Spectacle by Jodie Lynn Zdrok
ARC received from Netgalley for a fair review.
Publish Date: February 12, 2019
Another historical fiction! I never seemed to enjoy this genre much before because I felt that they were either too dense or too slow. And while this book was a tad on the slow side, it was also really interesting and quite an adventure! After falling in love with the Stalking Jack the Ripper series last year I’ve been dying for another gory old timey mystery and when I read the blurb for this one I was so hopeful that I had found just the right book to bring my search to an end. While I thoroughly enjoyed reading Spectacle, there was also something that kept me from truly loving it.
Spectacle is also one of the many books set in France that I have read here lately. I seem to have a theme I am chasing in my book selections lately. Or maybe its the authors that have been on a theme to their writing lately. Did the chicken or the egg come first? The world may never know.. But I digress, the setting, while familiar also took a peak at the darker more dangerous side of Paris. It wasn’t all cafe life and trips to the Eiffel Tower. This book was filled with murder, serial killers, and danger. This was a side of France that didn’t thrive in romance and wealth.
This book is about a girl named Nathalie who after her mother is injured and her dad leaves on business, she must find a job through her fathers connection at the local newspaper to help provide for her family. Missing out on a summer away with her best school friend, Nathalie is the new journalist for the local morgue column. Her job entails daily visits to the morgue to deliver the news on the latest passings of life. But on one strange visit while studying the body of a young girl close to her own age, she just happens to touch the glass only to be trapped in a vision through the eyes of the murderer. From that point on Nathalie must decide if this strange new power is real, or if she is losing her mind like her poor aunt Brigitte. And is she willing to accept the consequences of using such power? Is finding the murderer of these girls worth possibly becoming insane?
I really liked the bond of friends and the focus on family and the relationships between them and the main character Nathalie. It all seemed real and honest, there were hardships yes, and regret, but it also showed the real range of emotions one might go through if stuck in a tough position like Nathalie was. She experienced so much death and fear at the hands of this psycho killer and no one person would ever come out of something like that unchanged. It was also refreshing that while there were hints of romance and flirtation, it wasn’t the main focus of the book. While this is normally what I live off of in books that I read, it was nice to know that even though there wasn’t a romance per say, it was still an engaging and interesting read.
My main complaint would be the ending. I don’t want to give away too much as to spoil anyone, but I don’t think its even fair to call it a cliffhanger. The ending was more like missing the top step while climbing the stairs in the dark. One minute you’re trekking along thinking everything is fine and normal, and then whoof, no step. No more stairs to climb. Totally unexpecting. Just like the ending to this book. It just hits you out of nowhere, almost feeling like its right in the middle of a sentence. I kept flipping pages thinking, there’s no way that’s how this ends. It feels completely unfinished and that is the worst feeling in the world at the end of a book. I’m not sure if there is another book in the future to continue on with this story, and if there isn’t then I would say don’t even bother reading this because you will never have closure in your life again. Okay, maybe that was a little dramatic, but still. YOU CAN’T JUST END A BOOK LIKE THAT! In the meantime I am going to believe that there will be a Spectacle #2 otherwise this will just make me even more angry.
In summary, this was a really interesting and captivating read. I was extremely interested in finding the killer and found it to be a really well written book. Although I didn’t care much for the ending, I would continue reading this if it ever becomes a series. I’m starting to like more of the historical fiction genre here lately, its fun branching out to find that you do actually enjoy some different styles of writing than what you might be used to reading. Because isn’t that what reading is supposed to do, take us out of our norm, break us out of our shells to experience what we normally wouldn’t? I’d like to think so.
If you liked this book:
This has been quite the year so far with Parisian style books, and so in keeping with that theme I think that a fun follow up for Spectacle would be to read Grim Lovelies by Megan Shepherd. Both of these books take you on an adventure through Paris, France all while trying to discover the great who-done-it mystery. While Grim Lovelies is a little more on the fantastical side with Beasties running amok, they still both have that perfectly beautiful feel of the Paris setting. The main difference would be the time frame each book is told in. While Spetacle was set back in the 1800’s Grim Lovelies is set in our current time. Still, Grim Lovelies is a much faster paced book and will hook you from the first page. Definitely worth a read!
Have you all read either of these books? Did you ever find yourself liking a particular book so much that you want to find every other book like it to read? What is that one genre that you just don’t think you could ever get into? I’d love to know what you think!