The Sisters Mederos by Patrice Sarath. Book Review

The Sisters Mederos by Patrice Sarath
Angry Robot, 368pp, ebook – £6.99, p/b – £8.99
Reviewed by Megan Leigh @m_leigh_g

The Sisters Mederos is the first in a planned series following the daughters of a wealthy merchant family. A comedy of manners meets fantastical heist narrative, The Sisters Mederos fails to deliver on its intriguing premise.

When the Mederos family loses their fortune, Tesara and her sister Yvienne take it upon themselves to discover the truth and restore their family to its rightful status. But both sisters have very different – though equally dangerous – talents. They must get to the bottom of the conspiracy while continuing to navigate high society.

There is a naïveté and lack of polish to Sarath’s prose that jars. She overuses flowery speech tags while indulging in a tad too many adverbs (“she said, waspishly”). It didn’t help that she used one of my particular pet hates amongst them: “she purred”. But once the plot kicks into gear, these authorial ticks fade into the background. As unsophisticated as the prose is, the narrative is gripping enough to pull you along.

The novel moves at a quick pace, and, coupled with the exciting adventures of the two daredevil sisters, the reader can’t help but want to read on. The problem is, when you actually bother to stop and think about some of the plot points, the details don’t necessarily add up. This is not a novel that requires much brain engagement, nor does it benefit from an attempt at close study.

Most of the plot is predictable. While the premise of two high society women being gamblers and thieves sounds intriguing, Sarath doesn’t really do much with it other than the obvious. There’s a nod to sexual harassment and issues of powerlessness in a society such as the historically-inspired Port Saint Frey, but the issue is dealt with so dismissively it is almost insulting. Tesara has the most fun with the comedy of manners inversion – a ruined woman sticking it to the upper-class snobs – but the relationships she develops (including the obvious romance set up) fizzle to nothing, leaving you wondering what the point of inclusion was in the first place (other than to set up a sequel).

Verdict: The Sisters Mederos is a fast-paced adventure that’s all froth.