Book Review: The Dolls

The Dolls
Published By: Balzer & Bray
Publication Date: September 2, 2014
Page Count: 384
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via Edelweiss
Audience: Young Adult - Paranormal

I adore southern fiction with a paranormal focus. There are so many areas of that South that just evoke things that go bump in the night. I also love stories set in Louisiana. There is something about this state in particular that makes the impossible seem plausible. I swear there is magic swirling in the bayous, creeping up the cypress trees, and swaying in the breeze with the Spanish moss. The Dolls is packed with southern flair, a creepy town controlled by magic, and dark, hidden secrets. This would be the perfect read to curl up with on a cool autumn night.

Eveny Cheval has grown up in the hustle and bustle of New York City; her life has been utterly ordinary since her aunt moved her North to the big city. Staying in their hometown of Carrefour, Louisiana was just too painful after Eveny's mother committed suicide. But as Eveny nears her 17th birthday, her aunt decides its time they return to their southern roots and face the memories of the past. Eveny is less than thrilled with this decision at first, but once she arrives in Carrefour she realizes she has a whole history that was hidden from her and people that need her. Eveny soon begins to unravel the secrets of Carrefour and finds herself in a century's long war between magic practitioners and those who wish to expunge magic from the world.

I loved learning more about Carrefour and the impact of magic on the community.  The structure of the magic was fascinating; I didn't feel like the author was trying to make her magic exactly like voodoo, but rather she was creating something of her own and borrowing from other traditions. I loved this setting and while I wouldn't want to live there, I did have fun during my time with Eveny. I found I enjoyed Eveny far more than the other Dolls. Peregrine was insipid, selfish, and annoying. She is your typical high school mean girl who can't handle anyone taking her spotlight. It also creeped me out that she carried a snake in her purse. Chloe was a more likable character, but I hated that she rarely thought for herself. She just goes along with what Peregrine wants without thinking through the ramifications.

I also had a slight problem with the romance in this one. I don't buy the love at first sight concept. It just happened way too fast and it lacked substance. It was all based on physical attraction.

In addition, I also was frustrated by some of the decisions in this novel. For example, the girls know someone is after them, but they decide to open the protective gates of the town to host a party full of LSU frat boys. Seriously? How does that remotely sound like a good idea? Another example is Eveny knowing she's in danger, but going to graveyard in the middle of the night on her own on multiple occasions. I just shook my head during those moments because she was an intelligent girl who shouldn't be making such stupid mistakes.

I couldn't help comparing The Dolls to The Secret Circle as I read. Aside from the magic and the main character being powerful and needed, there was the new girl factor and Eveny's relationships with the two main dolls, Peregrine and Chloe, were reminiscent of some of the relationships between Cassie and members of her circle. I loved The Secret Circle so the parallels didn't bother me; I saw them more as an enhancement.

The Dolls, while entertaining, was a difficult one for me to rate. There were moments I loved and moments that made me cringe. I went back and forth between giving this one a 3.5 and a 4, but ultimately landed on the 4 because I did enjoy most of the characters, the setting, and a majority of the plot. I do have a lot of unanswered questions and the ending seemed rushed. I know this is the beginning of a series so I can only hope these lingering questions will be answered in the next novel.

One Last Gripe: The last few chapters were really irksome especially because I loved the beginning and most of the middle.

Favorite Thing About This Book: The suspenseful moments - Sullivan knows how to create some beautiful tension

First Sentence: When I open my eyes and blink into the milky morning sunlight, there's no longer snow on the ground outside the car.

Favorite Character: Eveny

Least Favorite Character: Peregrine

Eveny Cheval just moved back to Louisiana after spending her childhood in New York with her aunt Bea. Eveny hasn’t seen her hometown since her mother’s suicide fourteen years ago, and her memories couldn’t have prepared her for what she encounters. Because pristine, perfectly manicured Carrefour has a dark side full of intrigue, betrayal, and lies—and Eveny quickly finds herself at the center of it all.

Enter Peregrine Marceau, Chloe St. Pierre, and their group of rich, sexy friends known as the Dolls. From sipping champagne at lunch to hooking up with the hottest boys, Peregrine and Chloe have everything—including an explanation for what’s going on in Carrefour. And Eveny doesn’t trust them one bit.

But after murder strikes and Eveny discovers that everything she believes about herself, her family, and her life is a lie, she must turn to the Dolls for answers. Something’s wrong in paradise, and it’s up to Eveny, Chloe, and Peregrine to save Carrefour and make it right.


  1. I reviewed Servants of the Storm today, a southern gothic horror that takes place in Savannah. Sounds like it has some of the same elements as The Dolls. Great review!

    1. Paula reviewed Servants of the Storm a few weeks ago and LOVED it. I have it on my list to check out. Thanks for checking out my review. :)


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