Downton Abbey with murder and magical realism.
Speaking about books that fufil my interests entirely, this one would be pretty close to the top of the list, even if I wouldn’t give it 5 stars. Stylistically, The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is so different and interesting compared to other books I’ve read lately I’m tempted to give it points for what it tried to do alone.
The book begins with Aiden, our then unnamed protagonist, as he awakens in the body of another man. Through the course of 8 days, Aiden will awake in the bodies of different guests at a party for Evelyn Hardcastle. A party which ends in her death every night. Aiden is tasked with solving her murder and breaking the cycle in order to escape the time loop he is stuck in, but there are barriers in the way and no matter what he does, murder is coming for both he and Evelyn.
Intricatelly-plotted is the nicest way to describe the levels unto which this book performs. It’s incredibly well throught out, I can only imagine the amount of outlining and plotting this novel took. I find the plot and premise to be something to be admired, but it isn’t without it’s faults. The abundance of characters makes it very difficult to keep everyone straight and without my accompanying character sheet (since I read this for a book club) I would have been lost several times. Personally, the author could have cut the amount of host bodies down from 8 to 6 and I think it would have been equally as interesting and impressive.
Part of me also wishes there were more women in the book and that had Aiden jumped into the body of one of the female guests of the party, the story would have had a perspective it was sorely missing. However I also acknowledge that men writing women in those types of situations is problematic at the best of times, so I understand why it may not had been attempted.
It’s hard to talk about this novel without giving too much away seeing as it is a complex murder mystery, but I will say there were many twists within this novel that I never saw coming. The ending is especially mindfucky, and I loved it for it. I wouldn’t recommend this to people who hate magical realism, as this isn’t heavy on that theme but it’s included enough where it might take more grounded readers out of the book.
I read half of this title as an ebook and listened to the other half on Hoopla, and I really enjoyed the narrator. It was the same voice throughout but he took on different accents to distringuish between characters which I enjoyed. I will say I believe the book is harder to follow if you listen to it due to all the twisting naratives, so I would keep that in mind.
Overall I really enjoyed this. A solid 4 star read for me and I already put the author’s next book on hold.
Title: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
Author: Stuart Turton
Format: ebook / eaudiobook
Three Descriptors: Intricately-plotted, unsettling, complex
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