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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.

The Black Coats Book Cover

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

Book Review

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.

My Thoughts

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?

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  • 23rd February 2019 at 11:43 am

    This is on my TBR, as I was also drawn in by the premise. Your review is so well thought-out, so TBC is less of a high priority for me – maybe I’ll read it when it’s out in paperback.

    • 23rd February 2019 at 12:15 pm

      Thank you, the premise is great. Waiting for the paperback sounds like a good plan πŸ™‚

  • 23rd February 2019 at 5:03 pm

    I’ve got this to read too. I’ll be picking it up after my current read. I hope I find it a bit better!

    • 23rd February 2019 at 6:01 pm

      I hope you enjoy it πŸ™‚ It has mixed reviews but it just wasn’t for me.

  • 24th February 2019 at 3:03 pm

    Contemporary is not my genre so I might not reach for this one but I loved your review! πŸ™‚

    • 24th February 2019 at 8:44 pm

      Thanks. If I was desperate to tempt you to read a contemporary then this would not be my first pick.

  • 24th February 2019 at 4:38 pm

    Aww man. I was hoping this was good. It was giving me Boneless Mercies vibe (that book was just okay) and I was hoping it would be way better than that. Great review!

    • 24th February 2019 at 8:42 pm

      Thanks. I just… hoped for more with this book to be honest. Maybe because the premise was so promising. I haven’t read the Boneless Mercies yet. I am sure we can find you something with the same vibe as this but that will tick all the boxes. Hmmm. I will have a think.

  • 25th February 2019 at 6:02 am

    I read her other books it was okay, but I am curious about this one as well. I like the group dynamic change.. I’m getting invested.

    • 25th February 2019 at 5:02 pm

      I thought it was okay. If you read it let me know what you think πŸ™‚

  • 25th February 2019 at 9:51 am

    I like the sound of this book but our review is making me sway to not wanting to read it! Great review!

    • 25th February 2019 at 5:04 pm

      Thank you. I was really invested in the premise but it just wasn’t for me overall. I do hope that other people really enjoy it though!

  • 25th February 2019 at 12:47 pm

    Great review, I love how balanced you are, pointing out what you didn’t like too. I think I’ll keep it on my TBR.
    Cora | http://www.teapartyprincess.co.uk

    • 25th February 2019 at 5:10 pm

      Thank you Cora! I do my best to give a balanced opinion when I didn’t particularly enjoy a book, especially when I am not really the intended audience. I would hate to put someone off who the book might be perfect for.

  • 25th February 2019 at 3:56 pm

    I love some contemporary, but like you say I often pick up YA and I am not the intended audience. The older I get, the harder it is to relate!

    • 25th February 2019 at 5:21 pm

      I completely understand that. I think it feeds into the YA vs NA argument. A lot of books that are listed as YA are really NA. The NA characters are much more relatable as you get older than those that are truly YA. Sometimes it is harder to differentiate than others. I just didn’t click with the Black Coats but I can imagine a lot of young teenagers would enjoy it. I’m going to pass my copy on to my teenage cousin and see what she makes of it. I might even add her review as a contrast to mine as I think it would be interesting.

      • 26th February 2019 at 8:47 am

        Yes, you have a very good point. That’s a really good idea and would be interesting to see!

  • 26th February 2019 at 6:05 am

    I am loving this cover, and the premise does sound interesting. I wish the rest of the book lived up to it!

  • 28th February 2019 at 2:14 pm

    nothing about this book ever really intrigued me tbh so im glad i dont feel like im missing out *hides*

  • 3rd March 2019 at 11:19 am

    I’ve never heard of this book before. The premise sounds interesting, it’s just a shame that it maybe wasn’t executed so well. Great review!

  • 20th March 2019 at 7:24 pm

    What a beautiful book cover!

    • 25th March 2019 at 11:08 am

      I won’t be mean and say the cover was the best thing about the book as that is not true or fair but it really is a great cover. The boldness certainly draws you to it!


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