Thursday, August 21, 2014

Review: Of Monsters and Madness by Jessica Verday

First thanks to Egmont USA Publishing and Edelweiss for allowing me to read an e-galley of this book.  I have to say though that this was the 2nd book in a row that just didn't really catch and grab me as I read it.  The idea behind it was intriguing, so I finished it because it wasn't horrible, it just wasn't as good as it probably could have been.  Lots of things that didn't really get explained too well, and honestly, kind of boring, making it take me longer than it should have to finish it.

There have been a lot of retellings lately, most of them have been really good.  I thought the idea of this "retelling" or kind of alternate story about Edgar Allan Poe and his famous poem/story about Annabel Lee would be very unique.  And it was more than a retelling of that really.  It also included another classic story, but I don't want to give the story away by saying what it is here.  I  kind of guessed it as I first started, but wasn't sure exactly what was going on till closer to the end.

As I said, the main character is Annabel Lee and when her mother dies she travels to Philadelphia to live with her father and grandfather, neither of which she's met before.  She comes from Siam, and so the "big city" is so much different for her.  She is interested in medicine, after her mother taught her all about healing remedies.  But her father is a stickler for what is "proper".  And so tells her, no forbids her, to continue her interest in it.  He hires a tutor to teach her all the ways she should behave as a wealthy lady, and also to teach her languages like French.  The tutor seems to have a bad relationship with her father though.  And actually, her father isn't very likeable, he's very rude and hateful it seems to his daughter.  Her grandfather, or "Grandpere" is a much more loving person for her to come live with.  She also forms a friendship with Maddie, who is a maid, and also becomes her personal maid for dressing and such.  Her father has an assistant named Allan Poe.  He meets her at the dock when she arrives on the ship.  There is something about him that she finds very interesting, and he seems to be attracted to her as well.  He is a very polite gentleman, although he won't tell her what her father does in his laboratory in the basement of their house.  Annabel Lee arrives in Philadelphia to the news of a murder.  It seems there is a murderer at loose in the city.  There are many sinister characters around the house as well.  A new guard hired to walk around the estate at night to keep it safe.  And at night Annabel Lee runs into another of her father's assistants.  He is Allan's "cousin", and he is named Edgar Poe. Of course the murders soon seem to have a connection to her father, and so of course her curious mind leads her to kind of question things, and occasionally try to figure things out.

I don't feel she was a normal sleuthing kind of character, but she did do a bit of it.  Overall as I said at the beginning, there just wasn't that connection that I felt with other books that kept me reading constantly and I had no problem putting it down to do other things.  I finished it as quick as I could tonight just so I could move on to my next book which I am very excited about.  So I guess I would say I'm just not that big of a fan of this.  And it ended very abruptly, definitely there will have to be a sequel I would think.  But I will  not be back for a second installment.

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