To Best The Boys – By Mary Weber

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Goodreads Synopsis: 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.

Welcome to the Labyrinth.

Find on Goodreads and Amazon.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

To Best The Boys starts off with our character Rhen dissecting a dead body and then antics ensue. I was actually really drawn in by the first chapter and was excited to keep reading.  Maybe I just waited too long to come back to the book, or maybe it wasn’t just for me but I ended up quitting it.

For me the story just seemed to move so slowly.  Which was disappointing after the first chapter was so well paced and funny. And while Rhen was a half decent character the plot was just not that interesting. We’ve all read stories about people who have to save their parents before they die of some plague. It’s not new and I found it boring. It didn’t help that Rhen’s mother was a one sided character that I just couldn’t feel for.  Both of her parents felt like cliches.

The writing style was also not my favorite, it felt clunky and of course it didn’t help that the ARC I got was so badly formatted. I’m getting really tired of poor quality ARCs from NetGalley.

In the end I didn’t even make it to where Rhen is in the labyrinth, I was so bored and didn’t want to read another straight romance. I gave this book two stars because at least the book was about a girl interested in science.

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