The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, by Stuart Turton

From the book flap: Evelyn Hardcastle will die. Every day until Aiden Bishop can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others…

Bryan from Still an Unfinished Person brought this book to my attention. It’s a sort of Groundhog Day meets Quantum Leap mashup, with a lot of philosophy about what it means to be yourself mixed in. Aiden Bishop has eight hosts to solve a murder, a race against time in a day repeated eight times, starting with no memory at all at the beginning of the first host’s day, but carrying over into the next, then the next, then the next. Some of the days weave in and out of the book, making a lot of the story a bit of a loop with clues scattered throughout previous days. That made the mystery just about impossible to unravel ahead of time (nice!) and made me want to go back and reread to spot all the different things I’d missed. I have yet to do so, because it’s also a ponderous kind of book, a bit slow (in a good way), which means I want to give it some time to really percolate before revisiting.

Irony: In most thriller/mysteries, I lament the current trend toward extra unnecessary twists. In this book, I was expecting more twists at the end, and felt that the ending/solution/explanations were a bit too simple for me. Heh. However, I’m pretty sure I won’t feel the same about the ending on second read. This is the sort of book that gets more satisfying with a deeper reading, and the ending – while too simple on first read for me – will be thicker and more meaningful once I’ve read past all the actual plot sections to the more philosophical sections. I look forward to that.

I don’t want to say more because there would be way too many ways to accidentally say too much and take some of the magic of discovery out of the novel’s unfolding. Even the book flap and GoodReads descriptions really say too much. I don’t usually care too much myself about spoilers, but this is a fun one to unravel, so I recommend going into it as blind as possible.

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About Amanda

Writing. Family. Books. Crochet. Fitness. Fashion. Fun. Not necessarily in that order. Note: agender (she/her).
This entry was posted in 2019, Adult, Prose and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, by Stuart Turton

  1. I hear you on the twists, but I liked them… I don’t usually like gimmicky books, which this was, but for some reason, I dug this. Maybe it was because slow, in a good way. Sometimes I just need to slow down.

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  2. Michelle says:

    I really enjoyed this one. I saw a description that likened it a bit to Agatha Christie with the deeply hidden clues, and I do think it is apt. The slow burn had all the feel of an older novel, and the clues were so obscure a la Ms. Christie.

    I am curious though. I know at least one person who stopped reading it because of the fat-phobic scenes with one of the characters. The time in that character did not bother me at all, but it made her so irate. She was more upset about him than she was about the time in the rapist. Thoughts?

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  3. Michelle says:

    I enjoyed this one. I saw a description that likened it a bit to Agatha Christie with the deeply hidden clues, and I do think it is apt. The slow burn had all the feel of an older novel, and the clues were so obscure a la Ms. Christie.

    I am curious though. I know at least one person who stopped reading it because of the fat-phobic scenes with one of the characters. The time in that character did not bother me at all, but it made her so irate. She was more upset about him than she was about the time in the rapist. Thoughts?

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    • Amanda says:

      The fat-phobic stuff did bother me a lot, and I nearly put the book down. For me, the difference between the rapist parts and the fat-phobic parts was that Aiden judged both hosts with equal shame, and he spent a LOT of time harping on the latter, far more than the rapist. There was disgust with both, but the disgust for the heavy body seemed greatly out of proportion. In the end, I had to assume (or at least hope) that the disgust and fat-shaming was coming from Aiden rather than the author. That’s the only way I could read on. I tried to think about how to address the issue in the review but it felt like it would reveal potential host spoilers, you know? I do wish there had been more compassion for Ravencourt.

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  4. Kristen M. says:

    I actually found the ending deeply satisfying after feeling off-balance for the entire story. I liked how it was so much deeper than I ever expected. I’m also looking forward to revisiting this book later!

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