The Black Coats by Colleen Oakes – Book Review
I was kindly sent an advanced reader copy of The Black Coats from @Harper360YA in return for an honest review.
Title: The Black Coats
Author: Colleen Oakes
Published: 12th February 2019 (Kindle), Hardback 21st March 2019
Publisher: HarperTeen/Harper Collins
Genre: YA Contemporary
Synopsis: GoodReads link here
I really loved the premise of The Black Coats when I read the synopsis. A secret society created to give justice to women who have been abused when their abuser would otherwise be free. It is very interesting to see where the moral lines are drawn and when community justice becomes vengeance. When do you become as bad as the people you judge? I know that this isn’t an original grounding for a story and it has been done numerous times before. The Girl with the Dragon tattoo would be a classic example. However, I think it will always be a very relevant topic and one that I am always happy to read about.
Themes include abuse, justice, vengeance, female empowerment and manipulation. Trigger warnings include rape & abuse.
My favourite aspect of The Black Coats strangely is how it is structured. The prologue and epilogue are fantastic. The prologue obviously gives us background to the main story but it also emotionally involves you. I don’t want to go into any detail because of spoilers but the epilogue is very satisfying. It really makes you question yourself and where you draw your own moral lines.
Unfortunately I have very mixed feelings about the plot. The overall story line I like. From very early on however I had problems with some of the individual actions taken in the book. You know when you read something and think ‘that just wouldn’t happen’ or ‘why would you do that’? I am happy to suspend my disbelief with books but they did colour my vision slightly, especially being so early in the novel. There are a lot of very predictable elements with the odd surprise later on in the book. Overall it didn’t grip me in the fashion that I hoped it would.
There is a romance in the novel, which I enjoyed early in the book. Some of the lines later on are a little bit to cheesy for me but that is very much personal taste.
I think the characters develop well in The Black Coats, although they feel very stereotypical at first. Thea is a good protagonist but my favourite character has to be Nixon. She is the bad ass you would expect in a story about female vengeance! Bea is very cool but what she does for the team feels a little too much like having a ‘super power’ without more background. I would love to read more about Bea in another book! Casey has a very dry, sarcastic sense of humour and I really enjoyed her one-liners. Mirabelle was actually a bit of a surprise for me. She developed a lot more than I thought she would and by the end of the book I really liked her.
A big highlight in the book, predictable though it may be, is how the group dynamic changes. The girls really begin to bounce off each other and it is nice to watch them grow together.
The Black Coats has an interesting premise but I could only describe the book as okay. I think one of my biggest problems is that I have read similar books before. The target audience for The Black Coats is young adult, which I am not, and in this case I think that did matter. I am sure that a teenager who hasn’t experienced this premise would enjoy this book a lot more. As far as recommending this book goes I would stick to the target audience. It is a very easy read and even as a slow reader I flew through it.
Have you read The Black Coats? What did you think?