The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton – Book Review

I received this book from Sourcebooks Landmark and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a classic British Murder Mystery (complete with a butler, a tremendous moustache, and a veritable drawing room of hidden skeletons just waiting to be uncovered) – with the slightest fantasy twist that allows us to see this fateful day from eight different perspectives. This is one of those books that you simply cannot explain in any amount of detail without many hand gestures, diagrams and spoilers – I’ve tried. It requires a decent amount of concentration and there are a lot of moving parts but the end product is nothing short of genius. If you figure it out more than a second before the tell-all, you’re a greater detective than I could ever hope to be. Absolutely nothing and nobody in this house is what they appear to be and there is a surprise around every corner. I did disagree / take issue with the forgiveness arc, simply because I feel there are crimes deserving of eternal punishment in retribution and this was one of them, for me at least. Otherwise, a very satisfying ending though I still have questions that may never be answered. Overall, this is the first mystery novel that’s ever really engaged me and may have made me open to more books in the genre.
Click on cover for the book’s description.

I received this book from Sourcebooks Landmark and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a classic British Murder Mystery (complete with a butler, a tremendous moustache, and a veritable drawing room of hidden skeletons just waiting to be uncovered) – with the slightest fantasy twist that allows us to see this fateful day from eight different perspectives.

This is one of those books that you simply cannot explain in any amount of detail without many hand gestures, diagrams and spoilers – I’ve tried. It requires a decent amount of concentration and there are a lot of moving parts but the end product is nothing short of genius.

If you figure it out more than a second before the tell-all, you’re a greater detective than I could ever hope to be. Absolutely nothing and nobody in this house is what they appear to be and there is a surprise around every corner.

I did disagree / take issue with the forgiveness arc, simply because I feel there are crimes deserving of eternal punishment in retribution and this was one of them, for me at least. Otherwise, a very satisfying ending though I still have questions that may never be answered.

Overall, this is the first mystery novel that’s ever really engaged me and may have made me open to more books in the genre.

My review of the first mystery novel that’s ever really engaged me, a classic British Murder Mystery with a fantasy twist The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton.My review of the first mystery novel that’s ever really engaged me, a classic British Murder Mystery with a fantasy twist The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton.My review of the first mystery novel that’s ever really engaged me, a classic British Murder Mystery with a fantasy twist The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton.


Distortion by Victor Dixen – Book Review & Giveaway

Check out my review of Phobos #2 Distortion by @VictorDixen - this suspense filled space opera is well on the way to becoming one of my favourite sci-fi series.
Click on cover for the book’s description.

I received this book from the publisher, Hot Key Books, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

I was completely hooked on the Phobos series after reading Ascension earlier this year and falling headfirst into the space opera Dixen has created, described as Love Island in space for this new British audience, this series is fun, compelling and full of suspense.

Whilst the first book read more like a dystopian/YA novel, this sequel is more of a classic space adventure with the same YA drama thrown in for good measure and it totally lives up to its predecessor.

In this instalment we see the Mars Pioneers landing on their new home and the inevitable drama that was bound to ensue on their first meeting. Much like most reality shows, this allows us to get a much more in-depth look at the characters and reveals much about their past and personality in the way they interact with one another.

New layers are revealed as the book continues, especially in terms of the boys, who we didn’t get a lot of interaction within the first novel and it certainly keeps you on your toes, with unmasking around every corner.  Alexei, in my humble opinion, is revealed to be something of a chauvinist pig; Mozart is not as reformed as he might have you believe and Marcus hides a multitude of sins under all those beautiful tattoos – and those are just the start.

Andrew may well be my new favourite (and he forms an unlikely alliance, but I won’t spoil it) and Serena’s deception truly knows no bounds. The characters all feel so much more fleshed out (with the exception of a few but I’m hoping to see more of them as the series progresses).

My one complaint, however, would have to be Serena. I’m not sure if it is how I am reading it personally but she can sometimes come off as slightly caricature-ish. This isn’t necessarily a detrimental comment, as much of the series is somewhat melodramatic (there are a long of !’s that I feel come from the original French text), just an observation as though she continues to give reasons for her actions, I don’t quite believe her and can’t seem to understand what she is gaining from all this. Surely, surely, she would become richer, more powerful, in general, benefit more if the Pioneers continue to live long and happy lives? Why not just help them? She is quickly losing everything to this scheme and I can’t help but wonder if it’s worth it. I will say, despite her odd cartoon-y moments she isn’t half a clever villain. Of course, Leonor can see what she’s doing, being our heroine, but Serena’s general approach to this whole plot is a clever one – though I can’t help but be disappointed the bulk of the Pioneers don’t see through her too, they’re generally very clever.

Fair warning, this book ends on yet another blasted cliff-hanger, somewhat similar to the first, though I assimilate this to the ‘duff-duff’ at the end of Eastenders in this Space Opera.

I look forward to the next book – this is well on the way to becoming a favourite sci-fi series for me.


If you like the look of this you can win 1 Paperback copy of Distortion here:

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Check out my review of Phobos #2 Distortion by @VictorDixen - this suspense filled space opera is well on the way to becoming one of my favourite sci-fi series.Check out my review of Phobos #2 Distortion by @VictorDixen - this suspense filled space opera is well on the way to becoming one of my favourite sci-fi series.Check out my review of Phobos #2 Distortion by @VictorDixen - this suspense filled space opera is well on the way to becoming one of my favourite sci-fi series.

 

Pride by Ibi Zoboi – Book Review

Check out my review of Pride by Ibi Zoboi - ‘Zoboi approaches the story of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy’s with a new, authentic and #ownvoices perspective, which is a rare occurrence in an abundance of interchangeable traditionalist retellings.’
Click on cover for the book’s description.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher Balzer + Bray and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

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Overall, I really enjoyed this refreshing take on one of my favourite classics. Zoboi approaches the story of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy’s with a new, authentic and #ownvoices perspective, which is a rare occurrence in an abundance of interchangeable traditionalist retellings.

Though it would be worth mentioning here I would not strictly class this as a retelling; I think the cover gives a better description, ‘a Pride and Prejudice remix’. It has notes and snippets of the original story, but the beats are different. There’s nothing wrong with that, just worth mentioning if you’re going into this expecting a carbon copy of Austen’s tale adapted because this is not that book. I feel for a book to really be considered a ‘retelling’ there are certain pivotal plot points that have to be included, which in this case they weren’t. All that really features from the original text and the templates of the majority of the characters and the hate to love relationship between Darius & Zuri.

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Zuri Benitez is a really distinctive and strong narrative standpoint, and the integration of her poetry into the story was a really great touch and gave a deeper insight into her character. The rest of the cast of characters are also brilliant in their own right, both those familiar from Meryton and those unique to this book. Zoboi creates an authentic, warm and vibrant atmosphere and setting you can’t help but get caught up in. So much of this book felt like music coming off the page.

Pride does contain a lot of slang, both in narrative and dialogue which generally I don’t like but I feel as though the book would have been missing that note of veracity without it. I’ll admit, I had to consult Urban Dictionary for a lot of it (learned some new words!) because I just don’t use that much slang. It’s not that I think there’s anything wrong with it, hell half our language is based off it nowadays, it’s just not how I express myself and so I sought help from Google.

However, I still felt I missed a lot in this book. When Zuri speaks to Warren and other people in her neighbourhood who share her culture she often references ‘a secret language’ those involved in the conversation all understand. This language is never really translated to the reader and as a result, I kind of felt like I was on the outside looking in, in places.

Related imageI recognise I am not really the target audience for this book but at the same time, I feel #ownvoices books like this have a secondary purpose, as well as representing marginalised cultures and minorities. That secondary purpose being to remedy ignorance by bringing attention and educating the reader about these marginalised cultures and their beliefs and points of view. This is a small qualm really, and some things could be inferred but at times it really did feel like I was reading another language as the words being exchanged were clearly loaded with meaning but I just didn’t know what it was.

The characters undergo similar development to those in P&P but my only real problem was with an aspect of Zuri’s development. Though I know prejudice is a huge aspect of this novels makeup I found Zuri more than a little close-minded throughout the book and it’s not a trait she entirely lets go of. From her opinion to her changing neighbourhood – which, fair enough I understand having seen my own city change dramatically over past years, but I’m a firm believer places shouldn’t be defined as belonging to one ethnicity or one culture, there should just be places that we, the only race on Earth, the human race, are free to move freely between and live in without being made to feel or believe we have no right to be and I mean anybody when I say that, though I’m well aware it only goes one way at the moment and that sucks – to her constant perpetuation of what she thought Darius ought to be like because he’s black, and her complete refusal to try and get to know people with a different background to her own.

It just sort of grated on what I felt Austen wanted to represent in Elizabeth Bennett who, for her time, was forward thinking and nonconformist woman, made more brilliant for the fact she used her intelligence and other people’s prejudices and preconceptions to get away with it.

Zuri seems closer to acceptance at the end of the novel and I suppose these frustrations are a sign Zoboi wrote her book well as, though I understand their equivalents in the original text, the chronological difference prevents me from really feeling anything for the struggles of the Bennett sisters, where the Bentitez sisters’ struggles feel immediate and relevant to me.

A great read for Afro-Latinx women wanting to see themselves represented by an ingenuitive female author or anyone wanting to try something new and experience a culture I know I personally haven’t been able to before.

Check out my review of Pride by Ibi Zoboi - ‘Zoboi approaches the story of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy’s with a new, authentic and #ownvoices perspective, which is a rare occurrence in an abundance of interchangeable traditionalist retellings.’
Check out my review of Pride by Ibi Zoboi - ‘Zoboi approaches the story of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy’s with a new, authentic and #ownvoices perspective, which is a rare occurrence in an abundance of interchangeable traditionalist retellings.’
Check out my review of Pride by Ibi Zoboi - ‘Zoboi approaches the story of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy’s with a new, authentic and #ownvoices perspective, which is a rare occurrence in an abundance of interchangeable traditionalist retellings.’