A murder mystery, an isolated setting, tons of characters to keep track of, and a Groundhog’s Day-esque setting where our main character awakens in a new body every night. And it’s a damn good time.
Going into this, I knew the premise, knew that it would be slightly confusing, and knew that there would be many twists and turns that would catch me off guard, AND that I would be surprised by the ending. Which is all what actually happened.
I don’t really want to give too much away about the plot, so I’m going be vague, sorry. Evelyn Hardcastle is the daughter of …. the Hardcastles… and is returning home from her studies in Paris and her parents are throwing a party for her. And she is going to die. Our main character’s job is to find out who kills her, once they do, they are set free from having to relive the day over and over.
The only problem is (well not the only problem) that our main man doesn’t remember a thing , doesn’t know where he is, who he is, or why he’s there at all. There’s a mysterious man in a plague doctor’s costume that seems to know more than he’s letting on and it is uncertain whether or not he is to be trusted. Then again, we can’t be certain that anyone should be trusted and we only have seven days to solve the murder.
I really enjoyed the setting and atmosphere of this book. It was fun, exciting, and full of creepy/on-edge/looming danger feelings. This broke a lot of conventions that made me both frustrated and excited. There was no big info dump in the beginning explaining to us what was happening, we just slowly pieced it together with the main character. We’re kept on the same level of knowledge as the person we’re reading from and since it’s one of knowing nothing, it makes the reading experience quite unique.
I didn’t love every person whose body we spent a day in, and I didn’t love the descriptions of some of them, but I did love how they all weaved together to create one larger tapestry of plans and misdirections. It was so well done and so well crafted that I’m still in a little awe by this book, I’m not really sure how Stuart Turton kept everything straight, but I bet there’s a notebook somewhere that would be very interesting to go through. I do think that not everyone will love or appreciate it as much because it is incredibly confusing and dense for the first good chunk of the book. That and some characters are really unlikeable and while I can enjoy a book despite that, I know not everyone can and that’s totally fine. Just putting that out there haha.
Honestly this book could be read year round, but I think for the wintery months, it’s kind of perfect so if you’re a Northern Hemisphere person, I would pick this up and give it a read during this jam packed last couple months. It may sneak its way into your favorites list…..