Cadaver & Queen by Alisa Kwitney
Harlequin Teen, 2018
Audio book received from Audiofile Magazine for review
Alisa Kwitney describes her book as a "feminist Frankenstein meets Grey's Anatomy tale" and I think that suits it to a 'T.'
When main character, Lizzie, becomes a first year student at the top medical school in England during Queen Victoria's reign, it is quite the unexpected feat. Though she meets plenty of resistance, Lizzie perseveres through sheer determination, smarts, and only the slightest reliance on her Doctor father's reputation when absolutely necessary. She is quite the independent woman! And not just in certain respects, but throughout the novel... and throughout different types of situations.
Personally I can get very frustrated when a "feminist" character is only feminist about certain things... especially if the second they see an attractive man, they lose all sense and ambition. I'm not a hardcore feminist by any means, but c'mon ladies, stick to your guns!! The right man should respect you and want to promote you, not ever hold you back. Ugh. Sorry, I'll get down off my soap box now.... Anyway, as I said, Lizzie is feminist in both the realms of education AND romance, which was very refreshing.
I also found the concept of the bio-mechanicals at their school and in this British Empire to be fascinating! Very much like "Frankenstein's monster," these were reanimated corpses were being utilized for a variety of tasks while they attempted to build the ultimate super soldier. When Lizzie discovers the secret that got her new friend and love interest killed, it's a doozy with major political impact. There was an excellent sense of impending danger and potential disasters throughout, and I LOVED how in the end it is Lizzie who gets herself (and several others) out of severe harm's way and makes an interesting choice for her own future.
Lizzie Lavenza actually reminded me quite a bit of Audrey Rose Wadsworth from the Stalking Jack the Ripper series, who was another female scientist ahead of her time that I love as a character. In fact, if you enjoyed that series, you would probably greatly enjoy this book, as well. Recommended for readers who like historical fiction with a twist and strong female characters.