Today has been mentally draining and exhausting to the point I could quite literally feel how close I was to my sanity snapping in half. I'm beyond glad to be home and away from those loud, annoying peers of mine. And now, to help de-stress, a review of the book I finished today.
Book Jacket Summary:
HE'S THE INFAMOUS KILLER NO MAN HAS EVER BEEN ABLE TO FIND. Stalking Jack The Ripper
NOW IT'S A GIRL'S TURN.
Groomed to be the perfect highborn Victorian young lady, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has a decidedly different plan for herself. After the loss of her beloved mother, she is determined to understand the nature of death and its workings. Trading in her embroidery needle for an autopsy scalpel, Audrey secretly apprentices in forensics. She soon gets drawn into the investigation of serial killer Jack the Ripper, but to her horror, the search for clues brings her closer to her sheltered world than she ever thought possible.
Inspired by the infamously unsolved case, this dazzling debut by Kerri Maciscalco weaves an atmospheric tale of beauty and darkness in which a remarkably modern Victorian girl discovers that some secrets simply won't stay dead.
by Kerri Maniscalco, to a certain extent, isn't normally the type of book I'd reach for, but I'm glad I did. In fact, as it went on, I became so enthralled with it that having to stop reading it felt like an injustice; Dare I say even torture at times.
Let me make one thing perfectly clear though; This book is NOT for the squeamish, particularly regarding gore/viscera, and medical things. Granted, this story is set in 1888, so the medical practices are pretty dated, I still don't think anyone overly sensitive to those things should be reading this. And this is coming from the girl that laughed her way through "The Russian Sleep Experiment," creepypasta. (Don't look that up if you're squeamish, either.)
Seriously. On the very first page, Audrey Rose is slicing open a cadaver, and there's no sugarcoating to it at all.
One other thing I feel like I should get out of the way for history nuts out there that might be interested; Kerri Maciscalco has entire pages at the back pointing out that she took some creative and historical liberties throughout the novel. However, I personally don't think this takes anything away from the story whatsoever.
Truthfully, this is a really good example of writing in a more...I don't know, "eloquent,"? style. The language and wording works perfectly to convey a Victorian setting and characters, and the setting descriptions and such are done in a way that gives you a good mental image without being overly complicated.
Which reminds me, our dear characters were very well-done, also. Clear personalities that blend well and play off one another easily and fit their roles they play in a literary sense quite nicely.
Thomas was infuriatingly annoying and also highly charismatic at the same time; even for the reader. So we get a good feeling of how Audrey Rose sees him in that respect. That's good writing if I ever saw it.
This being a mystery, it also had to have misdirection, of course, and I'd say job well done on that for sure. Me personally, I had a strong suspicion thanks to the back of the book, which was dispelled way earlier than I would've expected it to be, if it did turn out to be wrong. Then my suspicion sided with Audrey Rose's until, to me, it was way too obvious to stick with. And my final suspicion from there, albeit a little shaky in my confidence in it, turned out to be right. However, I feel like I'm in the minority on figuring that last one out, at least as early as I did. I could be wrong, though.
I will say those, one scene towards the end involving Mr. Ripper is something I sort of saw coming, but it was executed in such a way that I never would've pictured, and that's important in mystery novels--The unexpected.
While I'm not trying to brag, I think my over-thinking habits made me arguably too smart for this book, and that's the only reason why there weren't that many 100% surprises for me. There were definitely some, but there were also some things I know a lot of people won't pick up on; not right away, at least.
Overall I think mystery fans will get a pretty big kick out of this book, especially murder mysteries. Oh and those with a fondness for steampunk and nostalgia for the Victorian age might, too.
I know I enjoyed it a lot, and, like I said before, I don't necessarily usually go for stuff like this.
Well written, good characters, keeps your attention, good pacing, a plot that isn't overly complicated to follow, and a general flow and tone that just makes you want to crawl inside the book and live there. A definite recommendation from me; that's for sure.