouge with a New York twist.

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I did enjoy this. The characters were fun although the plot was fairly predictable. There wasn't anything about it that felt particularly historical despite it ostensibly being set in the 1920s. Because it was set on a magical island separate from the rest of the world it didn't feel grounded in reality. The only thing that was taken from the time period was Prohibition.

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I really wanted to love this one because I love Moulin Rouge. However, I did not like the main characters. They seemed distant and stereotypical. The romance was very instantaneous. Still, the writing was the best part of the novel. It was very lyrical with vivid imagery. I also loved the world-building. Thus, I recommend this for fans of Caraval and The Night Circus!

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Thanks to the publisher & Netgalley for the complimentary e-ARC. All opinions provided are my own. ​

Circus settings always intrigue me—besides being so far removed from my own life, in books they often feel so whimsical and theatrical with great potential for drama.

Lyssa Mia Smith’s Revelle has all of that, featuring a resourceful, supremely talented family with Luxe, a cunning & loyal trapeze artist as the protagonist & secret leader of her family doing whatever she can to help them survive & hopefully even flourish.

While this book is ultimately hopeful it’s also darker than I expected, with violence & death & attempts of both throughout the book. This is a world where magic takes its toll, where not everyone gets along, where people are often at the mercy of those with the most powerful magic & those willing to stoop to any act to maintain their power.

The story is inventive, there’s sweetness in how Luxe forges a relationship with island newcomer Jamison Port, & there’s an intriguing characterization of her as more cynical & canny & him as more gullible.

Both Luxe & Jamison are brave & loyal & that’s how we get the ending we do, despite the darkness in other moments of the story.

All things considered, Revelle is unsettling & dynamic, a bit dark for me but sure to please many readers!

4⭐️. Out now!

Please read a trusted reviewer's list of CWs.

[ID: Jess's white hand holds the ebook over a bamboo plant stand filled with various plants. A window and deck floor are in the background and a blue rug is on the floor.]

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Revelle is the name of one of the famous magical families that lives on the island of Charmant, where magical and non magical families live together. Each family is known for their special magic, the Revelles can charm others if given a jewel and the Chrono’s can time travel. Use of magic comes with a price and the user has to determine if it’s worth it. When Luxe Revelle, star of a carnival show, finds herself face to face with a stranger she thinks is Dewey Chronos, she starts to realize she may have found herself a stranger worth keeping around. The catch? The Revelle family is in desperate need of alcohol and this conniving Dewey Chronos is the only bootlegger in town that can keep the booze going so the Revelle’s can keep their tent open for their shows. But no Chronos will make a deal that won’t benefit them. With Luxe stuck in this undesirable situation for the sake of her family, she debates how much of herself is really worth giving up.

This book involves love, magic, and a mystery revolving around this fake Dewey Chronos. I found this book to be interesting and intriguing, especially since I’ve been getting more into fantasy books. I would rate this book 3/5 stars and found it to be a good debut novel.

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I was blessed with an arc copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions of this book are my own. This book is inspired by Moulin Rougue. It is centered in prohibition America in place known as Charmant. In Charmant there are 5 magical families based there: The Revelles, Chronos, Strattoris, Effigens, and Edwardians each with their own magical ability. Both magical and non magical people inhabit the island.

With prohibition plaguing everywhere the Revelles are struggling. Alcohol is a very important part of them turning a profit as inebriated states loosen purses and inhibitions. The revelles perform sultry circus acts as a way to each gems. Gems are the currency in Charmant and also the source of power needed to use their abilities.

The book is written in two perspectives, one being Luxe. Luxe is special and knows how to use her abilities without the use of a gem a secret between her uncle and herself. As a result Luxe is made star of the show, despite her cousin being the more deserving of the honor. Luxe has to isolate herself from her cousins and other family members to hide her secret and keep everyone safe.

The other perspective you read from is Jamison. Jamison is an orphan boy that travels to Charmant with his two friends Rhys, a Chronos, and Roger, a Revelle in order to seek answers about who his family was. Jamison instantly feels a connection to Luxe just from the site of her picture.

Of course a good book always has a big obstacle to face and Revelle's obstacle is a wealthy man name Dewey Chronos. Dewey propositions Luxe to pretend to be his girl as he runs for mayor in trade for booze, a theatre, and protection for her family.

This read was so good. The first few chapters I struggled with liking the characters but as we heard more from their perspectives it changed everything for me. I found myself gasping in surprise as plot twist after plot twist revealed itself, I cried, and I smiled. This was a really great read, I HIGHLY recommend it if you like magic based books and plot twists!

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This book totally lived up to the hype -- in fact, it deserves more! The setting in this story is very neat -- it feels like second-world fantasy, but the island of Charmant is actually off the coast of New York. The magic is complex and interesting and well thought-out. But it's the characters, whether infinitely full of love or unspeakably cruel, that make the book. This debut is so impressive -- I'm so glad I read it!

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3.5/5 ⭐️
This book definitely felt very reminiscent of Moulin Rouge with a hint of magical wonder like in Caraval, Where Dream’s Descend, and Night Circus. However, it was also grittier, less shiny at parts.
I really enjoyed the magic system in this book, it was super fascinating. The different families with different types of magic, and the price/limitations for each of them. And I really enjoyed the second half of the book. The first half had potential, but was laden down by repetitively telling us their tragic backstories or the price of magic. It felt too much like hitting us over the head with the information, like we wouldn’t recall it.
Overall, it was an entertaining read. And I would recommend this to anyone who is craving to keep within a magical circus like world.
Thank you to NetGalley & Harper’s Collin for providing an advance reader copy for my honest review.

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"Love, I'd learned, is its own sort of magic, an elixir powerful enough to soothe even the deepest of wounds."

I want to preface by saying this was not a bad book. It just wasn't the right book for me.

Which pains me to admit because if a 1920's, Moulin Rouge retelling doesn't have my name ALL over it, I don't know what does. But perhaps that's the problem right there: my musical-loving heart may have been too overhyped diving in. Or maybe it was simply the right book, but the wrong time because there was a lot to love about this YA fantasy.

The good? The setting and inspiration (obviously), the side characters, and the magic system. The most intriguing part of the novel -- by far -- was the various magical elements honed by the families of Charmant. I enjoyed reading about the rules and costs of each skillset and how they were utilized across the island. These led to some of the biggest twists in the storyline, which were my favorite portions of the story.

The bad? The love story itself never truly hit the mark for me. It lacked the passion and production of the Christian and Satine I was raised on, and I was yearning for that feeling. I did enjoy Luxe and Jamison's moments together, but I never felt completely under their spell.

I also didn't love that Luxe kept such a large burden on her shoulders. I feel like so much could have been resolved by being open and honest out of the gate, but I understand that was needed for the story to get from a to z.

Come what may, this clever debut displayed enough promise to have me following where Smith heads next.

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Camp!!! I had a fun time reading and was super interested in the characters and story!! Loved Luxe 🫶

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Revelle was truly an enjoyable book with one of the most intricate magic systems I've seen in a YA fantasy. It draws inspiration from Moulin Rouge, which is one of my favorite movies of all time.

This book is a split POV novel, following the main characters Luxe Revelle and Jamison Port. Luxe comes from one of five magical families on the island of Charmant, across the harbor from New York. The Revelle family has the power to charm people into believing or feeling certain ways, using precious gems. Jamison is an orphan whose only desire in life is to find out what happened to his parents, that is, until he meets Luxe.

Following the plot of Moulin Rouge, of course there is a mixed identity situation, and Luxe mistakes Jamison for a different person - Dewey Chronos, the eldest son from the Chronos family. The Chronos family is another one of the magical families on Charmant with the power to travel back in time.
Once the identity situation is resolved, Luxe agrees to a fake dating situation with Dewey in order to secure liquor for her family, as this story takes place in the 1920s during the Prohibition. Magic, forbidden romances, and tragic family backstories ensue.

I have to say, this story really took me by surprise. I was always expecting one thing to be the truth, only to find out I was horribly wrong. I can't say this is the first time this has happened to me, which makes me wonder if perhaps I'm not critical enough when looking for clues. Regardless, this story was fast-paced, and I constantly wanted to sit down and find out what happened next. I adored (almost) every character. The side characters were just as, if not more, interesting than the lead characters.

For the first few chapters I felt horribly confused, but the world was explained pretty quickly, thankfully. I worried that maybe there was just too much going on, and while trying to explain the synopsis to a friend, they claimed that it sounded like too much was happening in the book. (I do think that was due to my poor explanation skills, I'm not good at being concise.) The author did a good job at balancing relationship building, magic explaining, and the mystery happening on the island without it feeling overwhelming.

To me, there were only two flaws with the book- the time setting wasn't clear enough, and the romance was too insta-love. I know that the relationship being an insta-love relationship is true to the inspiration behind the story, as Christian and Satine do have an instant romance, however I think that Jamison should have had a little more reason to love Luxe so much (other than “awooga pretty lady lemme jump off this balcony.”) As for the time era the story was set in, it never really felt like the 1920s to me. Other than a throwaway mention of flappers or a few “Cats pajamas” thrown around during dialogue, the characters felt very modern, and the setting felt ambiguous. This isn't a huge deal to me, I was more interested in the side characters (Trevor heart eyes) and the magic.

(*Spoilers * I can forgive authors for many things, but I will not forgive her for what she did to Trevor.)

I would probably not recommend this book to a reader that is new to the fantasy genre, but I will be recommending it to everyone who enjoys fantasy and enjoys musical theatre. I would gladly read another story set on this island about a different set of characters. I think that the Edwardian family was so intriguing and would love to learn more about them.

Rating this 4.5 stars, rounding up to 5.

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Super unique, flashy and dreamy. Loved the high stakes and tension, which always make a romance even stronger.

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I struggled to rate this one. I’d give it a 3.5 but I rounded up to 5 stars. Overall I enjoyed the story but it could have been so much better. The world building was lacking. It’s supposed to be set in 1920’s prohibition era but it never felt like that to me. Also the time travel magic aspect was confusing to me throughout most of the book. Things make more sense at the end so if you feel the need to dnf keep going.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this novel. What a magical fantasy set in prohibition era! It was truly delightful and a fast paced read!

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DNF @ 40%

Sorry, this book was not giving what it advertised. Prohibition era Coney Island with magic sounds amazing. But where was the world building and the vibes? The magic system was the only somewhat explained situation. If you told me this took place in modern day or the 1800s I would have said sure, because it was so random.

Already the relationship was insta-love, which is a no go for me. And very prevalent in books I keep requesting ARCs of, apparently. When will I learn to stay away from YA by authors I don’t already love?

Thank you to NetGalley for an eARC, all opinions my own.

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This was a page-turning, romantic, innovative fantasy world. I would die for the characters and tore through this story. Cannot wait for Smith's next!

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I truly enjoyed Revelle. This magical spin on Moulin Rouge, one of my favorite movie-musicals, felt close enough to its original inspiration, but felt fresh with its crucial changes to the setting and plotline. Moulin Rouge, itself, is an updating of Puccini's opera Boheme, so Lyssa Mia Smith's storytelling wraps an old story in newer clothes. The magical Prohibition setting works well for this revamp. It was a little hard to navigate the characters and story at first since the reader is thrust into a world with magical families set in Prohibition-Era America, but the timeless themes of political intrigue, love, and backroom dealings were brought to life through Smith's main characters of Luxe, Jamison, and Dewey. Thankfully, Smith does not follow step for step plot of Moulin Rouge, so readers who haven't seen the movie will not feel lost if they do not get the references. From Luxe's ability to read and control other people's feelings to Dewey's time-traveling talent, Jamison must unravel is confllicted feelings for Luxe and the mystery of his long-lost parents. Pick up Revelle if you want some magic and mystery mixed in with your bootlegging and spectacle!

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I love à boom with Moulin Rouge vibes, so this was just what I needed! I loved every moment! It drew me in and kept me captive. Absolutely highly recommend!

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This book had a really good premise, but it lacked some key components that would have made this book shine.

The magic system in this book was done well. On the island of Charmant, there are families that each have a specific magical ability. Each of these abilities was well thought out and unique. This addition really made the book stand out in the YA fantasy genre.

Revelle is based on the '20s around the Prohibition era. This really gave the author the perfect opportunity to build an incredible atmosphere, but this book missed the mark. There was nothing that made this book feel like it was from the Prohibition era. It lacked the world-building that would have made this book come to life. Even the clothing descriptions could have helped with this (think of the costumes that could have been described!) but very few details were given. How they spoke at times seemed too modern for what was supposed to be a hundred years ago.

The characters were not great. Our main character, Luxe, often victimizes herself and plays the part of "not like other girls." The love interest had no personality to speak of, except for falling instantly in love with Luxe, and I do mean instantly. Since I had no investment in either of them, the book did drag on for me. The side characters were much more interesting, with backgrounds and personalities that drew me in.

(this next section is not in my Goodreads review, since it contains spoilers, and the book has not yet come out)

Two things happened at the very beginning of the book that set up the whole plot line. The problem was, they felt like pretty big plot holes. When Luxe first charms Jamison, she thinks he is Dewey. Yet in the book, it is very clear that Jamison and Dewey do not look alike at all. It is briefly mentioned that Dewey was sick a lot as a child and was not seen out in public often. Yet, if Dewey was her mark, would not it make sense for her to scope him out ahead of time, and figure out what he looked like? At this point he is the youngest bootlegger and is no longer home bound. It seems pretty unbelievable that neither Luxe or her uncle would try to confirm what he looked like ahead of time.

Jamison's main goal in the book is to learn about his past, specifically his parents. He recognizes a photo's background in a picture Luxe has, that is the same as background in a photo of his parents. However, the background was just a dock and a beach. There is nothing to distinguish it or differentiate it from any other dock or beach, yet he still somehow recognized it? If the author had included that the dock had a specific symbol or defining characteristic, this would have made sense. Otherwise, it just felt like it was asking me to suspend my disbelief a little too much.

(Review is posted to Goodreads now but will be reshared closer to release date.)

Edit (February 14th):
Review has been reshared on Goodreads, and posted on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

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“Love, I’d learned, is its own sort of magic, an elixir powerful enough to soothe even the deepest of wounds.”

What a beautiful, lush, indulgent read! I was immediately sucked into Luxe’s world on Charmont! The writing was so immersive and truly brought all my senses to life. This story is a wild ride filled with so many twists and turns. I loved how close the Revelle family was and how they would do anything for each other. I also enjoyed the theme of found family throughout. Luxe and Jamison had great chemistry and I loved their stolen moments. The true villain revealed in this story was perfection. I really loved the way that was done. Also the magical elements were very unique and fun, but they also went over my head — especially the time traveling. Totally recommend this YA debut!

Thank you to HarperCollins Children’s Books for the advanced copy. My thoughts are my own.

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