Title: Spectacle (Spectacle #1)
Author: Jodie Lynn Zdrok (Debut Novel)
Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Mystery/Fantasy
Release Date: February 12th 2019 from Tor Teen
Pages: 359 (US Hardcover)
Format: Library Book
Goodreads Synopsis: Paris, 1887.
Sixteen-year-old Nathalie Baudin writes the daily morgue column for Le Petit Journal. Her job is to summarize each day’s new arrivals, a task she finds both fascinating and routine. That is, until the day she has a vision of the newest body, a young woman, being murdered–from the perspective of the murderer himself.
When the body of another woman is retrieved from the Seine days later, Paris begins to buzz with rumors that this victim may not be the last. Nathalie’s search for answers sends her down a long, twisty road involving her mentally ill aunt, a brilliant but deluded scientist, and eventually into the Parisian Catacombs. As the killer continues to haunt the streets of Paris, it becomes clear that Nathalie’s strange new ability may make her the only one who can discover the killer’s identity–and she’ll have to do it before she becomes a target herself.
So I heard about this book late last year after some of my blogger friends LaRonda, Kaya and others give this book great reviews and I put it on my TBR. Then I learned more about the plot from reading it on Goodreads and I got really excited about it. So I found out that my library ordered a few copies and I got one of the first copies on release day. I also follow the author on social media and she’s so nice (and love cats) so that’s always great. So how did I like it? Here’s a breakdown of my thoughts.
- Learning something new: So at the time of 1887 in Paris, people going to the morgues to look at dead bodies was a common thing! It was for entertainment which is something I didn’t know and it’s crazy. I always like historical books more when I learn something new, no matter how small the detail.
- Mystery: The murder mystery aspect was very interesting and it gives a bit of Jack the Ripper vibes, which was very interesting. The way the murders and other creepy things happened was very well done. I liked how the author dealt with the suspense, suspicious people and the other smaller clues. I was thinking that it would follow the normal formula of the common murder mystery books but I was proven wrong 🙂
- Light fantasy: With Nathalie having an ability, this light fantasy touch made the story a bit different from normal historical novels. I won’t say anymore about the light fantasy aspect, but it was refreshing to read about and it was set up in a fascinating way!
- Main Character: I did rather enjoy Nathalie as a protagonist. She writes for the morgue column because not only is it a job to support her family, but she is fascinated by the macabre. But seeing what she goes through in the story shows the many facets to her. She’s brave, caring but shows her anger, frustration and fear at times and I related to her a few times in the book. She felt authentic to her time period and she was very well fleshed out.
- Ending: I wasn’t sure how the ending was going to pan out, but I was NOT disappointed! I will just say that this ended perfectly in the most evil way *evil laugh but nervous about the long wait for more*
- Pacing: The middle of the book was a major struggle for me. When I read the first half, where it started dragging, I was worried that it would only be a 3 star book. The middle got somewhat repetitive and somewhat boring and it started turning away from the bit of creepy atmosphere it had at the beginning.
- Length: Along with the pacing, I do think this book is slightly long for the story within these pages. I think it could be about 45 pages shorter, since the middle started stretching the plot a bit too much.
Overall: Luckily, this book surprised me and I ended up enjoying like it my other blogger friends did. I will say now to only go with the Goodreads synopsis and be aware of spoilers. The less you know about the book, the more that the surprises will sink its teeth into you. The Goodreads synopsis gives you enough to get the story going. I loved the light fantasy element thrown in and how that was developed. Nathalie is a good person and a fleshed out protagonist and the last 130 pages truly surprised me for the genre and this is a debut novel not to be missed! I need more so freaking badly now after the way the end pans out.
Have you read this book? Did you also enjoy it? What are your thoughts? Tell me in the comments!