Review – To best the boys

Title: To best the boys

Author: Mary Weber

Format: Ebook

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Page count: 336

Release day: March 3rd 2019

Series: Standalone

Genre: YA fantasy

Rating: 2 stars

*Thanks to NetGalley for providing this arc!*

What is it about? (Summary from GoodReads)

Every year for the past fifty-four years, the residents of Pinsbury Port receive a mysterious letter inviting all eligible-aged boys to compete for an esteemed scholarship to the all-male Stemwick University. Every year, the poorer residents look to see that 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 are trained in wifely duties and men are encouraged into 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’s ready for a girl who doesn’t know her place. And not everyone survives the maze.

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What I thought:

Based on the summary I expected most of the book to take place in the labyrinth, which I think is a fair assumption. But only 100 pages take place there, and I’m not even sure what happened in the rest of the book?! Nothing really..

In the beginning they try the explain the disease, but I still don’t really understand what this disease is. But for some reason everyone dies because of it, except her mom, obviously.. And then she decides to take part in this competition, dressed as male, to proof she can solve it?! Instead of just solving the problem?! She says she wants attention from rich people for this disease, which okay, but if she wins she proof she is smart, nothing will say that they will listen to her?! So there were lots of decisions that just did not make sense to me.

And then we come to the actual competition, which was the reason why I was interested in this book! And it kinda let me down.. There were several parts in this competition, but they were all over so quickly.. I would have loved for them to be longer and more described!

Also there was a romance.. The first time the name of the love interest is mentioned you already know that a romance is coming between them.. It is really on the background though!

So conclusion, I think this book could have been way better if the focus was way more on the contest instead of the disease. They could leave in the sick mom, because the idea is that Rhen wants to go to the university to learn how to solve her mom’s disease. But I think they could have left out quite a bit about that. I really would have liked it better if the contest was described in more detail!

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