Hallie's Reviews > The Body at the Tower

The Body at the Tower by Y.S. Lee
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Dec 06, 10

bookshelves: historical-fiction, history-project, ya
Read in November, 2010

The things that bugged me about the first book - details of Victorian London life being so off they were really irritating - were here again. Lots of little things, use of language that didn't sound right, reactions that seemed totally unlikely or were just there seemingly to explain to other "outsiders" in a way that made it too obvious that the narrator was thinking as an outsider - like a "teetotalling, cliché-spouting, church-going" overseer asking Mary if there was "no Christian charity" to help her, or "even by English standards, people talked about the weather a great deal at the moment".

For my money, the books would be a lot better if they opted either for fairly serious portrayal of Mary's difficulties as an orphan, mixed-race, lower class young woman in a society with not much time for any of those, OR decided to frolic with the wonderful idea of this secret agency using the invisibility of respectable but needing to work women to make them kick-ass spies. It's falling down between the two pretty hard atm.
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