Stuart Turton’s debut novel, The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle caught my eye immediately. It’s a mystery novel with a fantastical element – sort of like Groundhog’s Day, if someone died. Plus, the I couldn’t resist the beautiful cover. So I had to read it. And I’m glad I did.
(All reviews are spoiler-free unless otherwise noted.)
(From Goodreads) How do you stop a murder that’s already happened?
At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed—again. She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend—but nothing and no one is quite what they seem.
Deeply atmospheric and ingeniously plotted, The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a highly original debut that will appeal to fans of Kate Atkinson and Agatha Christie.
The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle was a really interesting novel. I think it’s safe to say I’ve never read anything quite like this. It captured my attention almost instantly, and was hard to put down. I thought the story was very creative – giving the reader bits of information as the main character lives out the same day from different perspectives works so well, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I found it exciting and fun, and it turned out to be a fairly quick read for such a large book.
The writing is incredibly impressive for a debut novel. Turton has a lot of talent. My favorite kind of writing to read is the kind that’s beautiful and well-crafted, but unobtrusive and not distracting. Turton mastered that here, and it made reading this book a very enjoyable experience. Based on the writing alone, I would definitely read more of his work.
As for the characters, I truly loved how dimensional every single one of them is. Turton does a brilliant job of revealing bits about each of them slowly, and showing how all of them grow, even over just the course of one day. It was a lot of fun getting to know all of them, and I think all of them added to the story.
While I did enjoy this book immensely, I did have a few minor issues with it. First, I think it starts off a bit too slow. The pace does a decent job of illustrating the main character’s confusion at the beginning of the book, but it’s hard to get a good feel for the story. It took me quite a few chapters to adjust to the pacing and everything that was going on, and I think it hampered my enjoyment of the book in the beginning. There were also a few twists and plot points that either seemed unbelievable, or just weren’t explained well enough. I didn’t fully grasp how the repeating days worked when it was first explained, and it’s a fairly complicated system, which made the events a bit confusing until it’s explained a bit more later in the story. Little things like that were a bit distracting, but not huge problems that kept me from liking this book at all. It may not have been perfect, but it is definitely a really good book.
★★★★☆ – Overall, The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a great book. I had a lot of fun reading it. This is a very impressive debut, and I can’t wait to see what Stuart Turton writes next! If you like interesting mysteries, I would recommend this one.
The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle will be available in bookstores September 18. You can preorder a copy on Amazon now. (It’s already out in the UK as The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.)
To get the audiobook for free, use this link to sign up for a free trial of Audible and choose The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle as one of your two free books.
This book was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.
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