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

I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley
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's review
Oct 11, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: goodreads-first-reads, mystery-series, for-book-club
Read from November 24 to 27, 2011

I Am Half-Sick-of-Shadows may well be my favorite of the series so far; not for the mystery angle, but the beautifully handled development of Flavia and the setting. Flavia's tenuous hold on childhood is threatened by an ever growing sense of not knowing where she fits in the puzzle that is her family. As much of her musing is about the relationships and personalities among her family members and neighbors as it is about chemistry. In some cases her mental ramble combine the two. One eloquent sequence has Flavia pondering the chemistry of snowflakes, two sister hydrogen atoms and an oxygen flying together. Flavia herself is vaguely unsettled by changes within and without, thus making her need to prove that Father Christmas is real even more poignant. New sides of her abominable sisters are also developed, a trend which I hope continues which the extreme meanness of the two as always seemed a weakness in the books. Plus, seems Daffy may have found a hidden talent and Feely a serious suitor. An added delight are cameo appearances of favorite characters from previous novels, one in particular especially delighted me since I remember at book club saying I was hoping she/he would appear again.

However, the mystery is weak. We aren't presented with a body until midway through, and despite the fact that nearly the whole village snowed in at Buckshaw, the list of potential murders is slim. The resolution hangs on the reader buying into a premise that I found improbable. Perhaps with further development I could have bought in, but, not as it stands.

Weak mystery aside, this is a delightful addition to the series which makes serious headway into offering the reader a clearer understanding of the family and their difficult relationships.

This review is based on an advance uncorrected proof provided by the publisher through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program with the expectation that a review would be written.
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Reading Progress

11/24/2011 page 10
3.0% "I received the book free through Goodreads First Reads Giveway"
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