One For All by Lillie Lainoff #bookreview #YA #musketeers #mystery

An OwnVoices, gender-bent retelling of The Three Musketeers, in which a girl with a chronic illness trains as a Musketeer and uncovers secrets, sisterhood, and self-love.

Tania de Batz is most herself with a sword in her hand. Everyone in town thinks her near-constant dizziness makes her weak, nothing but “a sick girl”; even her mother is desperate to marry her off for security. But Tania wants to be strong, independent, a fencer like her father—a former Musketeer and her greatest champion.

Then Papa is brutally, mysteriously murdered. His dying wish? For Tania to attend finishing school. But L’Académie des Mariées, Tania realizes, is no finishing school. It’s a secret training ground for a new kind of Musketeer: women who are socialites on the surface, but strap daggers under their skirts, seduce men into giving up dangerous secrets, and protect France from downfall. And they don’t shy away from a swordfight.

With her newfound sisters at her side, Tania feels for the first time like she has a purpose, like she belongs. But then she meets Étienne, her first target in uncovering a potential assassination plot. He’s kind, charming, and breathlessly attractive—and he might have information about what really happened to her father. Torn between duty and dizzying emotion, Tania will have to lean on her friends, listen to her own body, and decide where her loyalties lie…or risk losing everything she’s ever wanted.

This debut novel is a fierce, whirlwind adventure about the depth of found family, the strength that goes beyond the body, and the determination it takes to fight for what you love.

A gender-bent retelling of The Three Musketeers? Besides loving this idea, I’ve always enjoyed novels set during this time period.

Tania is raised hearing her father tell adventurous stories about his time as a Musketeer. He also teaches her fencing and techniques to accommodate for her undiagnosed bouts of dizziness. She dreams of being a Musketeer, while her mother is more concerned about marrying her off to someone who can care for Tania once her parents are gone. After her father is brutally murdered, it seems as if his final wish parallels her mother’s when Tania is sent to a finishing school. She’s soon thrilled to discover that what appears to be a finishing school on the surface is actually a training ground for a new type of Musketeer. She may achieve her dream yet.

Tania’s arc is just incredible. She goes from being the target of mean girl bullying by former friends in her village and borderline pity from her mother to a young woman with agency and ride or die sisters who will stand with her no matter what. I always love a good found family story. As a side note, I thought the author’s choices of character names, variations of Dumas’s characters’ names, was clever. Tania – D’Artagnan, Portia – Porthos, Thea – Athos, and Aria – Aramis.

The life of King Louis XIV is threatened, and it’s up to the Musketeers to figure out who’s behind it and when the assassination attempt will occur. The mystery is set against a backdrop of the King’s ostentatious court, lavish clothing, and excess of nearly every kind. With secretive plotting, riveting action scenes, a charming, attractive target, and an intriguing mystery, this story moves along at a brisk pace and didn’t feel like four hundred pages. It’s a stunning debut, and I’ll certainly keep an eye on this author.

The author’s note at the end of the book addresses POTS, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, the cause of Tania’s dizziness. It’s something I hadn’t heard of but many people live with, including the author. I loved how Tania didn’t let it define her or prevent her from achieving her dream of becoming a Musketeer. All For One is a delightful, exciting novel from beginning to end.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

22 thoughts on “One For All by Lillie Lainoff #bookreview #YA #musketeers #mystery

  1. This story sounds wonderful, Teri. What a fun and creative retelling, and I love that Tania has such an empowering arc. I have to say that I really dislike the cover and would never have picked up this book based on that, but your review of this “stunning debut” has convinced me otherwise. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The cover is okay, but it was the mention of Musketeers that really grabbed me, Diana. Tania had one of the best arcs I’ve come across lately. She’s also such a likeable character – it’s very easy to root for her.


    1. I can’t say the cover does much for me, Robbie – it’s not one I’d have chosen. It was the mention of Musketeers that grabbed me. I try not to judge a book by its cover, but admit I’ve passed on many because of that.

      Liked by 1 person

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