July 8, 2019

Book Review: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
My rating: ★★★☆☆

Aiden Bishop wakes up with no memories, no idea where he is, and no idea how he ended up in Blackheath. In fact, he doesn't even know he's Aiden Biship. Instead, he's trapped inside of the body of a doctor and when the day is done, he's thrown into another person and another. The common thread is that all these people are at Blackheath on the same day--the day Evelyn Hardcastle is murdered.

As he stumbles through this bizarre game, a plague doctor tells him that the only way to find freedom is to solve the mystery of who killed Evelyn Hardcastle. Aiden teams up with Anna, another person stuck in the same one-day loop as him, and together they uncover the truth behind the multitude of mysteries shrowding Blackheath.

My husband read this before recommending it to me, raving about how great the mystery is. Unfortunately, I got too stuck in slow pacing and confusion for the sake of confusion. I assumed there would be some sort of sci-fi framework holding up the game mechanics of playing the same day over and over as different people. However, the end only reveals the surface layer of what the game really without showing how it works or what real life even is for the characters in the book. The details of how the timing functions, with each character playing through the same day over and over (but Aiden somehow jumping between days), is glossed over, leaving us a structure which couldn't actually work and doesn't make a lot of sense.

The mystery is cool and mostly resolved at the end, although the slog to get there left me unsatisfied and disappointed.

If you enjoy Agatha Christie or mysteries in general, you should definitely give this book a read. If you prefer more sci-fi and get picky about time travel details, some of the story aspects might get in the way of you enjoying this novel.

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