Rating: 3.5 / 5
I picked up ELYSIUM GIRLS by Kate Pentecost purely because I needed a book with fire on the cover for a recent readathon, but timing is a funny thing and it turns out this one dovetailed nicely into my recent reading. It presents a wild twist on the Dust Bowl after reading THE FOUR WINDS by Kristin Hannah and THE GRAPES OF WRATH by John Steinbeck which deal a bit more with reality.
ELYSIUM GIRLS is set in Elysium, Oklahoma, a town chosen by a couple of goddesses as a testing ground to see which will win. In ten years, they will determine if the people are worthy or not. If found lacking, all will be killed. It is now ten years later and the story begins with a young woman named Sal who is being set up as a leader and a young man named Asa who unexpectedly shows up at the gates of the city.
Asa and Sal manage to trigger a disaster which leads everyone to believe that they’ll never be able to measure up to the high standards of those in power. When the Dust Soldiers show up, they expect to be slain. Sal and Asa are exiled, but they meet up with a group of women who have lived outside of the relative safety of the walled city and who might be able to help save the people of Elysium.
This was a fun read. It’s an interesting mix of a bit of historical setting, but with a lot of scifi elements like the mechanical horses on the cover. The setting is beaten down as one might expect with a story centering on the dust bowl, but there are a lot of tricks with a bit of magic and fantasy rolled in.
This overall wasn’t a favorite read, but I did have fun with it as an interesting twist to round out my dust bowl reading!