Ehn. Serviceable thriller/mystery, but it was too much praised for me. It was particularly recommended to me because of the way it addresses gaslightiEhn. Serviceable thriller/mystery, but it was too much praised for me. It was particularly recommended to me because of the way it addresses gaslighting in terms of mental illness and an unreliable narrator, and I can see why some might like that, but I...didn't. Partially because the pacing felt all over the place, with too much plot heavy lifting done with interstitial pieces outside the first person narration so that more page space could be devoted to the narrator's anxiety and panic-fueled bad decisions.
But mostly I had trouble with it because of how heavily the author leaned into having the narrator not be believed by anyone. Yes, that's the whole point, but a) it is a personal bugbear in that I find that sort of thing very, very unpleasant to read, and b) there wasn't near enough vindication to make it worth the misery of pages and pages of the narrator spiraling in anxiety and being condescended to/dismissed by every single other character. (Also, how much of it was her actual anxiety disorder and how much was not taking care of basic bodily needs like food and sleep? This narrator needs some of Lisbeth Salander's endless sandwiches. The fixation on not eating was also very uncomfortable to me.)
Also my god the plot holes that a mack truck could drive through there at the end.
The setting was nice, though. Very Hurtigruteny, with added luxury yacht. ...more
A delightful audiobook, and I am a fan of Weldon's propensity to taxonomize fandom and fannish trends. A+ voices, even if Comic Book Guy voice gets aA delightful audiobook, and I am a fan of Weldon's propensity to taxonomize fandom and fannish trends. A+ voices, even if Comic Book Guy voice gets a little wearing by the end (much like the fans represented by Comic Book Guy voice). ...more
This series was recommended ever so thoroughly to me, as it seems to be absolutely my thing (England, lady mystery-solver, historical setting), and IThis series was recommended ever so thoroughly to me, as it seems to be absolutely my thing (England, lady mystery-solver, historical setting), and I think it simultaneously a) was oversold to me and 2) has elements I just don't like. It's terribly competent in doing its thing; I just don't like the thing.
I was expecting, I don't know, something more serious. I was not expecting to be introduced to a forcibly whimsical cast of characters. I was not expecting a romance-novel-style asshole hero. I was not expecting the heroine to make quite so many boneheaded moves.
I think it's that this is written like a certain kind of romance novel that does not work for me (some do, and I enjoy them thoroughly, but my tastes are very specific), except there's not a romantic resolution at the end of the first book, plus there's some dead people and some mystery solvin'. This again should be right up my alley, but the execution fell down for me.
Mostly I just cannot make myself be allured by a hero who says, "If you do X, I will not be responsible for my actions." No, jackass. You're always responsible. To place the blame for your actions - presumably harmful ones - on the heroine, in order to control her? Yeah. I'm checked out and could care less whether your emotionally stunted wooing over corpses is successful. This is a certain brand of romance hero who has little more personality than "hot" and "brooding" by which I remain utterly unentranced. Also, I will admit my bias for a clever heroine, and so far Lady Julia isn't cutting it.
All that, and I still give it three stars. It was competent, yes, and I will read at least a couple of sequels. It almost scratches the itch, and it remains to be seen if the other books magnify the problems or resolve them. ...more