Saturday, 8 July 2017

STALKING JACK THE RIPPER - by Kerri Maniscalco

STALKING JACK THE RIPPER - Kerri Maniscalco
Published: 2016 - by jimmy patterson.
Pages: 336.
Genres: Young adult / romance / historical fiction / horror / mystery
Source: eBook from a friend.
Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life. Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

I cannot even begin to tell you how much it hurts to write this review. When I put down the book, I just wanted to cry. Considering it's been my most anticipated book for months, I was utterly heartbroken, bewildered, and extremely disappointed and even furious.
I must also confess, that at first I actually wanted to focus solely on the positive aspects of the novel and skimp drastically on the negative aspects. But that's not my policy - and that's not an honest review. And I think everyone deserves and needs to know the negative aspects, however it pains me to write them.
So here goes.


Firstly, there's too much telling (instead of showing), and the dialogue isn't amazing (with the exception of Audrey Rose and Thomas's conversations). Both of these things itched on my nerves, but especially the telling; Audrey Rose's first person narration feels a bit dry at times, and her emotions are revealed plainly through her saying what she feels - instead of relying on her actions to convey them.

It's very fast-paced - sometimes too rushed - but I loved that. The pages fly by, and it's compelling and exciting and fun. Maniscalco's writing is lively, and her vocabulary impressive.
It's a dark and gory tale, with plenty of graphic descriptions of the murders. The medical side of things has obviously been meticulously researched, and although I HATE science, I found the examinations Audrey Rose undertakes interesting and fascinating.
Historically, I feel the book is lacking. Maniscalco packs in enough information for it to be atmospheric, but it also feels somewhat false - too modern, although that could also be a fault of the heroine's extreme modernity.  Either way, I never truly found myself immersed in the time period, and it certainly isn't as vivid or detailed as I hoped it would be.

No spoilers, but the mystery part of this novel is HUGELY disappointing. I kid you not when I say I guessed who the Ripper was in the third chapter. So either I'm a genius (I doubt it) or it's very predictable.
And as for the mystery arc etc etc, I'm also disappointed. Audrey Rose stumbles across random, coincidental clues that honestly require very little skill. It feels like a cheap, amateurish shot at a Who-Dun-It mystery.

“You look quite lovely today, Audrey Rose.” He stepped forward, staring down at me, and I fought to keep my eyes from fluttering shut. Thomas drew closer until I was convinced my blood would explode from my body like fireworks splattering across the night sky. “Perhaps you should comment on the excellent cut of my suit. I look rather handsome today as well. Don’t you think?”

The characters are vivid, dynamic, and beautifully human and flawed. Audrey Rose is a bright, spunky heroine, and Thomas had me swooning repeatedly. Their romance is gorgeous, and their banter is gold. I seriously ship them with all my heart and soul, and I love that they're equals and that they mutually respect each other.
The secondary characters stand out vividly, as well.
But Audrey Rose is too modern for the story; she comes across as a contemporary feminist in an old-fashioned era, and that's unnatural. Statements like "My hands fisted at my sides. I refused, absolutely refused to let this cruel treatment of a woman stand," come across forced and unsympathetic because it's just so put-on.  (It's also another example of telling instead of showing.) It just feels like the author's trying to pack in and address as many feminist issues and arguments as she can through the heroine's temperament, and it does not fit within the story or the time period.    


“Fear is a hungry beast. The more you feed it, the more it grows.”


Now for my BIGGEST issues with this book. Issues that literally make my blood boil. And they are:
The hammering, preaching of feminism, and the heroine's reaction to the deaths of the Ripper's victims. Because I have so much to say on those aspects, I've expanded on them in a separate "rant" post. You can read that HERE.




Stalking Jack the Ripper is a fun and exciting novel, and carried by witty, compelling characters and a gorgeous romance. But the mystery's predictable, historically it's weak, and the feminism is hammered beyond exasperation. 
It's a strong and refreshing story idea, but could've been executed better. 


8 comments:

  1. I've seen such mixed reviews of the book that I decided to try a sample before I make a decision on it. I like fast paced and gory but not so keen on a lot of tell!

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  2. Currently reading this!!! What annoys me most is that the girl on the cover is white washed! But I'm loving the characters!
    Kariny @Kariny's Book Frenzy

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    1. Nice!! Hope you keep loving it! Though good point, I hadn't thought of that 😕

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  3. I hate it when books have to much telling and not enough showing. Especially in a mystery, things need to be kept interesting! I think I'll give this one a pass :(

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    1. It is so annoying :( And yeah, exactly!
      Good decision :)

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  4. I'm sorry this book disappointed you - that's one of the worst things ever! I'll give this one a pass purely because I've heard it's pretty gory. XD I think I would get quite annoyed with the character constantly referring to feminism too!

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    1. Thanks Kyra! Yeah it was :(
      Haha yeah!

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