The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton ★★☆☆☆

Started 11/22/19 (10% progress)

This was the worst (updated after finishing) book I chose to read for Buzzwordathon 5.0, and you can read more about why I choose 7½ Deaths there! I’m about 10% into the novel, and I don’t see me liking this. It is too soon to give up on it. Unfortunately, I have I good idea of this author’s writing style, and it just isn’t for me. For starters, the story is about a wealthy family (Evelyn being the wife I think) who just don’t seem that interesting. I just read the story of Evelyn Hugo, and I really enjoyed the subtitles of her and her story. Here, this feel like your caricature of a pretentious wealthy family.

I recognize I can’t make a sweeping judgment off of 10% of the book. Nevertheless, I get the impression this story is about the spectacle of the idea rather than the using the idea to write interesting situations for interesting characters. If we aren’t given real characters then it doesn’t matter how cool the situation is. All that said, I am not giving up; I am hoping I enjoy this more. What’s more, I want to complete the book for the readathon and because I already own it own hardback.

Finished 11/24/19

This story did not work for me. There was no redemption; my initial impression was a good one. The story is mildly interesting, but I can’t say I enjoyed it all that much. As I said before, this is a concept or plot driven narrative. The characters are boring and lifeless; our main character literally has no character because he has no memory. This story feels like a twist on Clue but not a good one. On top of that, I really do not like Turton’s writing style. It’s all so pretentious and contrived. He leans heavily on the histrionics when describing different situations, and fails to get me interested on those overdone scenarios.

I think the mystery is supposed to be what gains our interest since it can’t possibly be the characters. Unfortunately, there is no reason to do that. We have a lifeless main character trapped in some loop; the problem is we aren’t given any reason to actually care. The central character, Evelyn Hardcastle is a victim of murder. Again, what’s so interesting abut her or anyone else around her. From where I’m sitting, the answer is none.

It seems an overarching theme of this novel is redemption and punishment. Unfortunately, anything it tries to say just isn’t earned. We rush to a plot convenient revelation of what’s going and why, but it happens far too late to actually work. Part of me wonders if Stuart Turton is actually Game of Throne’s Weiss and Benioff. That is how poorly written this story is. Like W&B, Turton wants to subvert expectations with an underlying lesson. It is sadly rushed and is poorly executed.

This book probably wasn’t worth finishing. The big reason why I didn’t was because I become so compelled when I create goals (i.e. buzzwordathon). What’s more, I made the mistake of buying it on bookoutlet.ca, and I didn’t want it to be a waste. That’s another book that can go on my shelf as read; it’s a reminder of what I don’t enjoy. 2/5 stars (literally the second book to get that low a rating from me this year).

3 Replies to “The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton ★★☆☆☆”

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