SPEAKING FROM AMONG THE BONES
Author: Alan Bradley
Rating: 4.75 out of 5 Stars
Format: Print, E-Book
Publisher: Random House (Delecorte Press)
Release Date: February, 5 2013
Recommended Reading: 14+
RECEIVED A FREE COPY IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW
****THERE ARE NO SPOILERS****
THE GIST: A pint-sized Poirot, this protagonist is smart, adventurous and very mature. The writing is spectacularly vivid, transplanting the reader smack dab in the middle of this “who dunnit”. This book is part of a praised series, but you don’t have to read the others to understand the story. Bradley has written a modern-day Agatha Christie book, only the main detective is 11. At first I felt the protags voice a little too advanced for her age, but as you get to know her it becomes apparent that Bradley wrote her to be brilliant, he made it necessary within the story and it works. On the down side, I felt the story dragged a little, but not enough to lessen my need to continue. If you love a little mystery, plenty of vivid details and a cast of characters written so realistically you could almost feel them creeping up behind you, then Speaking From Among the Bones is the one to read.
SYNOPSIS: “From award-winning author Alan Bradley comes the next cozy British mystery starring intrepid young sleuth Flavia de Luce, hailed by USA Today as “one of the most remarkable creations in recent literature.”
Eleven-year-old amateur detective and ardent chemist Flavia de Luce is used to digging up clues, whether they’re found among the potions in her laboratory or between the pages of her insufferable sisters’ diaries. What she is not accustomed to is digging up bodies. Upon the five-hundredth anniversary of St. Tancred’s death, the English hamlet of Bishop’s Lacey is busily preparing to open its patron saint’s tomb. Nobody is more excited to peek inside the crypt than Flavia, yet what she finds will halt the proceedings dead in their tracks: the body of Mr. Collicutt, the church organist, his face grotesquely and inexplicably masked. Who held a vendetta against Mr. Collicutt, and why would they hide him in such a sacred resting place? The irrepressible Flavia decides to find out. And what she unearths will prove there’s never such thing as an open-and-shut case.” (Netgalley).
THE LOWDOWN: Flavia de Luce is a dynamic character, a feminist go-getter who doesn’t shy away from danger or trouble. She is also 11. Alan, (the writer) penned this young girl with extraordinary abilities while grasping the spirit of youth and capturing the voice of a female child, faultlessly. She isn’t a witch, or an alien, or a boy crazy tomboy, she is a young brilliant chemist searching for answers and I utterly adored her, wanting to tuck her under my arm and care for her as a mother would.
The peripheral characters were given just as much detailed attention as the lead. The writer made sure every character had a distinct voice, shrouding them in mystery, which I felt added to the intensity of the hunt. Just when I felt I could trust a character, I couldn’t and what I thought I saw coming, never came. This story was mysterious and thrilling from the very first page, to the very last word. The only issue was the length of some of the passages, broken by internal thoughts I found a tad bit unnecessary and boring.
Not only was her character written to perfection, but her environment becomes a breathing character too. The streets, the church, the tombs were all intensely palpable. I could feel the dust sticking to my clothes as she climbed out of a grave, smell the rotting undiscovered corpse you know is one dig away from being uncovered and I bumped with her while she rode her trusty bicycle down the old British cobblestone streets. Bradley transformed my world with every word, transplanting me from a modern 2012 America to 1950’s England.
I was, at first, skeptic of this adult novel about a young girl, written by a man. I thought it was a crazy combo that couldn’t possibly be pulled off, but I was mistaken. This sweet, mysterious, thrilling and adventurous book was everything I didn’t expect and more. Flavia de Luce has undoubtedly secured her spot as the newest, youngest and most gifted sleuth in the modern literary world and I encourage readers who enjoy traditional mysteries to take a journey to Flavia’s world in Speaking From Among the Bones.