Hello world and happy Monday to everyone! Today I am back with an ARC review. I’m trying to find a balance between ARCs and not ARCs reviews and I really hope to write more reviews than the last year, so here I am! I have procrastinated a lot with this review because I found it really hard to write. I let some time pass, to have a more cool mind about the book but it’s not easier now than before so… I’ll try, but it would be a confusing thing, and for that I am sorry!
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley and to the editor.
Title: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
Author: Stuart Turton
Publication date: September 18th, 2018
Page Count: 438
The Rules of Blackheath:
Evelyn Hardcastle will be murdered at 11:00 p.m.
There are eight days, and eight witnesses for you to inhabit.
We will only let you escape once you tell us the name of the killer.
Understood? Then let’s begin…
Evelyn Hardcastle will die. Every day until Aiden Bishop can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others…
The most inventive debut of the year twists together a mystery of such unexpected creativity it will leave readers guessing until the very last page.
Had I enjoyed it? Yes, absolutely!
Would I recommend this book? Without any doubts! They are publishing it in Italian, too, and as soon as it comes out here I would buy some copies to gift because I know a lot of people that would enjoy it!
Was it as I was expecting? Nope. At all.
If you want the short version, you can just read the three questions and answers and be done with it. But if you want more… well, I’ll try to be clear or, at least, understandable! But I am not making promises here!
First of all, the pace. When I read the plot for the first time I was enamored and intrigued. And I was expecting a fast-paced book, with a compelling rhythm to the narration, but that’s not the case. I won’t say that the book is slow, because it’s not really slow slow, but it’s not fast, either. The author takes his good time to get around and to tell the story and we can’t do much if not sitting and keep on reading. I think that, in the end, this choice is the best one, I have to be honest, but once or twice (or maybe more) I wished for something a little bit more… fast.
And then we have the story and characters. The author did an amazing job with all of them, he creates a time paradox (and we have to make an act of faith on this one, because if you start to doubts or start questioning, you won’t come out sane) really complex, because we have a lot of actors in it and he manages to keep track of all, he doesn’t loose threads around and he does it with a precision and an ease that it makes it all look easy. But it’s not easy at all. And he creates for us a story full of mystery, intrigues, twists, and momentum. You are there, reading page after page because you need to see what would happen next, or why something is happening. You are driven for all the reading by your need to understand and to discover what happened in the past, because even if we are all here for the death of Evelyn, our story began some years ago. And the need to understand and discover sometimes is almost maddening. You have to know and you have to know now!
But, even if the author has done a great job, and the story is compelling, it’s not a beautiful story. I mean, we are speaking about murder so yes, it would not be a fun or happy story, that’s a given. But it’s more. We have a lot of characters and all of them have secrets, both in the present and in the past, and all of them are, in a way or another, not exactly good people. We don’t have a drop of good in all the manor. Not the story, not the characters, not the setting (that’s quite creepy and misty, always full of darkness), nothing. And mind you, I am not complaining, that’s not it. It’s just that I found it quite peculiar, and I wanted to point that out.
And last but not least, we have the characters. We have a lot of them but all of them are well developed. The author is amazing with them all, too. And even if we know that they aren’t good people, we are driven by them, we want, no, we need to know more about them, about all their secrets, that are so many and so dark that hang in the air, like a fog around every each one of them. The characters that I despised the most were the Hardcastle seniors, they were really despicable characters and I often wondered about what kind of person they were, because really??? They really get me annoyed in more than one occasion, but, to be completely honest, most of the characters would drive you mad, one time or another. It’s just their charm. Or at least, I guess. And ok, they aren’t really all bad, but almost all. I have warned you!
I know that it can seem like I was complaining, but trust me, I enjoyed the reading and I have appreciated all of the things I wrote about, as strange as it can sound. And I really think the author is a genius. But the best thing, the real stroke of genius is, is that the author creates a complete and complex story, with real characters, mysteries, and secrets everywhere, that keep you on the verge of your chair because you just need to know and… and he gives us all the answers that we wanted but… he lets us with a ton of new questions with the answers. It’s diabolical, I know. But the point is that the story has an end and we learn all the secrets and all the answers we needed, and that is so satisfying! But the author left us with an ulterior twist, that is not a story twist but a… setting twist? A world-building twist? I don’t know how to explain this but the last mystery for us is about the world in which the story is set. We end a story and we open a universe of possibilities, and I found it almost mind-blowing.
And ok, this was just the cherry on the top, because, believe me, this book is good, as in really good, but with this not so little detail has become not just good but amazing!
And what about you? Have you read this book? What are your thoughts about it?? Or are you interested in it? Let me know!