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The Pale Assassin by Patricia Elliot
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The Pale Assassin (edition 2010)

by Patricia Elliot (Author)

Series: Pimpernelles (1)

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281679,299 (3.36)6
In early 1790s' Paris, as the Revolution gains momentum, young and sheltered Eugenie de Boncoeur finds it difficult to tell friend from foe as she and the royalist brother she relies on become the focus of "le Fantome," the sinister spymaster with a long-held grudge against their family.
Member:nijames
Title:The Pale Assassin
Authors:Patricia Elliot (Author)
Info:Scholastic (2010), Edition: English Language
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The Pale Assassin by Patricia Elliott

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I thought I would enjoy this book more than I did since it was set during the time of the French Revolution, a period in history I find fascinating. While the intrigue kept me going, it took a while to become really interested in the plot and I found Eugenie quite irritating at times. Overall, however, I enjoyed the book enough to want to read the sequel when it comes out as there are a number of questions left unanswered. ( )
  HeatherLINC | Jan 23, 2016 |
'The Pale Assassin" written by Patricia Elliot is a book set in the Revolutionary period of France, the 1870's. The story revolves around a young daughter of an aristocrat, Eugenie and her brother Armand.

The story itself is quite slow at the beginning and drones on. The pace picks up a bit halfway through the book and becomes quite interesting.

If you have the perserverance, it will definitely be a good read.
  TLHelen | Nov 1, 2012 |
Another excellent YA F-Rev selection. After a clunky introduction to the French Revolution, Patricia Elliott's novel swiftly transformed into an enjoyable, unbiased and intelligent story about a young girl whose narrow existence is thrown into tumult along with her country. Of course, I initially wanted to read the story because of the connection to the Scarlet Pimpernel series by Baroness Orczy, and I was pleasantly entertained by the author's nods to the original - calling the heroine's brother Armand, setting the clifftop finale in Calais, and mirroring Eldorado with a cameo appearance from the Baron de Batz - but also by Elliott's own cleverly plotted adventure. A Pale Assassin is at once believeable and fantastic, with flawed characters who grow and change, living and breathing in the all too evocative environs of late eighteenth century Paris, yet filled with secret identities, hair-breadth escapes, swashbuckling fights and evil villains.

Eugenie gasped and bit her tongue. The inside of her mouth, coated with sweetness from marshmallow and lemonade, filled with blood.

Eugenie de Boncoeur is in for a rude awakening. In her youthful eyes, Paris is a glittering procession of lavish dances, gorgeous gowns, and delicious treats. Staying with her wealthy guardian, and loved and protected by older brother Armand, Eugenie's only worry in life is how to escape her lessons and persuade her governess Hortense to accompany her to the Palais Royale instead. Then comes the 14th of July, 1789, and nothing will ever be the same again. Hortense is dismissed, Eugenie sent to a convent, and brother Armand is caught up in the spirit of the Revolution. And a mysterious stranger called the Le Fantome is silently stalking the young girl, waiting to take his revenge upon her family when she comes of age ...

Eugenie is a typical heroine for this type of novel: initially weak and naive, from a pampered background, she must quickly learn to think and act for herself and the safety of those closest to her. Apart from a few references to a groom who conveniently taught her to ride, hunt and fence, Eugenie undergoes a wholly convincing and necessary transformation into a brave and capable young woman. I think Patricia Elliott strikes a careful balance between the spoiled child and the resourceful teenager, letting national upheaval and personal loss shape Eugenie's already wilful nature into the inspiring heroine she becomes.

Elliott also plays fair when writing about the Revolution, letting royalist and republican characters argue their own corners without imposing a modern viewpoint on a historical narrative:

'We're not like the English, who executed their king. We are still the most civilised country in Europe.'

'You think so?' said Armand bitterly. 'Think of the prisoners massacred last month, over twelve hundred of them, mostly ordinary people, not even aristocrats. Danton just stood by and let it happen. Danton, the Minister for Justice! Some justice!'

'It was feared there were traitors among them, counter-revolutionaries who'd hand the city over to the Prussians. People panicked.'

'You think that justifies mass murder?'


Patricia Elliott's Pimpernelle series - and I will be downloading the second book straight away! - should appeal both to younger readers who have only tackled the French Revolution in history lessons at school, if at all, and more mature readers with a longer, if not more extensive, interest in that particular time and place. Fans of the Pimpernel, like myself, will also enjoy the similarities between both novels! ( )
  AdonisGuilfoyle | Jun 4, 2012 |
Eugenie and her brother Armand are orphans in Paris, cared for by a guardian who is nothing like a father. Their lives are safe – until the Revolution breaks out in full swing. Aristocrats are killed every day in the streets. Eugenie has done nothing to instigate such hatred, and continues to live life glamorously. But when she and her brother are put in danger, she must reassess her way of life in order to protect herself and get out of France as fast as she can.

___________________________________________________

MY THOUGHTS -

Oh, dear. I hate writing conflicted reviews about conflicted books. WHY does it have to be confusing? WHY are certain parts appealing and others not? WHY does part of me like this book and the other part dislike it?

These things I don’t know if I’ll ever know, so I will try my best to relay my feelings in a rational and understandable way.

The side of me that doesn’t like this book says… Ok. Bad character development. What’s with that? Armand, Eugenie, Julien, Guy, La Fantom… All had a major character flaw – inconsistency. One moment, Armand would act one way, and the next he would act another. It wasn’t all the time, but you could tell the author didn’t have a strong “relationship” with her characters. Julien and Eugenie were the strongest, and they still lacked character until the middle of the story. Belle was the most lively, but she didn’t have a huge part. On top of that, I see the writing as a glass half EMPTY. Good, but bland. A bit forced. And the story – it lacked. There were scenes I didn’t even have to read, and I would have been fine. And then all of a sudden at the very end - BAM! – there’s a love story. Sheesh.

However, there is my other side, who says this about the book… Yes, bad character development is disappointing, but I did end up liking and respecting Eugenie and Julien half-way through. I also look at the writing as good – a glass half FULL. The action scenes held a lot of substance and I felt transported. I also LOVELOVELOVE the French Revolution, so that made the read easier and more enjoyable. And the love story – who cares if it was sudden?! I realized when it happened that that’s what I’d wanted to happen the whole time. It should have developed slower and the characters should have shown more realization before they spoke about it to each other, but it was still a wonderful way to end the book…

FAVORITE CHARACTER -

Julien and Eugenie tie for first. They were both likable after I got past the beginning and they held more substance once the story really got rolling.

FAVORITE ASPECT -

The small romance at the end and the era this story revolves around (French Revolution).

ONE WORD TO SUM UP THIS BOOK (FINAL THOUGHTS) -

CONFLICTED. With a heavy sigh I write that word, wishing it could be different. I just can’t make up my mind about it. I liked it, but no, I didn’t. At least I know I didn’t hate it. I would never recommend it unless you were just DYING to read something and you’d already read all the books I was recommending. Or if you’re a French Revolution freak, like me. There are supposed to be two more books after this one. I don’t think I’ll read them unless they just fall into my hands. Otherwise, I’m not going to look for them. It’s a shame, because I think Patricia Elliott has potential, and I want the story to pick up and interest me. I want her to WOW her readers – I just hope she’ll have another chance. ( )
  yearningtoread | Nov 26, 2011 |
I have to say i really enjoyed this book! I love history and i never knew about some of the issues that happened untill i read them in this book. It provides you with information in a tale of love and some very dark revenge their is a lot of twists and you will be screaming at the main character Eugenie to see some sense, but you will not put it down guaranteed!!! ( )
  Page-turner | Jun 22, 2010 |
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For my agent, Elizabeth Roy,
with love and gratitude
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One summer evening outside Paris, a coach drawn by four black horses was creaking and swaying though the soft country twilight.
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In early 1790s' Paris, as the Revolution gains momentum, young and sheltered Eugenie de Boncoeur finds it difficult to tell friend from foe as she and the royalist brother she relies on become the focus of "le Fantome," the sinister spymaster with a long-held grudge against their family.

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