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The Footmen Paperback – July 10, 2013
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
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The Footmen is set in a matriarchal society in which men vastly outnumber women and women have risen to take all of the authoritarian roles in both the public and the private sectors. Due to the discrepancy in population ratios women frequently take more than one "footmen" which are essentially consorts. Some women abuse this power and treat their men poorly while other women value and support their footmen. Senator Yria Kolossa is the head of her family and has four footmen. Yria is a social progressive who is trying to fight the unfair treatment of men and boys. Yria and her family receive threatening notes and her footmen convince her to hire a bodyguard. Enter Semper, a brutal aggressive former soldier, who struggles to fit into the tight family. Semper works to keep the family safe and uncover the plot behind the threats.
What I really liked: Yria is a 40 year old heroine with intelligence, grace and courage. She is a truly fantastic heroine. She is a mother of four children and is the definitely the head of the family but she depends on and values each of her footmen.
I love male harem stories. Especially stories in which the men engage in sexual relations with each other. Others may not care for this but I think it is fascinating.
Even when a seemingly dominant male character is introduced, Yria remains in charge. Most authors would have used Semper as a device to disempower the female protagonist but Hosier avoids this.
Things that didn't work: the book is not long enough for six adults, four children, political intrigue, allies, villains and a new gynocratic society. The reader is told that for some unknown reason this was a patriarchal society but now men outnumber women and that somehow this led to women with the majority of power. Huh? So there are more men, these men are still bigger and stronger than women, so how did they lose control? Also, the footmen in Yria's household are treated well but we are never told of their hopes and dreams outside of the current roles they hold. What motivates them? Are they happy within this society?
Overall I enjoyed the book and will read any sequels if they are written. Perhaps future works may answer some of my questions and flesh out this world.