The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book might be a bit difficult to review.
There's a TON of fantastic plotting and truly wild mystery reveals packed in here, keeping us always guessing and on our toes. The level of detail is equal to the plotting, as is the uber-Clue model that frames the book. But the best part was the fantasy aspect.
This isn't a normal whodunit, no matter what anyone says. Body-hopping and repeated days like Groundhog Day fills the pages. Just trying to figure out THAT part kept my mind as busy or busier than the murder mystery.
But then there are the aspects, despite the good writing and fantastic setup, that dragged the book down for me.
Many, if not most of the characters were really hard to enjoy, bringing equal amounts of distaste and cringing to the tale. Almost no one is a redeemable character, and while that's to be expected in a Clue-type tale, a novel generally needs at least ONE anchor point.... but the narrator is an almost blank slate, giving us almost no motivation to feel for him even when we finally get his reveals. Forgive me for the hint of the reveals but the everyman lost almost all of his memories and became a large portion of these despicable creatures through the course of the tale. So how much of an everyman is he? He's practically subsumed in the muck.
And then there is the last bit I had some trouble with.
It was too long. Bits went on and on while I had no decent anchor to hang my hat on and I just didn't care about what was going on because the core of the tale was a bit too occluded until MUCH later.
Yes, a lot of this is necessary because of this type of book. The joy of the surprise, the multiple twists here rather REQUIRE the setup we are given almost as if we're reading (or rather, watching,) Momento. I just think a shorter treatment when we are SO much in the dark might have worked better.
Otherwise, the wrap-up and the twists really did make this novel stand out and shout. I still recommend it despite all my bellyaching. :)
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