Sunday, February 7, 2021

Spectacle by Jodie Lynn Zdrok - OPTIONAL

Spectacle by Jodie Lynn Zdrok, 359 pgs. Tor Teen, 2019. $10.

Language: G; Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG-13 (multiple murders and descriptions of corpses in a mortuary).



In 1887, Nathalie Baudin writes the mortuary column for a Parisian newspaper with the responsibility of recounting each day’s arrival to the city morgue. One day when viewing the body of a young woman, who has been murdered, Nathalie experiences a vision where she sees the murder from the perspective of the murderer. Horrified, she tries to cope with this experience as more bodies and more visions appear. Using her visions to try and bring justice to the victims will bring her to the attention of the authorities and a killer.

A book that is riddled with historical inaccuracies and a sense of the supernatural without much explanation or logic leads the reader to become quickly frustrated. The main character suffers an intense vision where she experiences committing murder through the murderer’s eyes and when she recounts it to friends and family, they accept this phenomenon without hesitation. Prior to this occurrence, no information for a Paris that contains supernatural elements has been set up leaving the reader feeling as though something has been left out of the narrative. As the story progresses more elements of the supernatural are woven into the plot without any time spent world-building a Paris that has all the aspects of the true city, but also a city where scientific experiments involving the manipulation of the human soul to develop superpowers are advertised in the newspaper. Confusion over the rules to this alternate Paris and how the fantasy and reality coexist overwhelm any sense of horror that the author attempts to create. 

Reviewer: AEB

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