The Sisters of Reckoning by Charlotte Nicole Davis
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The Good Luck Girls are free. Aster’s sister and friends have new lives across the border in Ferron, while Aster remains in Arketta, helping more girls escape. But news of a new welcome house opening fills Aster with a need to do more than just help individual girls. And an unexpected reunion gives her an idea of how to do it. From there, grows a wildly ambitious plan to free all dustbloods, who live as prisoners to Arketta’s landmasters and debt slavery.
When Clementine and the others return from Ferron, they become the heart of a vibrant group of fearless fighters, working to unite the various underclasses and convince them to join in the fight. Along the way, friendships will be forged, lives will be lost, and love will take root even in the harshest of circumstances, between the most unexpected of lovers.
But will Arketta’s dustbloods finally come into power and freedom, or will the resistance just open them up to a new sort of danger?
DISCLAIMER: I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
One year after The Good Luck Girls ended, the girls from Green Creek are still fighting.
Though Aster, Clementine, Tansy, Mallow, and Violet may have escaped the welcome house, they’re not free yet. In Arketta, there are still so many girls forced into welcome houses, and still so many more dustbloods toiling away under the control of wealthy, cruel fairblood masters. With the girls treading their own paths, Aster most notably with the Lady Ghosts, they’re doing what they can to turn the system around and secure the freedom of girls who are just like them.
But when Arketta’s most influential men tighten their merciless grip on the world, Aster decides it’s time to stop dancing around the system, toying with it from the inside, and time to start burning it all down.
Ready or not, the Sisters of Reckoning are here, and the fire will only burn brighter.
“Either they pay with their pockets, or they pay with their lives.”
The Sisters of Reckoning is, at heart, a story about revolution. It’s about what happens when the system refuses to hear the demands of the people it’s hurt, and the consequences that follow. It’s about people recognizing a common enemy instead of finding small comforts in tearing one another down instead. There’s no point, after all, in attacking your neighbor when you’re both suffering because of someone else. You have to start at the source, and you have to hit where it hurts, or else you’ll never see real results.
More importantly, though, this is about Aster’s role as just one person, as just a single spark. Alone, she has no hope of tearing Arketta’s institutions down. It’s not possible, and she learns that the hard way more than once. From the bottom of my heart, I love that her actions have dire consequences, and yet she never gives up. There’s an incredible diligence to her character that makes her an amazing protagonist, and makes her faults all the more believable.
Aster also has this willingness to grow, a tentative sort of hope that stretches out towards other characters. This is what makes the revolution real, what makes the spark turn into a roaring flame. She becomes willing to reach out and ask for help, even when there is no guarantee she’ll receive it, and she learns to face her faults as her allies point them out. She is the figurehead of the Sisters of Reckoning not only because she has done extraordinary things, but because she has not done them alone.
Revolution is difficult, it’s daunting, but it is always stronger with many at its heart, not just one.
And if you’re looking for a side of love with that revolution, The Sisters of Reckoning has your back!
Oh man. Oh man. I was hopeful throughout The Good Luck Girls that the romance would take the direction I liked most. And not only did it do just that, but it did it with an incredible tenderness. The slowburn moments are exquisite, brimming with a soft intimacy that stands in such defiance to the hard, dusty world that seeks to beat our protagonists down, and the moment of realization?
Okay, it’s pretty much a textbook gay crisis in a way that warms my heart endlessly. ❤️
So much of it, though, involves Aster learning for herself exactly what she needs in a relationship, exactly where her boundaries are and for whom, and watching her piece that part of herself together was so encouraging. She doesn’t have all the answers, and that’s so very real! How much of her experience with attraction is who she’s always been? How much is tangled up in her history at the Green Creek welcome house? It’s impossible to know, to quantify, and ultimately, it doesn’t matter. What matters is what she feels now, who she trusts now, and I adored every second of watching her lower the barriers around her heart and let her love interest in at last.
And as a cherry on top, I loved the queer rep throughout. Tansy and Mallow return, sapphic as ever (and Mallow could reasonably be considered two-spirit, as well), while we also meet Raven, a black trans girl with vitiligo and a steadiness of heart I adored. Violet is effectively bisexual, and now that I’ve finished reading, I can’t help but think of Aster as a demiromantic ace lesbian.
The beauty of all that is that no hard and fast labels are typically used. You can’t argue that Raven is trans, or that Tansy and Mallow are sapphic, but you have the wiggle room to recognize shared experiences without boxing any of the characters in. Most everyone is a little nebulous in a way that’s wholly realistic, and I love it so very, very much.
I can’t recommend this duology enough.
The seamless blend of fantasy and Wild West is exquisite, and the character development outrageously nuanced. And when you get to the complexities of revolution, the sacrifice involved, the consequences that unfurl? Really, this book is a roaring work of art, and if you haven’t started The Good Luck Girls yet, it’s high time you do.
And for those of you who already read the first book, some of you may rejoice! If you dislike lots of traveling and prefer action blended with intrigue, this might even be more your speed. I personally missed some of the travel elements, because I like exploring fantasy worlds, but it was an excellent change of pace all the same.
You can’t go wrong with The Sisters of Reckoning. More than that, you can’t ignore. It’s long past time for that.
CW: slavery, pedophilia, violence (including gun violence), implied transphobia, gore, implied abuse, loss of a loved one, child death, suicide