Carl's Reviews > I Am Half-Sick of Shadows

I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley
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's review
Jan 18, 2012

it was ok
Read in January, 2012

I am half-sick of Flavia de Luce. Yes, in this series she's been a precocious narrator of her own brilliant, amateur sleuthing as well as infatuation with chemistry, especially concerning poisons. There's been a good amount of good humor, as well as violent denouements which don't fit the overall setting.
The setting, a large, old estate in a small town, must have been begging for the full blown "cozy" treatment, because this one delivers that, in your face, to the point that in the end, the Inspector (who actually has shown more competence this time around, not being so ridiculously shown up by a pre-teen amateur) has to point out that it's "rather like an Agatha Christie" mystery. No sh**, Sherlock.
But, I found the plot way too "staged," and the characters too stock and much less interesting than in prior books (I can't say if that would be true to a new reader), the humor thinner, and the violent penultimate scene too unreal (as in prior books). It dragged so much that I sort of "sped read" my way through. I won't be in such a hurry to read the next one. Maybe the entire book was supposed to be tongue in cheek??, but that could have been done in a much smaller manner (or manor).
And an afterthought: One element of the plot is Flavia's serious attempt to catch or trap Father Christmas on the rooftop where he must obviously go to drop down the chimney. Seriously. And it's not until the end that this brilliant student of science figures out that maybe the Santa Claus scenario has some logical flaws?? Maybe I'm the dummy, assuming this book was aimed at those smarter than a 5th grader.
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