Author: Alan Bradley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: Historical Fiction, Hot like Meh
Oh, you Flavia…… so sad this book was, with an all round pressing, suffocating atmosphere of grief and growing up abstract thingies. But not really sad, you know. Just pressing down.
Everyone, everything comes home in The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches. Secrets upon secrets piled up and revealed, the lost come home wrapped in more enigma still. People are killed, blood flows but Flavia manages to sneak away on an airplane. How cool is she?
The tone of the entire books is different from the series. Flavia has begun to have darker thoughts. Mysteries are erupting from her own attic. There’s no scuttling around, peeping, eavesdropping, hiding Gladys in the bushes. No playing around because it’s the time of Harriet’s funeral. The ending takes Flavia in a completely different direction- in my kind of direction, I hope.
And Flavia is almost twelve.
My primary peeve is the lack of sleuthing. Things come to Flavia; they practically grow legs and walk to her as to not cause her any consternation. Reasons are given: I owed Harriet so I’ll help you; I don’t need this very important thing so I’ll give it to you; I’ll tell you all the secrets as a fairytale. The one thing she works- the one scheme she cooks up and works on for a great part of the novel was fairly absurd(yet I could see her perspective), and in the end, something entirely different happens that makes you wonder at the whole point of it.
Seriously, Flavia does shit.
To preserve some lasting grace, she discovers the identity of who killed/betrayed Harriet and lo! it doesn’t even matter. Plus, it was fairly obvious and played into the character stereotype.
It was not the mystery I enjoyed; it was Flavia with her sisters. They make me laugh, and they make me sad when you think about two little girls losing their mother so early on, and not at the least given a reason, a cause. Closure. None, zilch. Also, Flavia herself is quite awesome, even in this all death and maturing mood. She’s gonna one day be a young Dr Frankenstein, if the possibility of female chemist/murderer falls through.
To end with, I’d like to see where the series leads up. If there are more books. Fingers crossed!
Many thanks to Random House for providing a free review copy!