Beetlebrow: Part 1

Beetlebrow: Part 1

  • Paperback

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Two sixteen-year-old girls are struggling to survive in the poverty-stricken streets of Stellingkorr. Beetlebrow - devastated by the death of her mother - meets Pook - newly escaped from her drunken parents.

The two girls scale the walls of the royal palace in search of work. King Ancissus - impressed with their ingenuity and skill - tasks them with delivering a cryptic message to the distant eastern city of Dalcratty. Success could save Stellingkorr; failure could mean starvation for its people.

Beetlebrow and Pook are forced to lie, fight and steal to keep heading east. Through the violence and squalor of towns and arid plains, army camps and prisons, they have only each other to depend upon.

"Beetlebrow", the first book of "The Beetlebrow Trilogy", is the gritty debut novel from Ben Parker. In this epic coming-of-age fantasy, two bold and fearless young women find a love they could never have imagined.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 277 pages
  • 140 x 215mm
  • Canterbury, United Kingdom
  • 1911546058
  • 9781911546054

Author information

Ben Parker was born in Ealing, London in 1983. Inspired by The Beat Generation, he started writing fiction as a teenager.
He is a graduate of Southampton University, with a BA and MA in English. He lives in Kent.
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Review quote

(A five-star review by Reece) This was a great read that kept building the whole way and really sucked me in emotionally.;It's told from Beetlebrow's POV and she's 16, small, observant, tough, spontaneous - a good hero of few words. Pook's 15, taller, and more of a people person, so they make a good complementary pair. At the start, Pook's a beggar and Beetlebrow's about to become one, but they escape their would-be oppressors and break into their impoverished city's inner sanctum, which is under siege. No one's been able to do that, so their talents are recognised and they're tasked with delivering a cryptic message to royals elsewhere who can help save their starving city.;It's set in a dystopia (a dark fantasy world without magic), so they visit several cities which are experiencing conflicts between themselves, and amongst the privileged and exploited people in them. Descriptions are vivid and visceral throughout the book. Side characters are carefully fleshed out with bittersweet backgrounds, so their motivations aren't transparent, which adds to the complexity of the world.;The LGBTQ+ representation is great! The lesbian romance is visible right away from the girls' connection and commitment at first sight. Bee accepts her kindling first-time desire quite soon so their romance progresses at a good pace (with fade to black love scenes). There's also intimated gay side characters who are well developed. Sexism and other prejudices inherent to the world's workings are shown but not condoned and bad guys get their comeuppance.;Beetlebrow's 'coppery skin', Pook's naturally 'deep purple lips' and 'black curly hair', and the fact they pass for sisters, make it fair to assume both are POC, as are other side characters (including royalty). More representation. A+.;I got engrossed towards the end and didn't want it to end so soon, but it did so in an excellent way I didn't expect, and also set up tension for the next in the series which I plan to get. It's the sort of read you'll like if you like Shira Glassman's works... but I can't think of a comparable dark, dystopic f/f YA so this fills a gap.;
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