Monday, 28 March 2016

Three Deaths Of Magdalene Lynton by Katherine Hayton / Reflections Of Queen Snow White by David Meredith / Treasure Darkly by Jordan Elizabeth

The Three Deaths of Magdalene Lynton by Katherine Hayton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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I received an advance copy of The Three Deaths Of Magdalene Lynton by Katherine Hayton as a reward for successfully nominating it, via the Kindle Scout program, for publication by Kindle Press.

The novel is a police procedural set in New Zealand so I was reminded of Tin Larrick's Manukau Bluebirds, however the two are very different tales. Manukau Bluebirds has a bustling 'big city' feel to it whereas Three Deaths' vibe is more rural.

Maori Detective Constable Ngaire Blakes finds herself digging up the past when a dying man, Paul Worthington, suddenly decides to confess to a murder he committed some four decades before. The death of fifteen-year-old Magdalene Lynton had been attributed to accidental drowning, but as Blakes and her partner DC Deb Weekes begin asking questions, they discover more guilty consciences than just the one. Hayton creates an intricate web for her readers to try and work out and I liked the handling of Paul's illness storyline. Having seen the combined effects of cancer and chemo, I appreciated her sensitivity. I am not sure that all aspects of Three Deaths are realistic though and Blakes does tend to play the lone hero to extremes. Having said that, the resolution of the case is satisfying and I enjoyed the portrayal of Blakes and Finlay's friendship which made a refreshing change to the usual rush towards intense romance that has irritated me in other crime novels.

I did wonder if I had missed earlier instalments in the series as elements of Blakes' back story aren't explained in much detail, even though they have great bearing on her current psychological situation. Three Deaths is the first book though - I had a good look around to make sure! Perhaps this will be expanded upon in future stories? I look forward to finding out.


The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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I received a copy of Reflections Of Queen Snow White from its author, David Meredith. The book takes as its starting point the Grimm fairy tale of Snow White but, instead of simply being another retelling, Meredith looks into Snow White's future to imagine what happens after the Happily Ever After. We find Snow White, depressed and alone in a cavernous throne room. The rest of her court rush about outside delightedly preparing for her daughter's forthcoming marriage while Snow White still mourns the loss of her beloved Prince Charming who died of old age a year before. Meredith's story is dark in the Grimm tradition and includes descriptions of violence, sex and child abuse that will certainly be extra-shocking to those who only know the Disneyfied Snow White. I liked his idea of Snow White visiting her past by way of her Stepmother's enchanted mirror. She longs to reclaim happiness and her inner strength. Perhaps the mirror's reflection will show her how?

The adult Snow White is experiencing a crisis of confidence and has sunk into depression so her frequent woe-is-me wailing is understandable, if irritating. She seems determined to only ever value herself in relation to a man as would have been normal for the Grimm story's era, although the mirror tries to guide her towards independent strength. Meredith mostly uses historically appropriate language which adds to his well-crafted atmosphere, but occasionally slips into modern-day Americanisms such as 'mommy' which grate. Words are distractingly misused too. Amongst others we have dust moats instead motes, hair is quaffed not coiffed (surely she'd choke!), and my favourite was reading about courtesans in place of courtiers - although some behaved more as the former than the latter so perhaps the substitution wasn't so far off. Reflections Of Queen Snow White is a good read and an interesting examination of grief and introspection, but it needs a more robust proofreading and I would have preferred more to have been made of the ending as it wraps up with an unexpected haste.



Treasure, Darkly by Jordan Elizabeth
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

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I received a copy of Treasure, Darkly by Jordan Elizabeth, via her street team, in exchange for my honest review. Having enjoyed my last Jordan Elizabeth steampunk read, Cogling, and loved my first, the horror tale Escape From Witchwood Hollow, I had high hopes for Treasure, Darkly. Instead I have finished it feeling quite disappointed.

The first of a Wild West Steampunk series, Treasure Darkly introduces us to young Clark Treasure, the illegitimate son of a wealthy ranch owner whose mother was killed by one of his customers. Clark drank a stolen potion believing it to be absinthe, but instead of simply becoming inebriated he developed the power of necromancy. I expected this interesting ability to form the main storyline of the novel, but it is mostly sidelined in favour of a bland romance. Steampunk inventions such as steamcycles and laser guns get mentions, but aren't fully described so I found it difficult to visualise this world as Elizabeth sees it. Other than Clark and his flighty love interest. Amethyst, few of the characters are developed to any great extent and I missed the great atmosphere creation at which Elizabeth excelled in Escape From Witchwood Hollow. Treasure, Darkly feels as though it was written by a completely different author. I would still try other Jordan Elizabeth books in the future, but I won't be continuing with this series.


View all my reviews on Stephanie Jane or on Goodreads

7 comments:

  1. Thanks for the review as I love reading!
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena
    www.dressedwithsoul.com

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  2. Just seen that Katherine Hayton is running a giveaway for Three Deaths over on Goodreads. Enter here

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  3. Katherine Hayton is running another giveaway for Three Deaths over at Amazon. Enter here

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  4. I've just heard that Katherine Hayton's Christchurch Crime trilogy - Found Near Water, Skeletal and Breathe And Release is now available as an ebook boxset for only £4.99 via Amazon: http://amzn.to/29dsVj1

    I'm not sure if this is an introductory offer or the permanent price!

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  5. Katherine Hayton has now put her second Ngaire Blakes novel on to KindleScout. Nominate it here! https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/CB9NSW95GX1U

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  6. Katherine Hayton's novel Skeletal is currently free on Amazon for Halloween! Ebook link: http://amzn.to/2fu6o2L
    Enjoy!

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