Title: Sensational (Spectacle #2)
Author: Jodie Lynn Zdrok
Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Mystery/Fantasy
Release Date: February 11th 2020 from Tor Teen
Format: Physical ARC via giveaway
*I received an ARC of this book from an Instagram giveaway run by the author herself. But this doesn’t affect my opinion and no quotations will be used in this review. Huge thank you to the author for the giveaway ARC copy*
Goodreads Synopsis: The 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris is full of innovations, cultural displays, and inventions. Millions of visitors attend over the course of several months…so no one would notice if a few were missing, right? Maybe—but someone is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the guillotine with a display of their own: beheaded victims in some of the Exposition’s most popular exhibits.
Nathalie Baudin’s ability to see murder scenes should help, but she’s suffering the effects of her magic more than ever before. Fortunately she has other Insightfuls to team up with—if they can be trusted.
It’s here everyone! This was my first read of the new year! I won this book from a giveaway that Jodie ran on her Instagram and this was in my December book haul recently. She had a wonderful note in it and signed the book which was so awesome. This was a highly anticipated release for me, since I really enjoyed the first one nearly a year ago. I was really curious to see what murder mystery was going to be in this one and where Nathalie ended up. This is the final book in the duology and this was a great farewell to Nathalie and her friends! I liked seeing how Nathalie grew came and came to terms with her Insightful power. This is also a sequel where you HAVE to read the first book to get the whole context 🙂
- Setting: This book has the 1889 Exposition Universelle as the main setting for the sequel. This is a huge worlds fair that has happened every few years and takes place in different parts of the world. (Fun fact: one of the worlds fair was in the 1962 when the Space Needle in Seattle was unveiled!) With the fair being in Paris, it’s fun to see Natahlie be completely enraptured with the culture, food, clothing and dancing that she sees in the different sections of the fair. There’s mention of Japan, South America and some of the Eastern European countries that are mentioned. I liked this setting to show the marvel that was this huge fair at the time.
- More about Insightfuls: Since Nathalie discovered that she was an Insightful in the first book, we learn more about her ability and other people having abilities in this sequel. There’s a new female Insightful that helps Nathalie, Jules and Christophe with the new murder mystery. There’s also a mysterious character that visits Nathalie that could also give her answers on her own powers as they change. I love this idea of Insightfuls in a historical setting and learning more makes this series more filled out and fun.
- Explosive beginning: Man this sequel had such a fantastic opening! It’s not long before the first murder victim is found and the mystery begins. Since the author developed the world and characters in the first book, she jumps right into the action for the sequel. Nathalie and the others try to start figuring out who is leaving severed heads in the different Universelle exhibits. The mystery has very similar vibes to the first book with trying to find out who is the killer and I was hooked from the first chapter.
- Character Development: This book was not only about the murder mystery but also about how Nathalie has changed as a person. A lot happened to her in book one and she’s both terrified but also a little grateful for her Insightful abilities. But her power also affects her friendship with Simone and the relationships with Jules and her parents. But with all that happens in this sequel, I think Nathalie is such a smart and brave girl. She’s very logical, with trying to retrace her steps and think about the presented evidence to help find the killer. But I also love Nathalie for how true she is to herself. She really listens to her instincts and feelings with all that happens and by the end, her growth is so natural and also so satisfying.
- Writing: Jodie is an amazing writer! Her books are so easy to binge and it was hard for me to look away or do something else while reading this. She brings the gory descriptions, moments of tension and fear, while also some great quiet moments where the characters are trying to do what’s right while feeling scared at the same time. I need all the books from her!
- Murder mystery: I will be honest and say that the mystery in Spectacle was much stronger than the mystery in this book. This book’s mystery started out strong, but by the end, I felt like the murderer was kinda forgotten about for a bit. Their intentions/motivations weren’t completely fleshed out, so the reveal was rushed at the end. I still couldn’t guess who the killer was (I’m terrible at it) but I wish we got even more about the killer themselves.
- A bit too short: This book is shorter than the first one and I was a tiny bit bummed that it wasn’t as long. I wanted even more of the Universelle and more of the murder mystery. This is more of a personal preference than a con 🙂 I just more more lol
Overall: This is such a fun series that I’m so glad I’ve read and loved. The setting is fantastic, great protagonist and this book was a great farewell to Nathalie and her friends. This series suits a duology very well and I can’t recommend it enough if you like Jackaby, The Diviners or other YA historical fiction books. While the first book was stronger as far as the murder mystery, this book was still fun and very satisfying.
Are you excited for this book? If you’ve read it already, what did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!