Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

I’m very sure that I requested for this book because it was supposed to be a twist on the usual murder mystery. Well, it definitely was different.

In The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, Aiden wakes up every day in the body of a different person. He also has to relieve each day, watching Evelyn Hardcastle die at 11:00. And until he can figure out who killed her by his last host, he’s doomed.

I can’t really say too much of the plot here because:

1. It would result in a spoiler

2. I’m still confused.

While this was a very clever book, I found it quite confusing. It’s probably because we’re thrown into the narrative with Aiden, who wakes up with a name on his mind but absolutely no idea what’s going on. The first part of the book was basically him trying to understand the whole situation.

Another reason why it confused me was the sheer number of characters. Aiden has 8 hosts and after finishing the story, I still can’t remember any of them. While the book does show Aiden grappling with the characters of the host, all the hosts had the same voice (probably Aiden’s) to me, which made it hard to distinguish between them (and between them and Aiden)

That said, I did understand the ending of the book and thought it was very exciting. Somehow, I managed to understand one plotline and the final few chapters were tightly written and got me hooked. I think that if the first half of the book was the same, I would have understood it more and have been less confused.

I would like to comment on Aiden but I don’t have an opinion of him. Perhaps it’s because he spent most of the book unaware of himself, but I never really got a good sense of what he was like as a person. It always felt that the mystery was the goal and he was sort of fumbling towards it (until the ending, where he came up with a plan and things got interesting).

To be honest, I’m not sure if I would have finished this book if it wasn’t from NetGalley. While it’s very cleverly executed and the ending was good, the beginning was confusing and I never connected with Aiden or the other characters. I normally need either the world or the characters to keep me reading and I didn’t get ‘hooked’ until later in this book.

Mystery fans may enjoy this, but be sure that you know what you’re getting into. This isn’t going to be a typical light read - you’ll have to be able to keep track of a huge cast of characters while trying to solve a murder. If you think you’re up to it, then the world of the Hardcastles awaits.

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.