Tuesday, March 27, 2012

YA Mystery: I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley

Series: Flavia de Luce #4
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Date: November 2011
Format: hardback
Acquired: from LibraryThing Member Giveaways
Read: for review (disclaimer: I received my copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.)
Pages: 293
Reading time: three days

From GoodReads: It’s Christmastime, and the precocious Flavia de Luce—an eleven-year-old sleuth with a passion for chemistry and a penchant for crime-solving—is tucked away in her laboratory, whipping up a concoction to ensnare Saint Nick. But she is soon distracted when a film crew arrives at Buckshaw, the de Luces’ decaying English estate, to shoot a movie starring the famed Phyllis Wyvern. Amid a raging blizzard, the entire village of Bishop’s Lacey gathers at Buckshaw to watch Wyvern perform, yet nobody is prepared for the evening’s shocking conclusion: a body found, past midnight, strangled to death with a length of film. But who among the assembled guests would stage such a chilling scene? As the storm worsens and the list of suspects grows, Flavia must use every ounce of sly wit at her disposal to ferret out a killer hidden in plain sight.

My review: After all the great things I've heard about the Flavia de Luce series, I must say that I was slightly disappointed by I Am Half-Sick of Shadows. I just expected too much given all the raves I've heard about the previous books. This book is well-written, and the main character is certainly fascinating and, at times, quite entertaining, but I was never totally absorbed in the story. The plot seemed to develop so slowly, without much interesting filler. The dramatic events were not treated dramatically, though I would expect a murder in the midst of a gathering of half the townspeople to cause quite a hysterical concern! In my opinion, there were too many things left unexplained or underdeveloped. Several of the characters obviously had dark secrets from back during the Second World War, yet these were only briefly mentioned and rarely investigated. Perhaps I just need to visit the previous books to realize what is so marvelous, rather than simply somewhat enjoyable, about the series.

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