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  • Writer's pictureHannah Zunic

A Feminist Three Musketeers: A Review of One For All by Lillie Lainoff

Hello, Book Nerds! Welcome back to Reading Has Ruined My Life or welcome if you are new. As always, my name is Hannah and I am your captain on this journey into my bookcases.

 

I am back at ya once again with a new review. I’ve been busy reading to keep my mind off the wait for the second half of Bridgerton season three. I’m not doing well. The trailer for season three part two just dropped. Please check in on your Bridgerton obsessed friends. We are not ok. We need the rest of the season and I am counting down the days until it releases. I should be put in cryogenic sleep until the second half is out but alas I cannot do that as I am poor and have to work.


Gossip Girl
My diadem has yet to leave my head though.

We are not here to talk Bridgerton today. We will again in a few weeks, but today we are here to talk about a book. A YA book that’s a feminist retelling of The Three Musketeers, is the first book to feature a character who deals with POTS, and has found family out the wazoo; we love to see it.

 

Please give a warm welcome to One For All by Lillie Lainoff!


Book cover of One For All by Lillie Lainoff.

Let’s kick things off with a synopsis. As always, a spoiler alert is in order. This is your one and only warning. Long time readers know I love to spoil the entirety of the books I read. I also must issue a content and trigger warning. One For All has mentions of sexual assault. Nothing is ever explicitly stated, the author just alludes to the topic. The mentions are few and far between and can be skipped over. You will not miss anything should you choose to do so. With that, let’s get to the synopsis.

 

Tania de Batz grew up dreaming of one thing: becoming a Musketeer like her father. Her father has taught her how to fence better than most, and he’s raised her on a steady diet of tales from his Musketeer days. He is her whole world. He never thinks of her as less than because she’s a woman nor does he think her less than for having a chronic illness. Tania has Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) which causes her to feel dizzy, faint, and typically weak no matter what. But as I said, Tania’s father does not view her as less than because of her medical issue.


Jennifer Lopez clapping.
I love Papa de Batz.

But let’s be real, this is a YA novel and Tania is our main character and she needs a catalyst for her journey. So Papa de Batz must die. He’s brutally murdered and Tania vows to hunt down his murderer. Before she does that though, she must honor her father’s dying wish which is to attend a finishing school by the name of L’Académie des Mariées. This isn’t your average finishing school though. Nay, nay. L’Académie des Mariées is a finishing school for female Musketeers! Here she shall hone her fencing skills, and learn the ways of espionage.

 

At the academy Tania finds herself a new family. Her sisters in arms. Her Musketeers. And they’re there to support her as she enters society as a socialite spy, and as she tries to find her father’s murderer. Naturally, things aren’t easy for Tania. Not only does she have her POTS to deal with, she’s soon thrust into the world of spying because there’s a political assassination plot the girls are working to uncover and prevent; and when Tania is given a target, she may or may not be developing feelings for him. At this point she’s torn between duty and the possibility of love with the kind man she’s been lying to for the past few months.

 

Will she give up her Musketeers for a chance at love? Or will she choose duty over her heart? Can she have both? And what about the assassination plot? Can that be stopped in time? Find out in All For One.

 

Firstly, I need to talk about the POTS representation. I am someone who has POTS, and let me tell ya, it’s not a walk in the park. I get aggressively winded by walking up the stairs among other things. One For All is the first and only book to feature a main character with this chronic illness. I bawled when I learned this. Seeing a character dealing with the same illness as I do means the world to me. One For All is getting extra points from me for the representation.


Standing ovation.

That being said, One For All is mid. I found the plot, specifically the twist, fairly predictable, there was a lot of telling and no showing, descriptions could have been worked on, and I felt the story dragged on. Let’s start with the plot.

 

Our main character is on the hunt to find her father’s killer. Cool. A quest for vengeance, love it. Too bad it gets pushed to the back-burner. Stopping the king’s assassination takes precedence once Tania becomes a Musketeer. That part isn’t an issue, I get it, a personal quest certainly would get pushed away in favor of the greater good. While it makes sense, solving her father’s murder is Tania’s driving force and she doesn’t really do anything to solve the crime. She kinda stumbles into finding the guilty party in the end. Things just work out for her on their own. All the storylines line up and loose ends get tied up. I’m not a fan of when books do that.


Marie from Aristocats.
*le sigh*

As I said, the story is predictable. There’s really only one character who could possibly be the villain. Sure, the author includes a red herring, but I found the red herring to be pretty obvious. One For All’s twist wasn’t much of a twist. I wanted more from the story. That includes the descriptions.

 

The story is set in mid-1600’s France AKA revolutionary France, there's tons of The Three Musketeers lore to pull from, there are scenes set in the highest and lowest points of society; yet I got nothing. The author told readers everything without showing them. Truly the only difference between every settings is one of the characters noting they are at a ball or they’re passing through the Court of Miracles. I’d have liked to know what these settings look like, what the characters look like for that matter. The symptoms of POTS are well described, I greatly appreciated those descriptions, but that’s about it. Show don’t just tell.

 

Things could have been better, they could have been far better. While there is nothing egregiously wrong with One For All, it fell flat pretty early on. It took a while for anything to happen and I got bored. The text dragged on and on. It took me forever to get through this read.


Lydia reading a book in Beetlejuice.
I swear this book took me two weeks to get through.

One For All is a book I wanted more from. I loved the POTS and LGBTQIA+ representation, those parts were done very well, but the story at large bored me more often than not. Overall this is a decent debut. There are most definitely better books I’ve read this year, but I’ve most certainly read worse books this year as well.

 

And with that, I must bid you all adieu. I shall see you next week with another great post. If you can’t wait that long you can always check out my podcast Nothing to See Hear. You can listen to me tell you a spooky story or enjoy a Disney film review or even dive into the world of professional wrestling of the 90s; there’s a lot of good stuff so you’re bound to find something you like. You can find Nothing to See Hear on Spotify and YouTube.

 

Until next time, stay safe, wash your hands, and read some good books for me.


Bears waving.
See y'all then, bye!

   

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