In the interest of full disclosure, I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I read Miss Mabel’s School for Girls almost a month ago, and immediately fell in love with the world of The Network. Since then, I have gone on to read the second book in the series, Antebellum Awakening. I have also read The Isadora Interviews, a novella featuring school admission interviews from some of the secondary characters.
Mildred’s Resistance is the third book in the series, and it takes place before the events of MMSFG. Mildred serves as the High Priestess in the series; essentially, she serves as the head of the government. There are several allusions to an uprising in the past, during which Mildred seized power from a witch name Evelyn.
The story begins when Mildred and Evelyn are children. They both live in poverty, but their friendship helps them cope with the hardships at home. Evelyn’s life changes forever when she is adopted by the High Priestess after the death of her parents. With an elevated social status and natural charm, Evelyn grows into a beautiful young witch with great political ambitions. Her platform is that of Elitism; she believes that it is a waste of resources to educate the lower classes.
Mildred’s life takes a different path. She receives an education at a Network School, and she also embarks on a career in politics. Mildred does not have the same opportunities as Evelyn, but she finds satisfaction with her positions. From the very beginning, Mildred advocates for the lower classes, and offers classes to teach castle servants academic skills and basic magic spells.
Over the course of the story, Mildred and Evelyn grow apart. Evelyn has achieved her goals through manipulation and intimidation. Mildred has achieved hers through hard work and a genuine desire to help people. As Evelyn’s Elitist movement gains traction, Mildred knows that she cannot allow her former best friend to trample the rights of an entire social class. But has Evelyn grown too strong to be stopped?
I have enjoyed all of the books in The Network series, but Mildred’s Resistance in the best one yet. I love the way that Katie Cross combines a magical world with political intrigue. I also found Evelyn and Mildred to be fascinating characters, whose experiences with poverty profoundly affected them both, but in completely different ways. Evelyn might have controversial opinions regarding socioeconomics, but Cross does not paint her as wholly evil. She is a shameless manipulator and she is a product of her environment, but she is also being manipulated. I certainly didn’t agree with her political positions, but it’s easy to feel sorry for her as she becomes blinded by her own ambitions.
I would absolutely recommend Mildred’s Resistance. As I have mentioned, I read this prequel after having read the first two books in the series, and its position as the third book fits nicely with the overall narrative of Bianca’s story and the future of The Network. I love that so many of the strong characters are female, and I love the way that magic and politics converge in the world of The Network. I am eagerly awaiting the next entry in the series!