Title: The Seven 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
Author: Stuart Turton
Released: February 8 2018 in UK / 18 September 2018 in US
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Goodreads Rating: 4.14 (of 5,136 reviews)
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At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed–again. She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend–but nothing and no one are quite what they seem.
Disclaimer: I received this ARC courtesy of Sourcebooks Landmark. I am grateful for the opportunity to review an ARC for my readers, but this will not influence my final rating. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and based solely on the book.
Two things threw me off about this book right off the bat. First of all, Seven Deaths is over five hundred pages long, and I stared at that page number, thinking, “Does Stuart Turton really think he can sustain an interesting and well-plotted mystery for 512 pages?” I’ve read mysteries with three hundred pages and hit boring patches. Second of all, I opened the book to the first chapter and was thrown RIGHT into the action, where the main character didn’t even know what was happening. I was so confused, I put the book down and didn’t return for several days.
Then I picked the book back up. And didn’t. Put it. Down.
The Seven-and-a-Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is the most intricately plotted mystery/thrilled I have ever laid eyes on. The parts of me that weren’t hooked on the plot were hooked on the fascinating and diverse characters. As a reader, I was practically sobbing in thanks to Turton for putting out such a fascinating read — it worked on SO. MANY. LEVELS. Now be warned: only read on if you’re ready for some serious Seven Deaths love (and have a desire to fall in love yourself!).
As I said, the beginning of the novel literally throws the reader into the action. A man (our main character) is running in the woods. He’s yelling a name, he’s terrified of something bad happening … but he doesn’t know why, he doesn’t know where he is, he doesn’t know his very name. You don’t have a second to contemplate what is going on before the next scene happens, and then the next, and the next. At first, this made me put the book down because I was not in the mood to be confused. When I picked the book up again, I let Turton take me on his journey, and realized bit by bit everything made sense.
Don’t let the page count fool you (as I did, at first). Unlike many mystery novels, Seven Deaths drops big reveals throughout the book. You don’t have to wait until the before last page to find out everything at once! I loved this, because my excitement only mounted as the book went on. Also, I don’t think it’s far-fetched to compare this book to a giant game of Clue: because Aidan is repeating the same day over and over, as a reader you’re gathering clues with him — seeing who is where and when, and what they are doing. (It’s the maid with the knife in the kitchen!) Turton gives the reader a chance to collect clues as the book progresses, so you can guess at the many mysteries … because you should not be followed by the summary, there is more than just Evelyn Hardcastle’s death to solve!
This book is packed with deceitful characters, plot twists, big reveals and secrets. So many secrets! Turton packs it all up in the most eloquent writing, too. He evokes this sense of intrigue and mystery with his words, so that I’m plunged into Hardcastle the moment I start reading.
The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle was previously published in the UK in February 2018 under the title The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.
Five crowns for this book. If I didn’t have such a long TBR at the moment, I would be re-reading this book on the spot. This is the kind of book you can re-read over and over, because there are so many hidden clues and easter eggs. Turton’s a genius. A literal genius. I don’t know how he did it, but please do it over and over again. And do not miss this book!
Does the length of a book ever scare you off? Let’s discuss!