Sixteen-year-old Nathalie Baudin writes the daily morgue column for Le Petit Journal. Her job is to summarize each day’s new arrivals, a task she finds both fascinating and routine. That is, until the day she has a vision of the newest body, a young woman, being murdered–from the perspective of the murderer himself.
When the body of another woman is retrieved from the Seine days later, Paris begins to buzz with rumors that this victim may not be the last. Nathalie’s search for answers sends her down a long, twisty road involving her mentally ill aunt, a brilliant but deluded scientist, and eventually into the Parisian Catacombs. As the killer continues to haunt the streets of Paris, it becomes clear that Nathalie’s strange new ability may make her the only one who can discover the killer’s identity–and she’ll have to do it before she becomes a target herself.
Publication Date: 2-12-2019
Genres: Mystery, Young Adult
Thank you Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Spectacle follows a young girl, Nathalie, who writes the daily morgue column for Le Petit Journal. Up till now her life has been fairly normal, however, things drastically change when she witnesses the first murder through the killers eyes. This story had me hooked from the first few chapters! I adored Nathalie as the main character. I really empathize with her as she struggles to fully understand who she is and why she was given this gift. Still a teenager, with a mother who recently suffered burns to her hands and a father who travels frequently, she has a lot on her plate. Rather than spend a summer vacationing with her friend Agnes, she took on this journalism job a year early in order to help financially while her mother recovers. Nathalie not only has a job requirement but she also has to figure out if she wants the burden of witnessing these horrendous crimes in order to help the police.
Things I liked
Characters: I thought that each character had their own unique characteristics; between determined Nathalie, Sassy Simone, and sweet Agnes, there is a diverse cast to read about. They all interacted well with each other and I loved the friendship Nathalie had with Simone and Agnes. The letters between Nathalie and Agnes were a fun touch to the novel. Nathalie is a beautifully written MC with a passion for being a journalist. She has the natural curiosity and drive to excel in that profession. We witness Nathalie grow as she deals with the struggles places in her way and how she overcomes them. she isn’t one to hesitate to get what she wants and she doesn’t hide from the truth. She has a lot of strong qualities that makes her an amazing main character.
Relationships: Family is an important theme in this novel and I loved reading the interactions between Nathalie and her family. Her father travels so most of the time it’s just Nathalie and her mother and you can feel the bond between them. There is also Nathalie’s aunt who is in an asylum but they continue to visit her and try to help her get better. Then the relationships between Nathalie, Simone and Agnes. At some point Nathalie and Simone got into an argument but ultimately come back together and I think this is important because not every friendship is perfect and there will be times that are tough. Mentioned above, the letters between Nathalie and Agnes were sweet because Nathalie felt as if she could tell Agnes about her gift; she’s able to be herself and not worry about losing her as a friend.
World Building: I’ve never been to Paris but the descriptions and the bits of Paris culture made me feel as if I were there alongside Nathalie. She frequents Notre Dame, the newspaper press where she writes her article, the morgue, and various other Paris hot spots. It makes me want to visit Pairs today but also back in the 1880’s! Zdrok also included minor french words and I appreciated that touch.
Writing: I adored Jodie Zdrok’s writing style. She doesn’t over explain but it has enough whimsy that you can imagine the scene play out. She writes about delectable treats, lush buildings, and strong character with such ease that you’ll find yourself flipping page after page without realizing it
Things I didn’t Like
Pacing: Unfortunately this book felt like it dragged on after the halfway point. The beginning had me absolutely hooked, I wanted to know more about the characters, the murders and how they were going to catch the killer. After the first few murders, Nathalie starts to focus more on her gift and why she was given the burden of seeing how these victims are killed. Understandable but I was promised a murder mystery and rather than finding clues, Nathalie spent most of her time researching the history of the Insightfuls.
While I didn’t dislike this book it was simply okay. I adored the characters and the bits of Paris scenery, but the plot fell short for me. I was hoping for an action packed thrill as they race against time before the killer strikes again. What I got was minor thrill with more self discovery and a somewhat satisfying, though abrupt, conclusion. There was a minor cliff hanger that could indicate a sequel, however, i’m unsure if I would be willing to pick it up.
Have you read Spectacle? What were your thoughts? I would love to chat!