Linda78

Days Without End (Audiobook)

Days Without End - Sebastian Barry, Aidan A. Kelly

Narration: 5 stars

Story: 3.5 stars

Final rating: 4 stars

 

It was my week for strange stories. This isn't even a story in the traditional sense. This reads more like a rambling memoir but with language so intimate and lush that I could easily forget that I was only really getting broad brushstrokes for the bulk of the story. This is mostly a summation of a young man's life as he figures out some hard-won truths.

 

Told from the POV of Thomas McNulty, an Irish immigrant, as we follow him and his friend turned lover John Cole across America in the mid-1800s. Survivors of the famine, they come to America with nothing, practically starved to death, and start to figure out how to survive from one day to the next, whether that's playacting as girls in a stage show or joining the Army to fight in the Indian Wars and eventually the Civil War.

 

This book doesn't shy away from the harsh reality of this time period in American history, nor does it give us safely and comfortably progressive-minded MCs to filter that reality through. Thomas and John Cole might not be outright hateful of anyone but they don't stop to ask why they're being given the orders they're given nor do they spend much time if any contemplating the morality of the slaughter of the First Peoples. Not at first. As Thomas notes at one point, no soldier fully understands the war he fights in; he only knows his one part in it. 

 

I was most interested in Thomas's and John's non-Army days, while they were living together and eventually with their adopted daughter Winona, a Sioux orphan, but those parts were sparse safe harbors in between all the violence and war of those times. The ending, such as it was, is more open-ended than anything else. 

I would have preferred a reunion between Thomas, John and Winona instead of just Thomas looking forward to it.

(show spoiler)

 

The narration by Aiden Kelly was truly amazing. He captures Thomas's bewildered voice perfectly and truly makes this oddly mesmerizing story come to life. 

One Night in Boukos

One Night in Boukos - Corinne Demas

This is an odd one. I guess this is historical AU, since it's set in an alternate world, but doesn't have any fantasy elements. The world-building is sprinkled throughout, and is largely accomplished by the culture clash of the Sashian embassy staying in the Pueschaian town of Boukos to open trade routes between the two countries, so it comes across more naturally than the info-dumping one might come across in other AU novels.

 

During a party, the ambassador to Zash goes missing but this isn't noticed until the following morning. His personal secretary Bedar and Bedar's friend Marzana, the captain of the guard, go on a discreet manhunt through Boukous as they try to follow the crumbs of the ambassador's trail after his disappearance. To complicate matters further, the city is preparing for the annual festival to honor their god of debauchery, Psobos, a most un-Sashian ritual. Along the way, they meet a couple of citizens of the town and slowly fall in love over the course of a most unusual night.

 

This is a charming little tale. I had no idea what I was getting into when I picked it for my Prime loan, and that just added to the charm. Despite the urgency of Bedar and Marzana's mission, this story unfolds at a leisurely pace. There's a spattering of humor, a little action, but mostly it's just two men out of their depths as they navigate an unknown city full of people they don't understand only to discover they're not so different after all.

 

I thought I had the endgame figured out at one point, but I was only right about part of it. Chereia and Pheres were a great supporting cast and just as fully fleshed out as Marzana and Bedar. The m/f and m/m couples get equal page time to develop and are respectfully handled in the difficulties that faced both pairings. That makes one a little less satisfying than the other, but certainly still an HFN. (To be clear, this isn't Romance and there's no on-page sex.)

Guardian Spirits (Spirits #3) (Audiobook)

Guardian Spirits - Jordan L. Hawk

The final book in the Spirits trilogy is adequate. This hasn't been my favorite series by Ms. Hawk by a long shot. I never really felt the romance between Henry and Vincent, the ghost adventuring is pretty standard though she does bring a certain flair to it, and the narrator is listenable, but nothing to write home about.

 

The plot here was again predictable and I could see every twist and turn coming from a mile away. While it makes emotional sense that Vincent and Jo would make the incredibly stupid decisions they make, it still felt like all the characters were given a case of the dumb-dumbs in order for the plot to happen, which is why this got downgraded half a star.

Playing in the Dark (Glasgow Lads #4)

Playing in the Dark - Avery Cockburn

When this series started, I hated Evan with a passion for hurting Fergus the way he did, skipping off to Belgium to be with some other lover. Only in Play Dead, we learned that things were not as they seemed, and I got instantly way more interested in learning more about him. And about Ben too, I guess. *whispers* I actually forgot who Ben was! shhh!

 

Evan's trying to get his life back together after a horrifying ordeal and when he met Ben in Playing With Fire, he was pretty much resigned to living a lonely life as the bad guy on the team. But he and Ben connected instantly apparently, and they pick up on that attraction here and move incredibly quickly considering the sort of life Evan lives and the secrets he needs to keep and lies he needs to make. (I should do a reread one of these days because I was having trouble keeping a lot of these couples straight ... but not straight-straight. You know what I mean.) 

 

I admit, I started getting a little worried by the halfway point about where this story might go. I don't know why, since Ms. Cockburn has always avoiding cliche pitfalls before, but there's always a first time right? Not here, I'm glad to say. This story was more about two characters learning how to be more fully themselves and realizing that in order to do that they actually had to let go of some of their previous preconceptions of who they were. That didn't stop me wanting to smack them more than a few times when they were making stupid mistakes, and there were a few chapters with a few too many sex scenes too close together at the beginning, but that evened out and we really got to see how they work as a couple and not just in the sack.

 

I did like learning about Ben's Bahá-í faith, which I never knew about before. It did feel a tad on the preachy side a couple of times though. I really would've liked to see some more of Ben's mom and Evan's family. Evan's job with MI-5 was also interesting and well-paced, with a layered quasi-mystery to drive the plot. Evan was a little reckless at times, and this teetered just over the line into unprofessional professional a couple of times, but I could understand why Evan made the decisions he made.

Though it doesn't make much sense why he couldn't tell Ben he'd been in Belfast but he could tell Fergus. I guess because Ben was getting a whole lot more details than Fergus  was.

(show spoiler)

 

I was happy where this book left them though and they're both clearly where they need and want to be by the end of it. I hope we get more of them in later books and novellas.

Jane Eyre (Audiobook)

Jane Eyre (Centaur Classics) [The 100 greatest novels of all time - #17] - Charlotte Brontë

What the hell did I just read?

 

This book is nearly 200-years old, but in case you're like me and know nothing about this book: SPOILERS! You've been warned. :D

 

This book started out with orphaned Jane living with relative-in-laws who barely put up with her, Jane getting into trouble and being sent to a boarding school and ... wait? This is Jane Eyre and not David Copperfield, right? *checks book* Right. And I can tell because it's much better written, has much more interesting and better developed characters and actually gets to a point eventually. 

 

It took me a while to get into this one, until I realized the audiobook playback was just too slow to keep my attention and I sped it up to 1.20x. Wanda McFadden does an excellent job narrating and she does Jane's voice especially well, a crucial detail. Plus, the fire was quite an attention-grabber too. And then it got a little meandering for a few more chapters and then Rochester has a room that he can lock people into and they can't get out! THAT'S NORMAL!

 

At that point, I started to really root for Jane to get the hell out of there, especially as things got even more messed up - and she does! She even stumbles upon a literally found family who treats her well and to whom she can contribute equally, and she gains financial independence to boot! She's scot free! Only she eventually goes back, marries Rochester and lives happily ever after. The End!

 

 

I wanted a gif of someone shaking a book upside down as if looking for more pages, but this one works just as well! Because this book ended and I kept waiting. There had to be another chapter, right? One that started with, "Reader, he locked me in the attic."

 

Though I guess a man locking up his cray-cray Creole wife is totally normal and acceptable behavior for the 1800s. And going after his ward's governess, who is less than half his age and whose name he can't even get right half the time, well that's a time-honored tradition. And who says bigamy can't be romantic? *cough*Outlander*cough* Oh, Janet. I mean Jane, what were you thinking?

 

I take it we have Ms. Brontë to blame for one of my least favorite tropes: the strong independent woman who falls for the thuggish brute. *sigh* And yet Jane is so astute and headstrong and knows her own mind and ambitions so well, I can't hold it against her. If I had only two options and one of them was Rochester and the other was Rivers, I'd choose Rochester too. 

 

WAIT! Hear me out! Because Rivers just wanted her as a project, someone to reform and shape into what he wanted her to be, completely disregarding what she wanted and desired, whereas Rochester wanted her for herself. And at least if she ever goes crazy, she'll have the comforting foreknowledge that Rochester will take care of her at home and not send her off to an asylum. Plus, he's infirm and half-blind, so if she really needed to fight him off, she probably could. Silver linings! I has them!

 

 

Shhh! Katniss, no. We're all sane here. :) (Also not what I was looking for when I searched for gifs of silver linings, but again, I'll take it.)

 

I guess feminism and female power only got you so far in the 1800s. In today's world, I like to think that Jane would've told Rivers to screw himself (well, she does here too), forgot all about Rochester, opened her own school and lived happily ever after.

A Dance With Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire #5)

A Dance with Dragons - George R.R. Martin

Look, Martin, we need to talk. This book came out in 2011. I bought the 5-book bundle in 2013 (on a super sweet Black Friday deal too) and then I waited over two years to start reading this monster of a series. I started A Game of Thrones in Jan 2016 and now here I am finishing A Dance With Dragons in Nov 2018 - AND YOU STILL HAVEN'T FINISHED WINDS OF WINTER! WHAT THE HELL, MAN?

 

Because let me tell you something about my boy Jon Snow. He is

Azor Ahai reborn, dammit, and so there is no way he can possibly be dead. If he does die, Melisandre's just going to have to resurrect him so he can behead all those assbutts who betrayed him in full-on Stark mode, and that's all there is to it. I will not accept any other outcome.

(show spoiler)

So there! Also, it'll really piss off Catelyn, so bonus points.

 

Also, what is your obsession with cannibalism? Please stop. Thanks!

Unless it's more Frey pies. Then I'm okay with it. ;) Because screw the Freys.

 

(show spoiler)

 

Okay, all that aside, here's a list of people you are allowed to kill off in the next book:

 

Ramsay Bolton

Victarion Greyjoy

Roose Bolton

Euron Greyjoy

Ser Robert Strong, aka FrankenGregor

Cersei Lannister

Qyburn

I know there are plenty of other candidates for this list, but these are my top choices.

(show spoiler)

 

Seriously, y'all. This book and A Feast For Crows were both a dragging headache and the most brutal thing I've read. Martin has this way of taking characters I despise and making me feel unending empathy for them to the point I'm actually rooting for them (Jaime and Theon) or at least feeling kinda sorry for them while still hoping that they die soon because they are the WORST EVER (Cersei). And while I want Dany to get the hell out of Meereen already, I'm still endlessly fascinated by the chapters set there and seeing how she navigates (sometimes well, but mostly unsuccessfully) leadership and politics. She and Jon have similar journeys here, and while they both have no idea what they're doing, they're both doing the best they can.

 

And the dragons! OMG, I was starting to worry that title was one big troll, but the dragons are amazing. Moqorro's the troll, if you ask me. At least I hope he is, because if anyone here needs to die worse than the rancid slime turd that is Ramsay, it's that decaying dick worm Victarion (and his brother but Euron wasn't in this book).

 

Arya's still kicking names and taking ass, Tyrion got a little dark here but it was interesting to see him trying to navigate the world without relying on his name, and Bran just broke my heart. Rickon, the forgotten Stark, is still MIA. Davos, my Onion Knight, 

is not dead. I KNEW IT!

(show spoiler)

and even though I despise nearly all the Ironborn, I do enjoy Asha's POV. She's most the decent of the bunch, after the Reader. Melisandre's still shady as hell. All these prophecies and conspiracies and subterfuges and whatnot - Martin's walls must be covered in post-it notes to keep this all straight. I don't know how the man does it.

 

I still think A Storm of Swords is the best of the bunch so far, but I'm going to try reading these last two books in chronological order when I do a reread and see if that helps with some of the pacing issues or makes them worse, lol.

The Countess Conspiracy (Brothers Sinister #3)

The Countess Conspiracy  - Courtney Milan

I thought I would enjoy this more since I've enjoyed Sebastian and Violet since the first book, and it was pretty obvious they'd end up together. Violet was a much different person than I thought she'd be once we got into her head though, and it took awhile for me to warm up to her. 

 

Seeing Violet and Sebastian both doubt themselves - for different reasons - and trying to prove themselves worthy to their family was frustrating at times. Their insecurities made them vulnerable in similar ways, and they could really only be themselves when they were working together on Violet's theories.

 

Yes, Violet's theories! (That's in the blurb, but also becomes immediately obvious in the first chapter, so it's not a spoiler.) Violet wasn't allowed to publish her theories under her own name, since no one would even read them given that she's a woman. So Sebastian has been presenting her theories as his own, and the constant lies and the derision from some of the public have worn him down. Women having to hide their intelligence and discoveries behind men's names was sadly not unheard of, and I found this aspect of the story engaging, even if it ended a bit more fairy tale than could be believed. (Or the author decided to not focus on any of the negatives

after Violet went to prison.

(show spoiler)

 

I really liked seeing these two friends break down their barriers and become more than friends, but it didn't quite grab me as much as the previous couples. 

Dangerous Spirits (Spirits #2)

Dangerous Spirits - Jordan L. Hawk

I don't have much to say about this one. It was fun, and the ghost story was less obvious than in the first book, but I still figured it out way before the characters did and it still follows all the usual tropes. Henry does a stupid thing at the beginning of the book and then lies about it for the next 75% of it. Vincent is also holding things back, so all the relationship angst is based on them not talking or trusting each other. I did like the background that we get about Vincent and Lizzie and their mentor Dunne, and the climax was sufficiently tense. Overall though, this is pretty average.

Reading progress update: I've read 90%.

A Dance with Dragons - George R.R. Martin

GODDAMMIT I HATE IT WHEN I'M RIGHT GAH!

 

 

DFJADS;LKJDSAK;GHDFKLADLS;KFJALSDFJHASL

 

*sobbing in denial*

 

Jon is NOT dead! And he's not Cesar, you regurgitated mealworms! "For the Watch" my ass!

(show spoiler)

The Golem and the Jinni (Audiobook)

The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel - Helene Wecker, George Guidall

They say there are no new stories and only seven basic plots, and that is certainly true. Trying to find new ways to retell stories and spin those plots has been the tasks of authors and storytellers since the moment right after the very first story was ever told, and every once in a rare while an author comes along who can bring something truly fresh to the scene. This is such a book. 

 

It's been a long time since I've been this impressed by a book. Maybe it helps that I'm not especially familiar with golems or jinnis, though the mythology used here is on point with what I do know of them. The magic comes in putting these mystical creatures in turn-of-the century Big Apple and putting them both in positions that require them to examine and test their very natures. The supporting cast is equally as fascinating, from Ice Cream Selah, Maryam Faddoul, Arbeely, Rabbi Meyer and Michael Levy, to name a few. They're all trying to figure out life, figure out their place in it - even when they think they know what that place should be - and watching as the author weaves their various storylines together like the Fates at their loom. 

 

This was enrapturing, made even more so because I couldn't figure out where the story was going or how it would all be resolved. For every thread I managed to tie together, there were several others that I couldn't see how they connected. And I really didn't want to. I was happy to just sit back and allow the story to unfold in its own time, and it didn't disappoint.

 

The narrator, George Guidall, does a wonderful job capturing the many characters and bringing their cultures and neighborhoods to life. 

The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (Montague Siblings #2)

The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy - Mackenzi Lee

While I enjoyed The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, I found it uneven in the way it handled both the historical and fantasy aspects of the story. It felt like neither one really got their fair share of the story, and both suffered as a result. So I was hesitant to give this one a try and probably would've passed it up if one of my groups hadn't chosen it for the book of the month.

 

This was a little slow to start, and Felicity drove me up the wall at first with her selfishness and single-mindedness. Ambition is all well and good, but when it comes hand in hand with stepping over anyone who gets in your way, I can't really back that person up. Thankfully, Felicity does a lot of growing up over the course of the book and it was fun to watch. 

 

I also really appreciated that this book examined all aspects of feminism and femininity, and didn't just focus on the "women can do men's work" aspect of it, because what is men's work anyway? It's a ludicrous concept. But so often in literature and media, girls or women who exhibit more "manly" traits - being good at fighting/killing, being aggressive, etc - are applauded, while women who are traditionally feminine are not. Just look at the different receptions that Arya and Sansa Stark get. This book shows that there's more than one way for women to be independent, strong and self-assured. With Felicity, Johanna and Sim, we get three such women as they go out into the world and figure out how to make their own way in it. It does get a little head-bashy at times, but this is still such an important message that girls need to learn and hear (there's no wrong way to be a woman), that I didn't mind it too much when it got a little preachy.

 

Also, Felicity is ace/aro and I identified so much with her on that aspect of herself. Because really, kissing? Ew. In addition to her is Sim, an African Muslim lesbian/bisexual (we don't really know; it doesn't really matter), and some cameos by Monty and Percy, so there's lots of LGBT+ rep in this book. 

 

I'm confused about who the girl in the cover is supposed to be though. Felicity has red hair, Sim is black, and Johanna doesn't come in until about a third of the way through, though the hair color's a match. But the story is told from Felicity's POV. *shrugs* It's a cool cover. :D

 

I thought the historical aspects were much better handled here than in the first book, and were given much better detail and attention. The fantasy elements too were better handled and integrated into the story, though it takes awhile for them to show up. 

I was still bemused about some of it though, in particular that Johanna doesn't bat an eye at learning that dragons are real. It makes sense for Felicity to take it in stride, given the previous book, but Johanna didn't know magic and alchemy and such were real until that moment. How about some doubt, at least? "I'll believe it when I see it" maybe. Something.

(show spoiler)

Johanna and Felicity both display some uncomfortable (but appropriate for the time) colonialist attitudes at points that I wanted to shake them for. 

Rites of Winter (Inheritance #6)

Rites of Winter - Amelia Faulkner

This is the first book in a new "season" and it shows. (I didn't steal that line from Elena! She just got to her review first.) ;)

 

It was nice to pick up more or less where the previous book ended, and to see Laurence and Quentin start to work on some of their issues. Quentin especially is messed up from the events of the previous book, but Laurence has his own hangups he needs to work out too. I really would've liked to see more emphasis made on their emotional and psychological trauma, but that was mostly skimmed over in favor of focusing on their sex life. Which is also important because of what Quentin was forced to remember in the last book, and I don't want to discount that. I'm happy none of that caused a backslide. 

 

But look, I don't like D/s at all and this is getting very close to bordering on that and has been steadily going in that direction for awhile. I also have no idea what's supposed to be so sexy about mesh shirts. To me, they look like an overenthusiastic cat attacked someone's wardrobe. So none of this was working for me, and for it being such an important part of their relationship development it left me cold. Add onto that Laurence wondering when the hell he became so submissive and the theory I've been working with since the end of the second book, and this all gets unfortunately cringe-worthy. I could be totally off with my theory, but there is no way for me to know that at this point. All that combined means their sex scenes are the equivalent of dumping me into the Arctic Ocean.

 

The plot itself is well done and paced, and it was good to see more of Otherworld and see the various ways that fantasy and magic blend together in this world. I did think there was a little too much focus on the action at times, when it would've been nicer to see the emotional tolls some more. I'm not really sure what to make of Basil or Jon at this point, since they're not given much dimension. They're interesting though and I'm looking forward to seeing what they bring to the mix in the future.

 

There were a few missing words in this one, and one chapter's formatting was just wonky - but readable. I also don't remember Laurence being so excessive with the "baby" endearments in past books. I'm not one to quibble over that word like others are, but even I wanted to cast it into the fires of Mt. Doom after the third or fourth chapter.

Mr. Lincoln: The Life of Abraham Lincoln (Audiobook)

Mr. Lincoln: The Life of Abraham Lincoln - NOT A BOOK

Forgive me, Lincoln, for I have sinned. I attempted to listen to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and it was so bad. To atone, I have listened to this wonderful lecture series by Lincoln historian Allen C. Guezlo to learn actual real things about your life. ... I don't know how to close out a confession properly, so I'll just say, dude, you rocked.

 

This is a twelve-part lecture series, each lecture around 35 minutes, that details the life of Abraham Lincoln from his birth in Kentucky to his assassination by John Wilkes Booth. He was a truly fascinating man, who loved his country, believed in moral rights and human rights, and always tried to live within the law. Guezlo presents his lectures in clear and concise detail and while he clearly has great admiration for President Lincoln, he is impartial and gives the facts as they are.

 

This is a great summary of the life and achievements of a remarkable man.

The Heiress Effect (The Brothers Sinister #2)

The Heiress Effect - Courtney Milan

This is easily my favorite to date. Jane, Emily and Free are forces to reckon with, and Oliver learns how to stand up for himself, and Anjan was a surprising delight of a character. I think it'll be hard to top this one. :D

 

I don't recall if we've met Jane Fairfield before now, but from the instant she appears on page, she commands your full attention. She's a plus-size woman with a plus-size dowry, and she's lacking many of the social graces that refined women are expected to have. She's got terrible taste in clothes, and she speaks her mind in the most refreshing way possible. Well, refreshing for the reader. The poor subjects of her attentions will hardly find it so refreshing. But she's one of those people you find it hard to hate - unless you're asshole, like Bradenton. She does some of it by design, since she's actively trying to not get married and knows the best way to put off any man is tell him exactly what you think of him. And it works.

 

Until she meets Oliver. I was instantly intrigued with Oliver and his parents when I read The Duchess War, and have been trying to figure out who would make a good match for him since. Jane fits the bill, but not in the way youI would have expected. So far, Ms. Milan has been doing a fantastic job of finding love interests who challenge each other in the ways they most need to be challenged, and she doesn't have to resort to tired old tropes to do (or finds wonderful ways of poking fun at that tropes when she does use them). Oliver had it hard at Eton and Cambridge, the bastard and unrecognized son of a duke, and he learned how to compromise parts of himself in order to fit in, whereas Jane goes out of her way to stand out. Watching them circle around each other, and learning to trust in each other, was pure delightful. Ms. Milan even had me worried this might end on a cliffhanger. (It doesn't.)

 

Then there's Jane's sister Emily, who suffers from seizures, and their idiotic uncle Titus who really does think he's doing the best he can for her but ye gads this is why women need to be able to direct their own lives, y'all! Emily meets Anjan, an Indian immigrant who is studying law and struggling to fit in with a society that looks down on him just for the color of his skin. I thought the racism that he encounters was delicately handled, and it's shown that even those who are well-meaning can still be insensitive. They're more of a subplot here, but Ms. Milan makes takes scene they have together shine and milks them for everything she can.

 

On top of all this, but linked intricately to everything these characters are struggling with and learning, is Oliver's sister Free, who is determined to get into Cambridge despite her sex, and who is as resourceful as she is willful. 

 

However, add on Sebastian and Violet and this did start to feel a little overstuffed in the back half. I'm guessing Sebastian's book will be next, but setting it up here didn't really do this story much justice and detracted from the central themes. It did serve a purpose for the Jane/Oliver storyline though.

 

And now I have to nitpick: Jane is not slim. The cover model is. And she's once again dressed like she's going to prom. I'm sure the publisher was picking stock photos from a catalogue rather than paying the money for their own photo shoots, but they couldn't find one plus-sized model? Not one? Really? That's depressing.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (Audiobook) (DNF @ 57%)

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (Audio) - Seth Grahame-Smith, Scott Holst

I'm throwing in the towel. I can't take this anymore. I wanted something stupid funny for Halloween. Unfortunately, this is taking itself way too seriously to be funny, and I'm losing too many brain cells trying to find something to appreciate.

 

And the idea that "as long as slavery exists, so will vampires" as if one has anything to do with the other is ludicrous. 

 

And the narrator doesn't even sound like Lincoln! (Otherwise, he does the best he can with what he's given.)

SPOILER ALERT!

Dark Economy

Dark Economy - M.J. Keedwell

This was the book that would never end. I should have DNF at 50% like I planned to, but I thought that adjusting (and lowering) my expectations would suffice. And it did get better for awhile. But then it started dragging again and I had to skim the last 5% or so to get through this because I wanted it finished tonight.

 

Maybe it was reading this while also listening to What Angels Fear, since they're roughly in the same time period (this one takes place 17 years after Angels) and they both feature amateur sleuths who pursue murders that will ultimately never see true justice done for them, but I found this book lacking. Where Angels had a protag who was interesting, versatile and charismatic, Dark Economy's MC is kind of an obnoxious git. Where Angels has an intriguing mystery within the mystery - French spies in wartime England - Dark Economy has privileged boys who couldn't wait for their allowances to buy things. 

 

You've got Cadell Meredith, the obnoxious git, whose constant back-patting made my hand itch to smack him. He's supposed to be a conscientious, top-rate medical student but he's barely in class. He decided to take it upon himself to solve the murder of a man whose body he stole from the graveyard because he obviously couldn't go to the cops with the info. He also clearly didn't know what he's doing, though he did a decent job of faking it, and I was scratching my head what he planned to do with any of the information he was digging up. Even an anonymous letter to the copper who's supposedly dogging his every step yet missing 95% of his antics wouldn't do much good since Cadell messed with most of the evidence he found. Then again, who needs evidence in Ye Olden Tymes? He kept running into one dead-end after another only to find out that it's exactly who you thought it was right from the start.

 

Then there's the "love interest," or shall I say love interests. He lusted after every other guy he came into contact with and even got a mutual hand job from one of them, but it's the copper who he really wanted. Why? I have no clue, actually. Their first interaction, Breton had broken into his home, cooked him dinner (why? IDK!) and interrogated him, threatened him, was an overall jerk and then manhandled him against the wall. I guess it was sexy manhandling??? And from this encounter on, Cadell's supposedly in lust with the guy but since he was lusting after every other guy, it was hard to see why Breton was so special. They did finally get some real interaction after the 50% mark, but most of that was so nonsensical I couldn't buy into it. They didn't actually get together until 98%.

 

The author did well in portraying what it must have been like being a medical student at a time when grave-robbing, even for medical purposes, could get you sent to the gallows, and there's a good sense of atmosphere for the time period. Unfortunately, that atmosphere was often lost by Cadell's inner-thoughts, which made him come across more like a modern-age brat than a mature medical student of the early 1800s.

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