Title: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
Author: Stuart Turton
Format: Hardcover book
Available in physical books, audio book, or ebook
Rating: 🖤🖤 🖤
“Evelyn Hardcastle will die. Every day until Aiden Bishop can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others.” Publisher’s summary.
What I Loved
The premise of this book was so interesting and unique that I really got sucked in at the beginning. The story was very original in its set-up while still being true to many of the Gothic horror tropes. The remote location, a run down mansion, a mysterious set up to bring together a group of people, and a pervasive rainy mood were all included.
What I Didn’t
After such a unique opening, I really didn’t like where the story led. I felt that the clues left for us as readers weren’t enough to piece together the ending and several plot holes were never filled. There are multiple “twists” in the last half of the book and the story becomes so complex it is hard to keep track. The writing style was overwrought and over the course of the entire book it became a slog.
As for content, there is gratuitous fat-shaming in many of the chapters and the old “sexual assault as plot device” trope also shows up even though it is in a bit of an unconventional way. If these topics would be difficult for you, you might want to skip this one.
“Nothing like a mask to reveal somebody’s true nature.”
Overall, it was very clever in concept but didn’t deliver at the end. I see that many reviewers absolutely loved this book, but it just didn’t land for me. The first half was gripping but I really wanted more in the ending and was left unsatisfied.