Thursday, March 8, 2018

Review: Cadaver & Queen by Alisa Kwitney

Cadaver & QueenTitle: Cadaver & Queen 
Author:  Alisa Kwitney
Publisher: Harlequin Teen 
Publishing Date:  February 27th, 2018
Pages: 320
Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Retelling/Sci-Fi
Series:  Stand Alone
Source: Audio
When Lizzie Lavenza enrolled at Ingold as its first female medical student, she knew she wouldn't have an easy time. From class demands to being an outsider among her male cohorts, she'll have to go above and beyond to prove herself. So when she stumbles across what appears to be a faulty Bio-mechanical--one of the mechanized cadavers created to service the school--she jumps at the chance to fix it and get ahead in the program.

Only this Bio-mechanical isn't like the others. Where they are usually empty-minded and perfectly obedient, this one seems to have thoughts, feelings...and self-awareness.

Soon Lizzie realizes that it is Victor Frankenstein--a former student who died under mysterious circumstances. Victor, it seems, still has a spark of human intelligence inside him, along with memories of things he discovered before his untimely death...and a suspicion that he was murdered to keep that information from getting out.Suddenly Lizzie finds herself intertwined in dark secrets and sabotage that put her life, and the lives of Victor and their friends, in danger. But Lizzie's determined to succeed--even if that means fighting an enemy who threatens the entire British Empire.

What drew me to this book was the cover. I know I would have added it to my TBR just on the cover but  I did read the synopsis... then I knew I needed to add it to my TBR. Frankenstein- check, Sci-Fi- check, historical fiction- check. I needed this book.  I was very happy to see it on audible and had it preordered. I just adored this book. It was a little slow at the beginning but I felt the need to keep listening. Slow yes, boring no. Its definitely a slow burn read and it was done well. 
Lizzie is a female medical student in a world where this was not the norm, or even accepted. She is treated differently and kept from some of the lessons because she is a girl. I know! But Lizzie is smart and she finds a way. Of course being a girl of science, she is curious and this is how she one day stumbles upon Victor. After a couple of encounters, Victor decides to help her with her anatomy since she is not allowed to work with a cadaver. I know! 

Victor is biomechanical. Half dead and half metal that was reanimated. He wakes up one day with only some memory and surprised to find that he is biomechanical. He is determined to find out what happened to him and why it happened. With the help of Lizzie, they start to unravel the mystery of the biomechanical, Victors death, and more secrets the medical school is hiding. 

This book was so good guys. Like I said a little slow in the beginning but wow the story was amazing and thought provoking and the ending. The ending was just BAM and so so good. The only sad part is it's a stand-alone. 

So the story is very interesting. The plotline is complex. It isn't just about Lizzie or Victor or the school. It's about these things and more even. Lizzie is trying to fit in and learn and accidentally gets involved with Victor which in turn leads to trouble. Victor wakes up as a biomechanical but has memories and emotions and through processes beyond his orders. He also thinks he was killed because of something he knows. Hence the trouble. There is also part of the plotline that involves armies and the Queen of England and a girl who is dying and helpless and stuck in a room for most of her life. They all, of course, are intertwined but I loved how they were all sort of their own stories too. Oh, and of course there is romance. 

I want to take a moment to talk about the romance. The romance is not the center of the story but its there of course. It's so sweet too. I mean a little fast probably but the book really doesn't have a definite amount of time that the story takes place. So as it felt fast maybe it was months. Not really sure. It started off as kindness, then intrigue, then friendship, then hormones, then more.  Victor is too sweet and so swoony for a biomechanical.

Both the main characters are very smart and moral. I love how they come to question not just the science but what is wrong and what is right. Also the question of what makes a monster and is being a monster better than being dead. They question everything but I guess that is because they are scientists. I love sci-fi when the moral lines are being thought through. 

Lizzie is a great heroine and I can't say enough about her. In a time where a woman isn't allowed the same opportunities as men, she shines. She makes her own way. Too stubborn to care about rules if they don't seem fair to her. She knows she is as smart if not smarter than any man in the medical classes and she is determined not to allow being a woman keep her from her dream. She is also fearless... I love a fearless woman. She is super kind and caring too. Yup, I just adored her. 

Like I said the story moves a little slow but there is so much build up for the story and world and also a lot of time is take to carefully reveal things as they need to be revealed. Which is why I am okay with it being a little slow. Sometimes stories just need the slow reveal, the slow build, the slow burn. 

I really wish this was a series..... 

Kind of adored this book. 

Alisa Kwitney
I'm the author of YA, graphic novels and novels for adults who still feel young, at least most of the time.
My latest books are Cadaver & Queen from Harlequin Teen, a Feminist Frankenstein meets Grey's Anatomy tale, and Mystik U from DC Comics, which features Zatanna and other magical characters in their first year at college.
My first novel, Till the Fat Lady Sings, is also about college and romance and eating disorders. (It was my thesis at Columbia University's MFA Program, where I felt like an outlier for liking comic books and romance as much as literature.) I was an editor at Vertigo, the mature/dark fantasy branch of DC Comics, before going freelance. (I've also written two hormonal werewolf books as Alisa Sheckley.)
I live in an old house in Rhinebeck, NY with my husband, my cat, and the occasional visiting skunk.


  1. gaah I really want to read this, it looks so exciting and I love Strong characters. Also a bit sad to hear its a standalone

  2. Ooh, you've made this sound fantastic! Definitely adding it to my TBR--great review!

  3. I haven’t seen this book at all. You are right, the cover is stunning. It totally grabbed my eye. However, I am glad to know that this is more than a gorgeous cover. The story sounds really interesting, and I like that the romance isn’t the main focus, and I am okay with a stand alone. It is nice to get a solid stand alone. I will see if I can hunt this up at my library. Thanks for the recommendation.

  4. I love that cover and this one sounds SO COOL! Excellent review.


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