The Pale Assassin

( 14 )

Overview

This exciting novel about a teen aristocrat who must question the justice of her own wealth while facing the cataclysmic divisions of her society will captivate readers as secrets come out, sympathies shift, and every choice can change?or end?a life.

Spoiled, beautiful fourteen-year-old Eug?nie de Boncoeur is accustomed to outrageous privilege. The French Revolution may rage around her, but Eug?nie's luxurious lifestyle is only improved by ...

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Overview

This exciting novel about a teen aristocrat who must question the justice of her own wealth while facing the cataclysmic divisions of her society will captivate readers as secrets come out, sympathies shift, and every choice can change—or end—a life.

Spoiled, beautiful fourteen-year-old Eugénie de Boncoeur is accustomed to outrageous privilege. The French Revolution may rage around her, but Eugénie's luxurious lifestyle is only improved by visits from her brother, Armand, especially doting since the two were orphaned. What Eugénie doesn't know is that their guardian has promised her in marriage to the wealthy, vengeful Le Fantome, a revolutionary nursing a secret grudge against her family. As the Revolution becomes increasingly violent, Eugénie is shipped off to convent school. Finally, there is no place in France that is safe for her. Eugénie dusts off her lightly used brains and rises to the challenge of survival; and soon she is in the thick of turmoil and romance, confronting spies, secret agents, and double-crossing suitors in her quest to get out of France alive.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Jody Little
Fourteen-year old Eugenie de Boncoeur has grown up spoiled in the care of her wealthy guardian during the years prior to the French Revolution. Eugenie's governess tries to explain the troubles and struggles of the common French people to Eugenie, but Eugenie is not interested. Unbeknownst to Eugenie, her guardian arranges her future marriage to La Fantome, a dangerous man with a long-standing grudge against Eugenie's family. As the Revolution kicks into high gear, Eugenie is put into a convent to keep her safe; but soon the convent is attacked, Eugenie escapes and is reunited with her brother, Armand. Armand proceeds to find hiding places for Eugenie, mostly with the commoners of Paris. Meanwhile, Armand plots an escape to England where Eugenie can live with their uncle. The day of their planned escape is the day of King Louis XVI's execution. After Armand discovers that the plan to save the king and his family has failed, he decides to remain in Paris; and he sends Eugenie away with his friend, Julien de Fortin. Traveling in disguise with false identities, Eugenie and Julien must fool both the French and English authorities, and they must also avoid the dreaded La Fantome who is following their every move. Historical fiction fans will enjoy this fast-paced adventure filled with real and fictional characters, plot and character twists, and romance throughout. While the romance storyline of the novel is satisfying, readers may be disappointed with all the unanswered questions at the end. The author includes an interesting historical note on the French Revolution as well as a timeline of major events. Reviewer: Jody Little
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—The French Revolution forces spoiled Eugénie out of her privileged, narrow existence and into the larger world: hiding in decrepit houses, being hungry, and encountering starving peasants. Betrothed by her guardian to "Le Fantôme," the "richest man in Paris," who harbors a grudge against her family, Eugénie attempts to escape both him and increasingly dangerous France as her 16th birthday and wedding day approach. Her flight, while somewhat exciting to read about, is ultimately due to good fortune and the inexplicable help of others, and not the ill-conceived plan of her royalist brother and his compatriot. The strength of the novel is that it captures the mindset of a girl who has never considered the needs of others and the shock and fear the Revolution caused in the aristocracy. As a heroine, Eugénie isn't bad, just self-centered. While her brother stays behind in a country where his life is in danger, she thinks about her newest love interest. Other than being an unattractive lurker with cold hands, the "pale assassin" (the fiancé) isn't particularly scary. Purchase where historical fiction is popular.—Caroline Tesauro, Radford Public Library, VA
Kirkus Reviews
An exciting tale of deranged personal revenge plays out during and through the French Revolution. Eugenie and older brother Armand have no idea that ten years ago, in 1779, an assassin named Goullet swore eternal vengeance against their father for gambling losses and humiliation. Now orphaned, Eugenie and Armand live in Paris with a guardian who signs away Eugenie's hand in marriage-to Goullet, to be claimed when she comes of age. Goullet, a Javert-like figure, is both sadistic stalker and powerful politician. Between 1789 and 1793, Paris degenerates into bloody chaos and fury. Armand falls in love with constitutionalism even while remaining a royalist; Eugenie begins to recognize her economic privilege but still covets fashion and frivolity. The text flows seamlessly between viewpoints and masterfully conveys the Revolution's political complexities, with idealism, bitterness and power-lust blending murkily. Even the romantic plotline is inextricable from themes of spying and deception. As King Louis XVI falls under the guillotine, Goullet pursues Eugenie and a friend fleeing for the English Channel. Violent, thrilling and poised for continuation. (cast of historical and fictional characters, historical note, timeline) (Historical fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823422500
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/28/2009
  • Pages: 336
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 840L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia Elliott's previous novels for young adults have received acclaim. Of Murkmere, School Library Journal said, "Readers will not be able to put the book down." Of its companion, Ambergate, Booklist raved, "The entire cast is exceptionally drawn." This is her first book for Holiday House. Patricia Elliot lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 14 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(8)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(0)

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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    I Actually Loved It

    When I first saw this book, I was like ok maybe I'll get around to reading it, maybe not. I brought it to the beach with me, and got bored so I decided to read it. I couldn't put the book down. I finished it in 2 days. I loved it! Maybe it's because I'm really into events/books that happened/took place way back then, so I think thats what made me like it even more, but I really recommend it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2012

    It was amazing

    It takes you to another period of time. It has history, romance, and adventure. I didn't like the end though, because you don'tknow what happened next. Maybe she's going to write another one that continious

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 24, 2011

    highly recommended

    great book love twist and turns in it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2011

    Okay but the ending leaves you with so many questions

    the book was amazing up until the ending. they left me asking so many more questions. i mean the main character falls in love with this guy while her brother was captured by the rebels. the ending just left me without knowing what happens to the brother and frankly the main character didn't even seem like she cared! My opinion don't read the book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2011

    Good

    I really like this story and the history behind it. I love how the author included a character list and a French Revolution timeline, it helped with the confusing parts. It was left open for a sequel and I was wondering if she will continue it or not.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2010

    Highlt Recommended

    My daughter's favorite book! She could not put it down. I picked it up, and I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Good

    I can only describe this book as "good" instead of brilliant or even great. The main character had the horrendous mindset of a child (actually she was a child) which forced the reader to see the French Revelation through a naive and somewhat spoiled pair of eyes. However, the historical accuracy of this book is great and based on a very well construed time line. I may have made a mistake in that I read Sovay by Celia Rees before this book and the two heroines just were not in the same league.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Pale Assassin

    This book has beautiful writing and is the first first book I have been addicted to since Twilight and The Hunger Games! The story line is great because it fits in with the time and place. She even has a Timeline of the French Revolution in the back of the book! The dates are perfectly set to things that has happening in France and to the characters in the story. I like how Elliot truly describes her characters well and builds a strong idea of their past and present lives. She really did the research needed for this book and even has the writing to make it wonderful! I would definitely recommend this book for Young Adults and Teens.

    The only problem I find with it though is that the writing is sometimes challenging. At times I will have to read over a paragraph 2-3 times just ti fully understand it. The writing is very detailed and intricate. even though this makes it challenging, it also makes it very beautiful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    It was okay...

    It was an okay book... a good read if you are really bored at home one day.... I wouldn't read it again though. It wasn't THAT interesting....

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2009

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    Posted December 10, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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