The Friday Society
In 1900, three assistants in London have a chance meeting at a ball and stumble upon a murdered man. Thus begins THE FRIDAY SOCIETY, a thrilling novel full of action, suspense, girl-power, and romance. The three young women aren’t your average heroes. In place of superpowers, they have weapons and in place of tights, they have corsets. However, they do have the bravery to face danger headfirst.
"The girls’ relationships with each other are what make the book great. They rely on each other in dangerous moments, and despite their different personalities (and language barriers,) they somehow manage to create a strong bond and become friends."
Author Adrienne Kress manages to wonderfully intertwine the lives of the three very different young women. Cora, the levelheaded, intelligent lab assistant, is trying to fend off her feelings for Andrew, her boss’ new assistant. Nellie, the beautiful Magician’s assistant, has a lot to think about with a dead body in her living room. Then there’s Michiko, the stoic combat instruction assistant who is looking for a mystery figure she fought in the middle of the night.
By switching from one girl’s perspective to the other, Kress gives a glimpse into each girl’s thoughts and into their weaknesses. While it’s important that Kress has given us such strong female characters, it’s even more necessary to show the reader that they do have their faults. Michiko is frustrated with her inability to quickly pick up on English. She also desires to be a samurai but does not believe she is worthy of the title. Nellie may have great looks and confidence, but even she reaches her limit after a particularly dangerous situation and finally admits her fear. Cora, who relies on her head, realizes that she as well is vulnerable to what the heart wants.
Interestingly, Kress also touches on the flaws in London in the 1900s. While the girls all have tough and confident personalities, they realize that women are still viewed as inferior to men. Men view them as these beautiful, but weak, members of society, meant to be seen and not heard. Kress also brings up the topic of class and the rich looking down on the poor, particularly with Andrew and his friends’ views on them as second-class.
The characters are the heart of this novel, but the fast-paced murder mystery, with its twists and turns, makes this a novel you’re unable to put down. Keeping track of the different characters, mysteries and murders can get taxing: There are several villains to contend with, and at times, it is necessary to flip back to previous chapters. However, the pieces of the mystery eventually fall into place in a fantastic, yet unexpected, manner.
Kress also tries to tangle together so many relationships. Cora’s relationship with the new lab assistant is key to the story, but Kress also hints at her interest in the Magician; a story line is never fully developed. It is refreshing, though, that not all of the girls’ exterior relationships are romantic. Michiko’s relationship with Hiyao, an old samurai’s assistant, is heartwarming. She comes to love him as a brother and realizes just how protective she is of him.
The girls’ relationships with each other are what make the book great. They rely on each other in dangerous moments, and despite their different personalities (and language barriers,) they somehow manage to create a strong bond and become friends. Even Michiko, who has always believed she must fight alone, finally realizes, “I am not samurai. I am Michiko. I am part of team.”
Reviewed by Borana Greku on December 20, 2012