Series or Standalone: Stalking Jack the Ripper #1
Genre: Young Adult Mystery and Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 20th of Septemner 2016
Stalking Jack the Ripper follows Audrey Rose Wadsworth, a young teenager in the 1880s leading a double life practicing forensic medicine in her Uncle’s laboratory. All the while, shunning the life of social teas and dress fittings that befits her as a lord’s daughter in high society. Opting for the gruesome life, her work takes an unexpected when she is thrusted into an investigation following a series of murders by none other than the leather apron – aka Jack the Ripper.
“It was hard time someone noticed I was capable of looking after myself.”
3½ stars. If I had to describe this book in two words it would be fun…yet obvious.
I listened to this via Audiobook – which I generally don’t gravitate towards – and this experience was the most enjoyable listening experience I’ve had thus far. Nicola Barbara did a great job bringing these characters to life, with her incredible range of tone and pitch. She was able to make me emotionally invested in the story.
This book was fairly enjoyable from start to finish. I have my criticisms of the storyline, but am forgiving seeing this is a debut novel. As a reader who is largely a character driven, I was very pleased with this story. Audrey has an exceptionally strong voice and I can always appreciate that. Thomas Cresswell, whose attitude was reminiscent of Will Herondale, was a snarky supporting character. Whilst I enjoyed his comedic value, at times he was a bit melodramatic for my liking.
The plot however was my least favorite aspect of this book. I found the story telling very weak – in that both the plot and romance were way too obvious. Considering the goodreads blurb has it marketed “an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion…” which it fails to live up to given the myriad of reviews also proclaiming the predictability of this book.
My enjoyment wasn’t hindered because of the obviousness, however it definitely would have been elevated if I wasn’t so aware of who the Ripper was. It needed to have that tension, that mystery to draw me in a little more.
The romance as well felt lacklustre. I was continuously anticipating Audrey and Thomas getting together. I wish they had more of a ‘will they won’t they’ dynamic, a more emotionally satisfying route that would have given the novel some needed angst.
Also, whilst I appreciated the feminist message, I think it was almost overkill here. I can see this aspect appealing to many but for me I was just not a fan of the repetition in the narrative.
Lastly, a non-bookish complaint. Audrey is a person of colour, her mother is Indian. At one point Audrey equates looking at a picture of her mother like looking in a mirror. If you read the book, you can’t miss the details and hints at her culture. The cover of this book nor does the fanart reflect this, which is disappointing.
Let me know your thoughts on this book or whether it sounds like something you’d be interested in reading!