Thursday, January 27, 2011

Review: Envy

Title: Envy
Author: Anna Godbersen
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Category: Young Adult
Page Count: 416 
Release Date: January 2009
Series: Luxe, Rumors
Source: Library
Challenge: none 
Quick Rating: 3/5
Two months after Elizabeth Holland’s dramatic homecoming, Manhattan eagerly awaits her return to the pinnacle of society. When Elizabeth refuses to rejoin her sister Diana’s side, however, those watching New York’s favorite family begin to suspect that all is not as it seems behind the stately doors of No. 17 Gramercy Park South.

Farther uptown, Henry and Penelope Schoonmaker are the city’s most celebrated couple. But despite the glittering diamond ring on Penelope’s finger, the newlyweds share little more than scorn for each other. And while the newspapers call Penelope’s social-climbing best friend, Carolina Broad, an heiress, her fortune - and her fame - are anything but secure, especially now that one of society’s darlings is slipping tales to the eager press.

In this next thrilling installment of Anna Godbersen’s bestselling Luxe series, Manhattan’s most envied residents appear to have everything they desire. Wealth. Beauty. Happiness. But sometimes the most practiced smiles hide the most scandalous secrets…

: If you haven’t read any of the previous installments of the Luxe series, I suggest you skip this review. I’ve tried to keep things mostly spoiler-free for Envy, but details of the first two books are unavoidable.

I was really left on a low note at the end of Rumors. When we last saw the ‘Fabulous Five’, absolutely no one was happy, and there was no glimmer of hope. I about had a fit of rage after the end of Rumors, and I am thrilled to say I got to at least let out a sigh of relief at the end of Envy. There is, finally, after so much heartache and depression, the tiniest flame of hope.

As always, Ms. Godbersen knows how to write an intriguing, confusing, wonderful prologue. I don’t want to be, but I start reading, and I’m just swept right back up into the lives of Diana, Henry, Elizabeth, Penelope, and Lina. And the clothes - oh! The clothes! There’s probably a few spots of drool on my book from dreaming about all those lovely dresses.

That being said, these books still annoy the crap out of me.

Follow the jump for more!

Can I just say how much I want to wring everyone’s necks in this series? Let’s start with the top offenders.

Henry and Diana. Diana and Henry. Anyway you look at this couple, you just love them. You want them to be together, you want them to live a long and happy life together, because up till this point, they’re join through a lot of crap. As much as I love these two, and even though they are my absolute favorite characters, I still wanted to knock their heads together almost the entire way through. Will no one just listen to each other? Seriously! How many misunderstandings and hurt feelings can you cram into four-hundred pages? I felt like I was in an emotional roller coaster where one minute, things were looking bright and hopeful, and then the next, it was all ruined again. Diana never reading Henry’s letters or letting him fully explain everything was buggy, but understandable. She’s still young, and she’s full of raw emotion. She’s impetuous, and in love. I can sort of forgive her. Sort of. As for Henry, I just want to give his poor confused self a huge hug.

Elizabeth definitely began to annoy me in this installment. Here’s the perfect opportunity for some real, strong emotion to come out of her, for us to finally see that polite veneer crack, and it never seems to happen until one instance at the end. I wanted to see the heartbreak over Will’s death, I wanted to feel it. And all I ended up feeling was the same emotion she’d feel if it was some sort of society marriage. I understand she was trying to punish herself, and deny herself pleasure, but I think it could have been taken a lot further. I also felt it took much too long for her to feel any sort of protectiveness for her little ’surprise’. That, to me, should have been immediate. When you come down to it, she’s too much of a mommy-pleaser for my taste. Her mother is concerned with how the family looks to the outside world, and not necessarily what’s best for inside the family. I think Elizabeth could use a little more influence from Diana. However, I’m definitely interested to see where she goes from the end. Can we just say poor Teddy?

Penelope is, excuse my language, nothing but a conniving bitch. She’s so obsessed with hanging on to her loveless marriage that she’s willing to do anything and sacrifice anyone that stands in her way. Yet, still, I find myself a little sympathetic towards her. Like I’ve said, Penelope, to me, is a perfect antagonist. She’s beautiful, extremely intelligent, conniving, and somehow, still human. She feels vital and alive on the page, and while I want her out of the way for Henry and Diana, I don’t want to see her ruined.

And Lina. Carolina. Whatever. [insert key smash] I never knew how much I could hate a character on the page until Carolina. She irks me beyond reason, and I can’t find any sympathy for her anywhere in my heart. You do not know what kind of maniacal giggling went on when she finally got what she deserved, or the teeth gnashing that went on when she got it all back. Really? Is Lina the only one who’s going to end up happy? I’ll never forgive these books if that’s the case.

I will mention, the ending was a little surprising for me. While I know this is probably going to end absolutely tragically, and I’m just setting myself up for disappointment, it’s all so horribly romantic! At least I didn’t want to destroy the book the second after finishing it this time.

The Final Word: There’s a lot of misunderstandings and lack of communication, but if you can sift through all of that, there’s a glimmer of hope at the end. Better than it’s predecessor, Rumors, but still frustrating, and not as good as Luxe. We’ll see where Splendor takes us, and if the series can recover from being so darn depressing.


Tea: Tension Tamer from Celestial Teas. Be prepared to be irked by the whole cast of characters this time around.


  1. You crack me up! I skimmed because I haven't read any of these, but I love how you get so irritated by these books but yet you continue reading them:) Glad to know this one at least ended a little better than the last one, nobody wants to be depressed all the time while reading!

  2. @Jenny: lol, I know right? I just can't stop. I wish I could, but I just *have* to know what happens to them. XD

  3. This seems like a series that I would wait until it was done to read all at once. I hate hate hate continuing misunderstandings so I know I would be annoyed also.

  4. "Penelope is, excuse my language, nothing but a conniving bitch. " HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH.

    I can't wait for your review on the last one... I think it was my least favorite. I've already read this series and you are SO ON THE DOT with my feelings.

  5. @Karen: I believe the whole series is already out, and been out for a while? I'm only spacing them out because I can only handle so much drama at one time. ;D

    @Cialina: looool. It's so true, though! Half my notes started with 'Dammit, Penelope!'. XD

    I'm really leery of starting the last book. 'Rumors' was awful plot-wise. 'Envy' has a little redemption, so I just know this one is probably going to overload the tragedy factor. :-P

  6. I picked these books up because the dresses on the cover were gorgeous! lol ...
    As I read your review, I kept saying to myself .. I agree. I agree. I agree. lol YES you hit the nails on the head when I comes to all the characters .. great review.
    As far as the content of the books I generally enjoyed them but they are indeed very frustrating!
    I am now a new follower!

  7. @Sunshine: Those covers are amazing, aren't they? And yeah, the writing is amazing, and just keeps drawing you in, but some of the situations the characters get themselves into just makes you frustrated. XD Thanks for following! :D