Author: Alyson Noël
Alyson Noël is an accomplished author with a long list of titles under her literary belt and I have managed to miss all of them, I think there may be one or two on the neverending TBR pile but I can’t be certain. From what I can see Noël has been predominantly a fantasy/paranormal young adult author but the Beautiful Idols trilogy is in a completely different realm of fantastic. There are no alternate worlds or paranormal characters but we are transplanted to the heart of Hollywood and that’s almost like a totally different realm.
Unrivaled has been likened to Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl, so fans of those TV series or their book series will probably love the Beautiful Idols novels. Of course I am joined at the hip to my book collection and don’t really watch much TV so am not familiar with those shows.
I enjoyed Unrivaled, it was a very easy to read book that went a lot quicker than I anticipated, I picked it up and thought it would take a while as it’s quite a hefty volume. The book flowed beautifully and the action was pretty constant so my progress was quite fast. Part of this I think is that it is a YA title and I find the writing to be a little more simplistic. The stories still have a depth and edge that capture my interest they are just easier to read.
In Hollywood everyone is out to make their mark, find their limelight and catch their big break; nightclub owner Ira Redman knows this and he knows exactly how to exploit it for his own gain. He organises the Unrivaled Nightlife competition to find the best promoter for his clubs and it is set up like all of your current reality TV shows though without the show. All of the weekly meetings are set up like a reality show elimination and that’s what I could see in my head as I was reading.
The competition starts with a shortlist of 12 candidates split into teams to promote Redman’s three Hollywood clubs and as the weeks go by the candidates are eliminated; it’s supposed to be performance based but of course that’s not the way it works.
Of the 12 competitors we are properly introduced to three, the others are background characters that we learn very little about. It is clear from the outset that these three will be the ones to make it into the final rounds and of course they each represent different clubs.
Tommy Phillips is not born and bred in LA, he moved to the city to pursue a music career, among other things, and finds himself working in a music store. He has an interest in Redman which is compelling to watch, his inner monologue is quite witty and I can’t wait to find out where this storyline will go.
Aster Armipour is from a wealthy ethnic family with strict beliefs about behavior and the roles of women. Though the family is wealthy the children have limited access to funds and their spending is supervised, their clothing needs to be approved and their futures are pretty well mapped out. Of course Aster’s dream of becoming an actress is not in the plan and becoming a club promoter would definitely be frowned upon if her family found out, lucky they are in Dubai for the summer. For Aster this competition is a way to make industry contacts and break into the public eye.
Layla Harrison has a celebrity blog and wants to earn enough to pay for her journalism course, she’s not a fan of the celebrity culture or the nightclub scene but the prize money is very tempting; as is the behind the scenes look at the nightclub culture.
These three characters have big dreams and they see the Unrivaled Nightlife competition as a great step towards achieving those goals and Unrivaled starts to give us an insight as to just how far they will go to get what they want.
The main subject of the story though is none other than teen star Madison Brooks, an A-lister who has climbed that ladder and left her roots far behind her. All anyone knows about Madison is the carefully crafted story she allows them to know.
Madison is the A-list celeb that Redman would love to see in one of his clubs and all the contestants are out to lure her in. The more we learn about Madison the more iffy I found her character. She was smart, sassy and sure of herself but she was also very sneaky. Since her rise to fame all of her movements are closely watched and loved by the tabloids. Her relationship are as much, if not more, about publicity and public appeal as any emotions she might have.
I found Unrivaled to be entertaining and I was hooked from early on. I want to learn more about the characters and how they evolve, and who reaches their dreams, but I also want to get to the bottom of the mystery. I have some theories but only time will tell if I’m even in the same zip code.
The game show element annoyed the crap out of me and I think that was for a couple of different reasons. Firstly I really don’t like or watch any of the reality shows or game shows, they irritate me though at this point in time I couldn’t give you a rundown of why. And secondly, the rules seemed to change at the whim of Redman. Actually I don’t know if the rules changed or if it was just that he made them up as he went along. Charismatic and canny Redman was also a little sleazy and he eliminated based on his own personal ratings system that had very little to do with the numbers it was supposed to.
Nothing is ever what it seems in Hollywood and Unrivaled has certainly got that element covered, I need to keep reading to find out how it all plays out. I am hooked and can not wait to see what comes next.