ARC kindly provided by Allen & Unwin in exchange for an honest review.
Title: These Shallow Graves
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Published: 22 June 2016
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
I could not and CAN not express how excited I was about receiving a paperback ARC of ‘These Shallow Graves’! I was literally on cloud nine! I have heard so much good things about it from the rest of the YA community (and some bad things) but this novel seemed right up my alley and boy was I glad that I was able read it! I was ready to give it a FIVE star…but…here’s why it a four.
I thought the novel was a solid work that had many things going for it. But there were a few that just nicked down my rating little by little. For example:
I really enjoyed Jennifer Donnelly’s writing style and this novel was NOT my first read by the author. It was probably book one of the ‘Waterfire Saga’. Have you guys seen the cover for that one? *fangirling all over again* But the draw back with that novel as well as this one was that the writing didn’t have unique tang or flavour to it that would have identified Donnelly as the author. She wasn’t able to give me that something special with her words that would have made the novel hers and hers alone.
The plot was extremely well constructed. There were twists and turn and passion and romance! Gosh! So much that went on! But…at the end of the day, it didn’t amaze me AS much as I wanted it to. Let me clarify this: I enjoyed the story IMMENSELY but I thought it could have been better.
I felt like some parts of the novel went on a little. No, they didn’t drag and bore me to death, but I did wonder what the purpose of all those extra words was. The author probably could have said just as much in less AND it would have made the effect more powerful.
The characters were great! I loved them to bits and pieces! I thought each was quite interesting and I loved how their behaviour and antics were so TRUE and RIGHT for the time period in which they lived. They captured the essence of what it was to live in 19th century, New York.
Josephine was such a pleasure to read from. She was a 21st century soul trapped in the body of a 19th century girl. She was driven, clever, brave, persistent, and – my most favourite of all – with a big, gigantic heart that loved and felt for everybody.
And her name! Her name! It was a reference to Louisa May Alcott’s ‘Little Women’! It is my all time favourite series and I greatly admired how Jennifer Donnelly masterfully merged classic and thriller to create a new type of classic worthy of any audience today.
But best of all was the chemistry between Eddie Gallagher and Jo. Slow-burning and sweet, it was a romance that touched my heart, soul and mind. And I loved it!
And, YES, the novel did focus a lot on the life privileged and non-privileged women had to survive in order to be identified as normal. As sensible. There were SO many hardships that both types of women had to undergo in order to live in a – let’s say it – MAN’s world. Because that is what it was. And they ruled over it with an iron fist.
I felt like the balance of mystery and history in ‘These Shallow Graves’ was JUST right. I know that many felt there was not enough mystery in the novel, because that, I believe, is what it was primarily advertised as: a historical tjriller. I really enjoyed how the mystery was not ALL what the novel explored. The author explored a side women still have to face: equality alongside men.
The setting was such a great way to do this! New York is a city we associate with the modern day and power. The year 1890 showed that what women faced in ‘These Shallow Graves’ wasn’t that very long ago.
Congratulations to Jennifer Donnelly on publishing her new, EPIC, standalone novel worthy of the greatest and biggest!
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!