Title: The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
Author: Stuart Turton
Publisher: Raven Books
How do you stop a murder that’s already happened?
At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed–again. She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend–but nothing and no one are quite what they seem.
Deeply atmospheric and ingeniously plotted, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a highly original debut that will appeal to fans of Kate Atkinson and Agatha Christie.
Now this is a novel I was so excited to read, having seen a lot of great reviews and marketing for it all over the place. It’s actually quite a difficult review to write, because on the one hand I can fully appreciate the amazing skill that author Stuart Turton took to write such a complex plot based on a unique great concept, with a whole array of interesting characters and incidents, but on the other hand, in all honesty, it did sometimes feel like too many characters, too many plot devices, and a few too many pages as well.
I don’t want this review to seem overly negative, because I don’t feel that way about the book. The concept is just brilliant and the characters are all interesting in their own ways, with their own agendas and quirks. I felt like I was reading an Agatha Christie novel with a fresh twist, and I loved this style of writing, as well as some of the quite comedic moments which made me smile.
Ultimately this novel made me want to know who had killed Evelyn, and how Aiden can possibly escape this eerie world he has become trapped in. I therefore kept on reading, even when I started to feel myself a bit confused about parts of the ‘game’ Aiden seems to be kept in, and therefore the plot itself. I hoped things would become clearer but to me they didn’t – however I found I could ignore elements I didn’t quite get and just keep focussing on the actions Aiden needed to take to try and work everything out, which isn’t ideal I suppose, but it kept me reading on!
The ending was satisfying and tied up a few loose ends (though there was still parts I didn’t completely get). The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is an enjoyable read – just a confusing one, and it has obviously been very meticulously planned out and constructed. I think perhaps my brain just couldn’t keep up with the extensive cast of characters and their relationships with one another and with the ever-shape-shifting protagonist himself. With all the discussion around this book it’s definitely one to read – and it’s definitely something different, too!
Many thanks to Raven Books for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.