This book was weird and glorious and twisty and genuinely fun. It went on all sorts of oddball, fascinating, incredible turns the way only Tim Powers can do, and it is now my absolute favorite of his books!
This was a wonderful cozy paranormal story. I loved every bit of it. Mysteries and ghosts and some quirky characters. I will definitely be visiting this world again. Also, while a primary mystery was solved so there was a satisfying conclusion, there were so many other things left open for me to wonder about! It was very well done and has me very excited to read more and find out what’s going to happen with some of those ongoing mysteries and problems.
I loved the rhythm of the language in this story. It was like a fairytale in so many ways, and yet it was much richer than that. And I loved finding out how Jack and Jill ended up at the school. There’s so much in the first book that has more weight now. I will probably have to reread it.
There were parts of this story I really liked, and I especially really like the premise of the series (psychics and conspiracies and all sorts of cool stuff!). The middle was really long and draggy, though, and it kept throwing me out of the story so I was had to take breaks from reading it. I will probably try at least one or two more books from this series, though, to see how they are. There’s enough good stuff in there to give it another go.
I’m going to just start by saying don’t bother with this book. There’s too much wrong with it to be forgiven. So, here’s my Goodreads review:
I don’t usually review books I give low stars to. It kind of doesn’t feel worth my time. But this had some seriously terrible and offensive things going on, so I’m going to write about it.
First the treatment of the MC’s boyfriend’s college buddy. They visit him, and as they’re heading back to the car she starts teasing her boyfriend about his friend and what good taste he has and how he likes show tunes. And then she tells the boyfriend that his friend is gay and has a crush on him, and as backup for this they talk about how the friend did decorate the boyfriend’s house for him. This scene pulled out just about every cliche in the book.
Then let’s talk about the boyfriend. He’s supposed to be a good guy apparently. But the two characters drop into random, extremely childish fights for no real reason other than the story must have needed some drama at those points. But that’s not the worst of it. Frequently the boyfriend gets angry because the MC does things he told her not to. Like he has any right to tell her what to do! And at one of those times, when she went out when he told her not to because it wasn’t safe, he took her car keys. Including going into her purse to take her spare set. So that she couldn’t leave his house (where she was staying to nurse him from a bullet wound). So, controlling and abusive and really just horrible. This stuff is NOT a show of how much someone cares about someone else.
It took me this long to write this up because I was so angry about this horrible jerk that I couldn’t write about it without just screaming on the page. I’m really disappointed in this story because I really like the premise of the series. But I’m tired of the childish, ridiculous, and outright harmful behavior of these characters (I didn’t even talk about the MC’s sister and her completely outrageous and unreasonable behavior!). This is definitely not for me.
It was wonderful to spend some time in one of my favorite fiction universes, and getting to know Abigail better was great. I cannot wait to see what she gets up to as she gets older! The foxes were a delight, too, and I really enjoyed getting a peek into their operations. And I wonder if Nightingale has any clue about her perception of their conversation at the end.
The only criticism I have is what Abigail said to Simon’s mother at the end. I didn’t catch that about Simon at all; I went over a lot of things and tried to make it fit, but I felt like Abigail’s comments about Simon came out of nowhere in a lot of ways. Although in hindsight I could sort of retrofit it, that felt more like a surprise twist than something that was really set up ahead of time. But this was fairly minor overall and didn’t detract from the story–I still loved it as I always do with these stories.
This was so good! It was set up like an old horror movie with the eerie atmosphere, and then it unraveled into something much deeper. And the ending was so satisfying! I thought we had a tragedy, but those last pages! I am so happy with where this went. All sorts of unexpected turns but with enough hints in hindsight that nothing seemed like it didn’t belong.
This was another fun read. I enjoy the town and the characters both human and ghostly. My one wish is that there would be less focus on Connie’s weight (she’s the main character). I don’t feel like we need her to be a large woman who constantly worries about her weight and how she looks and feels (when hugging) to other people, etc. I don’t feel like it adds anything to the stories, and I wish it wasn’t there.
I really liked this book! I’m surprised by how much I liked it. I thought it was going to be a bit of a surface glitz sort of book, fun and fast and easy but without much depth. I was wrong. There were depths to the characters and plot bits that surprised me, and it was thoroughly engaging. I’m reading the next in the series right away, and maybe more after that, too. This was a wonderful reading surprise.