Golden Girl, by Sarah Zettel

Sarah Zettel's novel Dust Girl was one of my favorite books of 2012, which meant I was equally excited and nervous to read Golden Girl, the next book in the series. Middle books in trilogies are tough to get right, so I was thrilled to find that Golden Girl is just as entertaining as its predecessor—and possibly even weirder. (In case you missed it, Dust Girl featured a nightmarish scene involving ravenous hotel guests in Dust Bowl-era Kansas who were secretly gigantic locusts, so describing the next installment as “possibly even weirder” is quite the tribute.)

It's 1935, and Callie LeRoux and her friend Jack have traveled from Slow Run, Kansas to Hollywood, searching for Callie's kidnapped parents—her white human mother and dark-skinned father, a fairy prince of the Unseelie Court. The glamor of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie studio has attracted the attention of the Seelie and Unseelie Courts, making it a particularly dangerous place for Callie, who is a valuable target for both groups of fairies. Callie is clever and resourceful, but rescuing her parents won't be easy, even with Jack's help, her budding friendship with the (clearly Shirley Temple-inspired) child star Ivy Bright, and the guidance of the singer and actor Paul Robeson, who seems to have an inexplicable resistance to fairy magic.

While it lacks any single scene that could compete with the hungry locusts in Dust Girl (although a remarkably creepy sequence involving Callie's parents trapped in a never-ending vaudeville act comes close), Golden Girl does an even better job of building a consistent sense of danger and dread. The spectacular plot climax—which involves a dragon, a Hollywood sound set, and one of William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davies's infamous parties—provides readers with just enough closure to satisfy, while still leaving plenty of tantalizing loose ends for the final installment, next year's Bad Luck Girl.

Review based on publisher-provided copy.
Posted by: Julianka


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