Spectacle was one of my most highly anticipated books for 2019, and it didn’t disappoint! It’s an atmospheric tale of murder and magic that I found completely enthralling.
Book: Spectacle by Jodie Lynn Zdrok
Read before: No
Ownership: E-ARC provided through NetGalley free of charge. All opinions my own.
There are two main characters in this book: Nathalie, a young journalist writing morgue reports during a spate of murders, and Paris. As in, the city. I don’t exactly mean that in a Neverwhere sort of way – the city itself isn’t magical, or alive – but the impression of Paris that you get from Spectacle is so strong and detailed and textured that it almost feels like a character. Though I have never seen the places described, the way that Nathalie describes her surroundings is so immersive – I felt like I was there. It’s not always pretty in Paris (in fact, there’s a very realistic depiction of the danger and dirt of the city) but it is mesmerising.
The horror aspects of the story are really nicely done, and left me intrigued and unnerved without being outright scared. Now, I’m a huge scaredy-cat, so I don’t think people looking for full-on horror will find it here, but I thought it was the perfect spice to make the story really sing. And of course, the story is also peppered with magic, when Nathalie realises that she can relive the last memories of the serial killer’s victims. It’s kinda gruesome and fascinating in equal measure – I’m not a true-crime sort of person, but I can see why people are so interested in it, and I think this gave me some insight into how it feels to look at the darker side of humanity.
This is a fairly dense read, but it feels luxurious, like a long lunch in a Parisian café. I was so captivated by Nathalie’s need to find out about her magic that I was flipping pages like nobody’s business towards the end! I thought it was a really unique mix of historical texture and magic, and it just really worked for me – I was glad it didn’t fall into the clichés of YA too much. I think the meticulously described Paris setting stopped it from getting too fantastic, and the mysterious magic powers sent this much further up my street than a murder mystery might otherwise have been! I’m very excited to keep an eye on Jodie Lynn Zdrok in the future, as I think her writing is fantastic – those looking for some YA that breaks the mould should definitely give this a go.
Five out of five petits chats!