I have time this day to write a review AND the writing bug has seen fit to bite me. So, lovlies, let's look at The September Society by the incrediblyI have time this day to write a review AND the writing bug has seen fit to bite me. So, lovlies, let's look at The September Society by the incredibly talented Charles Finch (Yale and Oxford, people. He got the education that still haunts the misty corners of my dreams). Without further ado, I present my much delayed review of The September Society.
This novel is the sequel to the much beloved and praised A Beautiful Blue Death (Charles Lenox Mysteries). That novel must be read first. Really, reading a mystery series out of order is a no-no. It was nominated for an Agatha Award, so you know it's worth your time if you're into the mystery genre like I am.
This novel, like its predecessor, is about gentleman detective Charles Lenox in Victorian England (so, naturally I'm all over this stuff). Here's a blurb from Goodreads:
"In the small hours of the morning one fall day in 1866, a frantic widow visits detective Charles Lenox. Lady Annabelle's problem is simple: her beloved son, George, has vanished from his room at Oxford. When Lenox visits his alma mater to investigate, he discovers a series of bizarre clues, including a murdered cat and a card cryptically referring to the September Society." "Then, just as Lenox realizes that the case may be deeper than it appears, a student dies, the victim of foul play." What could the September Society have to do with it? What specter, returned from the past, is haunting gentle Oxford? Lenox, with the support of Lady Jane and his other devoted friends in London's upper crust, must race to discover the truth before it comes searching for him, and dangerously close to home."
I found the novel very entertaining. Charles Lenox is like the functional Sherlock Holmes. However, I can't lie and say that it was fast-paced. It wasn't. It was dreadfully slow in the beginning. So. Slow. I was getting a bit antsy because I love Charles Lennox, really I do. He's very brilliant. And I love the characters. But they were stuck a plot that ran like a slow molasses. And then Dallington comes along and all is fine. JUST HOLD ON FOR DALLINGTON!!!!
But really, it is very well written and very enlightening. I liked his first one better, to be honest, but I still really enjoyed this one. I got a nice education on Parliament which is very helpful, I must say.
The setting takes place in Oxford and London--the descriptions of both are fantastic.
Okay, so, I'm not going to keep saying what EVERYONE else is. The love triangle resolves in a good way. WhileEveryone's going to hate me for this....
Okay, so, I'm not going to keep saying what EVERYONE else is. The love triangle resolves in a good way. While I HATE love triangles and view them as an abomination plaguing teen lit, this one was tolerable. I liked all three characters, wasn't "Team" anyone, and felt that the expression of everyone's love for everyone was surprisingly mature. Okay, so the "I had feels" part is done. Because I did have so many feels....
Family tie-ins to The Mortal Instruments: great, BUT DON'T PUT THE FAMILY TREE ON THE INSIDE OF THE JACKET!!! I FIGURED OUT ALMOST EVERYTHING!!! Seriously, I'm very intuitive when it comes to books (probably all of that Agatha Christie I digested as a child...Trust no one, especially not the author), and the book jacket showed me so much.
Magnus: fab, we'd totally be bffs.
Everyone else (Charlotte, Henry, Gabriel, Gideon, Sophie, Cecily, Bridge, Whitelaw, etc.): gorge. Love you all, kisses. EXCEPT YOU, JOSIAH. YOU COULD HAVE BEEN SO MUCH MORE...Good or bad. Really, he wound up being underutilized.
The plot: Here's where I have a problem. It was abrupt. I really felt that the plot was just there because something had to be happening beside angsty feelings. So, the plot just didn't matter...and it felt that way. It felt super unfinished, and to be honest, there was so much more she could have done with a sentence or two here or there. That was a moment when the writing truly failed. Not to give anything away, but...let's just say I got a pat, neatly-tied conflict resolution that I loathed. Look, lady, if George R.R. Martin can kill everything within his reach off (including the reader, I suspect, for his next book), you can have a messier resolution for your "plot" (even though we all know it only exists so Jem/Tess/Will feels can be had).
But, I never expected anything out of this book other than mild amusement and feels. So, the 4 star rating still stands. I loved it, and wish it well, but this book is a summer fling, not a long-term relationship. Even though I'll probably revisit it later down the road, when I'm feeling down on myself, after a hard book breakup....more