Luck of the Titanic
by Stacey Lee
Spoiler- Free Synopsis:
From the critically acclaimed author of The Downstairs Girl comes the richly imagined story of Valora and Jamie Luck, twin British - Chinese acrobats traveling aboard the Titanic on its ill fated maiden voyage.
Southampton, 1912: Seventeen-year-old British-Chinese Valora Luck has quit her job and smuggled herself aboard the Titanic with two goals in mind: to reunite with her twin brother Jamie--her only family now that both their parents are dead--and to convince a part-owner of the Ringling Brothers Circus to take the twins on as acrobats. Quick-thinking Val talks her way into opulent firstclass accommodations and finds Jamie with a group of fellow Chinese laborers in third class. But in the rigidly stratified world of the luxury liner, Val's ruse can only last so long, and after two long years apart, it's unclear if Jamie even wants the life Val proposes. Then, one moonless night in the North Atlantic, the unthinkable happens--the supposedly unsinkable ship is dealt a fatal blow--and Val and her companions suddenly find themselves in a race to survive.
Stacey Lee, master of historical fiction, brings a fresh perspective to an infamous tragedy, loosely inspired by the recently uncovered account of six Titanic survivors of Chinese descent.
So apparently, having common sense is optional.
And I'm referring to myself, by the way.
We all know the Titanic. That certain tragedy that was made into a movie which made my eyes puff up to the size of Jupiter and which made me the wonderful perpetually angry human I am today. JACK COULD'VE FIT ON THE DOOR WITH HER. HE COULD'VE. DANG IT. So obviously, I knew what I was getting into. Even anticipated a few teardrops to escape the jail cell of my bucket less soul.
And I was right.
It made me cry. A lot. Mostly internally, but we'll count those as well. And as if my tears weren't painful enough to acknowledge, the author hit me over the head with 'the last chapter'. I see no one laughing, do you think that's funny?? Do you. Think. That's funny? What is up with authors wanting me to into a premature food coma these days? First, the cliffhangers. Now, THIS. Um... where's the license of the one that took the driver's seat of my emotions? I want it back, but I also don't.
See what I mean when I say I confuse myself?
On one hand, I love being absolutely and utterly emotionally obliterated by a book. However, on the other hand, I want to cut off some heads when someone leaves me heartbroken like I previously wished to be. (?????????)
The whole darn storyline, plot, pace, setting; basically, everything that was the building block for this novel, was irreproachable. I laughed so many times out of astonishment at how easily I forgot this was on the Titanic and not a cruise in which all dreams would come true. The lightness of the storyline, with the tension of the delicate twists embedded in it, stitched with threads of devastating sorrow, served to prove to me (once again) Stacey Lee is an absolute queen. (Even though I've only read two books of hers, including this one and the rest might turn out horribly; yes, I still see the sense in this). I treasured the fast chain of events that unfolded and admired all the historical tidbits that didn't make me hit the SNOOZE button, instead making me all the more enthralled with Luck of the Titanic. Everything was explained wonderfully (me thinking back to the fact that I was lost on the ship for about thirteen chapters because I had no idea where the heck I was located), the way certain things evolved and changed left me gasping in delight. In other, simpler words, I fangirled a little too much. I felt like I was literally ON the Titanic. I smelled the sea (perhaps my sweat), felt the soft breeze (most likely my fan) and squealed with the crew (yeah nope, definitely in my head). Now, I just have to add every Stacey Lee book to my TBR-
An excerpt of my interview with The Writing:
Me: Hello, I have come to ask a few questions.
Writing: Yes, child?
Me: HOW COME YOU ARE SO GOOD AND ENCOMPASS DRENCHED FEELINGS, PERFORMIND ACROBATICS WITH MY EMOTIONS.
Me: Yes? My question was indeed not rhetorical, I need an answer.
Writing: Dear one, have I ever told you the story of the dancing prince-
Me: NO. Do not begin with that, you'll break me more. Just stop. Answer the question, please.
Writing: Alright... I crave for you to suffer and have a stuffy nose for days. I love seeing you metaphorically crawl across the carcasses of your sanity. I adore the smell of your anxiety and agony at my words.
Me: O-oh. Okay. Okay, great answer. Yep. Super cool.
This was basically my thinking all throughout the book. Every time I read a chapter, I felt as if my soul transcended to the third plane of Olympus. The way it flowed, the way it caressed my hair with it's perfectly described scenes. How it left me aghast and awaiting Death's carriage, because holy smokes. How can anyone every top this? Yes, I loved it. Yes, I admired it. Yes to everything. (unless you say the writing is bad. If so, Hahah, no.)
The characters owe me a huge, mega, humongous, drowning in praise, heartfelt apology. Uh huh, that's it.
Actually no, some of them killed me beyond measure, I'll describe those because I hate them. But I love them as well.
The MC was a goddess. This girrrrrrl. She was strong, fierce, human (it's a thing), relatable, poetic, had the ability to argue so beautifully and was simply a breathe of fresh air amidst every other YA character I've read about this past week. And yes, I did just pull a 'not like other YA characters'. Wait till I finish my Lovely Vicious review (which I've been working on for the past month), ahahaha, that's going to be epically disastrous. The woman was unapologetically cool and frankly, can I get her as a BFF? Hm?? Can you REPAY ME FOR WHAT I WENT THROUGH ON THE LAST PAGES? *dry chuckle* I will choke you. I applaud how her ability to be her and her only, without trying to change unless there was a role to fit into, and adored her way of expressing her opinions. And the banter, y'all. THE BANTER. *sigh* I'm tearing up again, DANG IT. Okay, I'm alright. I'm safe. These feelings cannot get you anymore, Booksy. You finished the book a while ago. Breathhheeee. Yeah nope, not working.
Every single secondary/ background person in this story was so easily recognizable, it confuzzled me as to how I remembered their roles. I almost always have to highlight the crap out of pages to properly recall who does what and what happens after that what was done. I liked how each of them had different opinions and did not fit into just one level of craziness. The lot of them were crazy, but in varying degrees. *snort* As the story progressed, I got to connect with them more deeply than I expected myself to. Sue me, I love historical books, never really feel anything for the characters, until now. And then they took that happiness away from me. Just read the book already and cry with me, porfavor. I need that venting session. Also, tissues. All of the characters were interesting beyond measure and held a sort of bittersweet remembrance atop of my emotionally drained meter. I hate you but like you at the same time. Stop making me conflicted.
I must mention that the fact that the romance wasn't the focus of the story (TWIST!) Left a gaping hole in my chest because wow, how did they know what I was looking for???? All the 'I love you' nonsense was not present, all the 'I would die for you' stupid crap was not to be seen. So yes, I liked it a lot. One thing I must mention though, is that I wish there would've been more chemistry between them? Don't get me wrong, they almost kissed approximately 56789 times, and I was holding my breath for every single one of them, but didn't really want to ship them? Okay, scratch that, I actually did. But still? Something was missing? I really have no idea, and right now I want to finish this review, so I can curl up in a traumatized ball of cheese puffs.
Oh- OH!! I almost forgot Jamie. The brother, you know? I just want to say a few words to him.
*wrenches the guy from the depths of the book*
Jamie: Wh- what is happening-?
Me: I gave you one chance. One. To make me hate you. ONE. And you made me fall for you. You deserve all the best in life, you stupid mongrel.
Jamie: Okay, I'm a bit confuse-
*shoves him into the book again*
The brother/ sister interactions were so relatable I felt them deep within my soul. 5 STARS FOR THAT. 5. STARS.
*cue me sniffing their convo obsessively to see if some wittiness would get absorbed through my respiratory system*
On a closing note, this was amazing. I would re-read it again and again and again... after 45 years have passed. Until I'm ready to face the heartbreak for the 567 time in the last three days. I would give this, 5 stars as a whole, but there are some things (such as the chemistry) that could've had a bit of a boost and some interactions got glossed over a bit, AND because I'm petty like that. You don't get to do that to me and then expect me to give you 5 stars.
(I have indeed realized that my past three books have destroyed me in varying measures, so maybe that's why I always sound super extra angry. Either that or I have a problem-)
Disclaimer: Any and all opinions said up there are my own, and please feel free to call me out for any errors or any offensive comments, so I can get right on it and get it fixed!
I confused the name Bo for 'body odor'. I- I feel ashamed of myself. I am so immature, ohmygosh. I did cackle though, sooo.
How everything was beautifully made to perfection.
The👏re👏pre👏sen👏ta👏tion👏 was on point.
I hate you.
How could you.
I shall obliterate you.
Oh, I wasn't kidding.