Review: The Sisters Mederos by Patrice Sarath


The Sisters Mederos by Patrice Sarath // VBC ReviewThe Sisters Mederos
Patrice Sarath
Published: April 3, 2018 (Angry Robot)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Beth

Rating (out of 5): 3.5 stars

Yvienne Mederos is the eldest sister, Tesara the youngest of the pair, daughters of a successful merchant and his wife. When they are forced into poverty and sent to a “school,” one that teaches them only how to assume jobs as servants, they are both holding on to secrets. Yvienne—that she has sworn to seem revenge on the person responsible for their family’s downfall. Tesara—that she is the one responsible for the sinking of the fleet that ultimately led to the loss of everything they had known before. Can these two sisters, keeping tremendous secrets, work together to regain what they have lost? Or will their separate secrets send them to the grave?

Set in the 1800s, it’s a time of coming-out balls, merchants that can become fabulously wealthy by gambling on the vagaries of shipping, and those who are determined to become wealthy on the backs of others. The Mederos family lives in a large seaside town, one with a port for the fleets that leave regularly. Lots of fabulous homes for the wealthy and everything that goes with that. Little of the town is truly the focus in the book, but the feel for it manages to come through nonetheless. Their home is not the childhood manse they grew up in, but a small humble abode that contains the sisters, their parents, and an uncle.

The sisters themselves are very different—both underestimating the other, as sisters often do. Both strong-willed in their own way, and both changed by the situation they find themselves in. I did enjoy them, however I felt nothing but aggravation for the elders in the family. Mother is a harridan who seems to have been so defined by the wealth and privileges they used to enjoy, that she’s become bitter and angry—and treats both of her daughters terribly. Their father is such a vague presence that he may as well not even exist. In some ways, it seems like many of the supposed “adults in the room” are pretty much detestable, while the younger set actually are more human. They have flaws and foibles, but they don’t just come across as hollow, terrible people.

The story itself was entertaining enough. There are all kinds of hijinks that ensue once the girls are recalled from their school—most at the hands of the young ladies, or started by them in one way or another. A few of the happenings seemed a bit convenient, and there are definitely some loose ends when the book finished. A couple of characters that went completely unexplained, some actions that may have future consequences…but the book does have a complete ending, not some sort of cliffhanger. The magic within plays a smallish part in this book, but I have a feeling that it will play a larger part in coming stories. Both sisters come into their own here, and much is realized regarding Tesara’s abilities and how many knew about it when she herself did not.

Overall, The Sisters Mederos is a worthy summer beach-read. I do hold out hope that some of the familial characters will become more likeable in future books, as I got to the point where I just wanted to throw something at some heads. They were just that frustrating. But the sisters, and some of the friends they may have made, redeemed the story somewhat, keeping it enough to be able to enjoy the story after all.

Sexual content: none

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