About the Book
In a thrilling new fantasy from the bestselling author of the Storm Siren Trilogy, one girl makes a stand against society and enters a world made exclusively for boys.
Every year for the past fifty-four years, the residents of Pinsbury Port have received a mysterious letter inviting all eligible-aged boys to compete for an esteemed scholarship to the all-male Stemwick University. The poorer residents look to see if their names are on the list. The wealthier look to see how likely their sons are to survive. And Rhen Tellur opens it to see if she can derive which substances the ink and parchment are created from, using her father’s microscope.
In the province of Caldon, where women train in wifely duties and men pursue collegiate education, sixteen-year-old Rhen Tellur wants nothing more than to become a scientist. As the poor of her seaside town fall prey to a deadly disease, she and her father work desperately to find a cure. But when her mum succumbs to it as well? Rhen decides to take the future into her own hands—through the annual all-male scholarship competition.
With her cousin, Seleni, by her side, the girls don disguises and enter Mr. Holm’s labyrinth, to best the boys and claim the scholarship prize. Except not everyone is ready for a girl who doesn’t know her place. And not everyone survives the deadly maze.
In My Opinion
I thoroughly enjoyed Mary Weber’s last couple of books (The Evaporation of Sofi Snow and Reclaiming Shilo Snow) and the cover of her 2019 release is just amazing. Plus, what gal’s interest wouldn’t be piqued with that title? Yet there was one thing about this book that didn’t quite click with me in To Best the Boys.
The build up to the labyrinth took too long. The book was halfway over before the players entered the maze. Yes, I understand the need for some of the background and introduction to Rhen and her group but it slowed the beginning down meaning I didn’t get pulled into the story as quickly as I had in Weber’s other reads.
That said, the pace most definitely picked up once the challenge begins, and everyone is fighting for the prize. I loved that the tasks in the maze were psychological as well as tests of intelligence and character. I also appreciate the diversity of the characters and their abilities. In and out of the maze, the supporting cast deal with some learning and physical disabilities.
As Rhen takes a stand against the oppression her society harbors toward women, she gives girls—both young and old—a message of empowerment through her actions.
I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.