Friday, October 14, 2016

Livening up Idyllic England

Well, I finished the last of my library books. Was two weeks ago already, in between was Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, so I've been busy. Also semi-deliberately not reading the usual :) Now it's Shabbos again and I have not been back to the library to get more books, so oh well there. But meanwhile, let's get to that outstanding review.  The last of the library books was another familiar author, Alan Bradley of the Flavia de Luce series.  There have actually been 3! new Flavias since I last read one, but I only picked up the first of these for my trip.  I like Flavias mostly because of the setting (and by setting, I mean not just the time and place, but the tone) I think (English countryside in the fifties) and definitely somewhat for Flavia herself, a... unique... preteen whose detecting capabilities (among others) are admirable.  The mysteries are fine as mysteries go, you know I'm not much for mysteries per se.

This book delivered much of the same bucolic countryside, unflappable Flavia, and host of English-village side characters.  The mystery was, I think, also similar (TBH, I do not much recall the previous mysteries ;)).  What I would say about this mystery (which I think is common to the series) is that there is almost an over-abundance of clues.  It seems like the answers could be gotten much sooner, or that many of them will be red herrings, the way the plot, and Flavia's mind, jumps from point to point without resolving any of them. But in the end (as far as I recall), it's mostly all resolved to satisfaction by Flavia. Like I said, I don't read the books for the mysteries, so the framing of the narrative in terms of clue-finding is not very important to me, but I am happy it's all resolved, nice and neatly.

What's more interesting is Flavia's day-to-day life, which, I was little surprised at, actually evolves somewhat in this latest book (the blue one is the way I think of it :) It's actually called Speaking From Among the Bones).  Flavia's relationship with her sisters and her father deepens, Buckshaw is for sale... and a final cliffhanger about her mother! Very exciting :) I always wanted these books to go somewhere and now maybe they finally are. Excited to read the next book, which yay! is already published and readily available whenever I go get it ;)  And meanwhile, I continued to enjoy Flavia's peregrinations about Bishop's Lacey and chemical explorations in her lab and certainly look forward to more of that as well.

Verdict: 3.75/5

(update after searching for an image - there have actually been 5 new books, counting one just released. Wow this guy is as prolific as AMS :))

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