SERIES REVIEW #119: The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

The Luxe Series by Anna Godbersen

Cutting straight to the point - I was rooting for the wrong characters. But let me introduce them first:

Elizabeth Holland -
The proper lady, or so she's got everyone believing. Her heart belongs to the coachmen and societal rules be damned.

Elizabeth was pretty much the victim from the beginning. But regardless I was drawn to her because she was nice and friendly, and didn’t think she was above anyone else. Ultimately, she was trying to do right by her friends and family.  Honestly, she was the only one I liked in the first book.

Diana Holland -
The rebellious one, without a care in the world. Well…until she captures the attention of New York’s most eligible bachelor.

Diana didn’t grow on me until the second book. In the first, she was incredibly selfish and made stupid decisions in the name of insta-love. But by the second book, it felt to me like sides were forming. Elizabeth and Diana versus Penelope and Lina. E and D were on the good side, obviously. P and L, well as for them....

Penelope Hayes -
The ruthless go-getter, who will stop at nothing to get what, or who, she wants. Watch out those who stand in her way!

Penelope was portrayed as the bitch from the start when she talks about only being friends with Elizabeth because she was her greatest competition. She caused a lot of trouble in these books and didn't care who she hurt. But I could respect Penelope to some degree. Even if she was merciless she did what she had to do to get what she wanted. And she never pretended to be anything other than what she was.

Lina Broud -
The social climber, whose love for herself knows no bounds. She believes the world has wronged her and she is out to set it right.

LINA! I don’t think I ever hated a character so much. She blamed everything on others and never took responsibility for anything. She harbored hatred for her once friend because the boy she was in lust with was attracted to her instead. She thought the world of herself but had no redeeming qualities. She expected more than she deserved and she was just plain awful. She was immature and delusional and petty and selfish and GOSH I could go on and on. 

Henry Schoonmaker -
The spoiled heir, with no understanding that actions have consequences. I don’t know what these ladies see in him, but apparently it’s worth fighting over.

WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL WITH HENRY. I don't get it. He had the personality of a doorknob and was arrogant and entitled. So what if he’s handsome and rich. There were other boys just as handsome and also rich and TWICE the man Henry is *cough* TEDDY! *cough*. Henry did not deserve all of the fuss and it was kind of irritating that he was the reason everyone was fighting and so many lives were being ruined.

But back to the story and why it drove me crazy. Basically it was a story about every man for himself. Penelope wanted Henry. Henry and Diana wanted each other. But Henry and Elizabeth were supposed to marry for family reasons. Meanwhile, Elizabeth and Will loved each other. But Lina wanted Will until she just wanted money. It was a mess that at some point turned into Penelope and Lina vs Elizabeth and Diana with Henry dangling somewhere in the middle.

And contrary to what you might expect, there was really no back and forth in terms of which parties were favored in this story. Elizabeth and Diana consistently had it much worse than Penelope and Lina. Penelope and Lina were given more lucky breaks and the right circumstances, whereas, Elizabeth and Diana always had something in their way or another bad thing happen to them.

Now I’m not saying everything went right for Penelope and Lina and everything went wrong for Elizabeth and Diana but I definitely didn’t feel like there was a fair balance. And it kind of sucked out all of the fun. I just became more and more enraged with each book. But I kept on reading hoping that the author would make it up in the end. Now while the ending did kind of set some things right, it wasn’t to the extent that I had hoped. Overall, I was still pretty disappointed. Besides it shouldn’t have taken four books to get there. AND there was one decision in particular that made a main plot line feel completely pointless. I just didn’t get it.

But even if I ignored all of my frustrations with the plot, I can’t say that I loved these characters or the setting much. The setting lacked humor and vibrancy and the characters were shallow and dull. Then again, it’s entirely possible that I am spoiled by books written from the likes of Libba Bray. Or that books in the YA genre have just gotten better (this series was written several years ago). Whatever it was, it all just fell very flat for me.

BUT there were some things I did enjoy. The author starts each book with a glimpse at the end. The first book begins with a funeral. The second, a wedding. And so on. She provides just enough detail that you can eliminate some possibilities but not others until you fill in more details as you read. I thought this was a great way to add suspense and give a peek at what’s to come. Another nice detail was the clippings of newspapers, invitations, letters, rules, etc. that were included at the beginning of each chapter. I love details like this and it was a unique way to provide information in a non-obvious way. The writing and attention to detail definitely showed potential.

But overall, this story was not for me. It would be better suited for a younger audience and should be read for just fun and games and not much else.

To wrap up, here is a glimpse at my thoughts while reading:

Luxe: A decent introduction. The story could really go in any direction at this point. Nothing to illicit strong emotion.

Rumors: The Penelope and Lena show through and through. Elizabeth and Diana were just shat on. The ending BROKE my heart.

Envy: The Hollands are back! OH WAIT NVM! *angry face* Anna Godbsersen don't you dare give her that money. DON"T YOU DARE. (She gets the money) I'm done. Really, could things get any worse?

Splendor: *finds out things can get worse* Wait... THAT'S HOW IT ENDS? Unbelievable.



  1. Interesting. I liked the way you used those pictures to describe the characters! The clippings sound like a nice addition to the book :D It's a shame that you didn't love the characters and setting, though.


    1. Yeah this is one of those books that is just infuriating! If things were done a little differently I might have enjoyed it more. =/

  2. I've read the first two books, but it's been forever and I've always meant to finish it off at some point! I guess I'll have to do it. I like who you picked with the pictures. Great review!

    1. Eh I don't know if it's worth it Christianna. Maybe to get some closure, if you even feel like you need at this point. There are definitely better books out there!

  3. I was curious about this series when it first came out, but never got around to reading it! It kind of sounds like an old-fashioned Gossip Girl, if that makes any sense. Your "casting" choices are really awesome though!

    1. It reminded me of an old-fashioned Gossip Girl....but not as good hah. Oh well...


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