The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle - Stuart Turton

Aiden Bishop wakes up in the body of a different person at the start of the same day each morning. He is staying at Blackheath, the family home of the Hardcastle's where terrible events occurred nineteen years previous. There is a party going on and each of Aiden's hosts are in attendance. He has to figure out how best to utilise their skills as he will continue to rotate around his hosts, resetting his memories after the eighth host until he solves the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle. This would be easy, if only he could remember who he was, why he is there and how a suicide could be a murder? We follow Aiden through his array of hosts within the house trying to figure out how to escape his recurring nightmare and who to trust when no one is who they say they are.

I'd read varying reviews for this book but the premise was so interesting to me that I couldn't hold off reading it any longer. I was slightly holding back due to most of the reviews I had seen being negative by the construction of the narrative but to begin with I didn't have a problem. This story is told from one character's perspective but through the eyes of eight different personalities. This is interesting for a reader because we can view the internal struggle our main character has fighting between the contrasting personalities in his head. Toward the climax of the story the differing timelines of the characters did become confusing. All of the different hosts ran out their day alongside whichever host Aiden was in, all of them also being inhabited by Aiden... confusing, right? I loosely took a grasp of the intertwining stories but if I think too hard about how it works I get muddled. Not a good sign when your readers cannot understand 100% of the book.

Twist endings are my favourite kind of ending. Throughout the entire of this book I was trying to piece together who could have killed Evelyn Hardcastle but in the last thirty or so pages when the clues came together I was shocked. I thoroughly enjoyed the twist and turns the story took and it brought my review of it up because of the sheer thought and hard work it would have taken to tie it all together so neatly. Saying this I didn't love the fact that our main character seemed to piece together the ending before us, when we are reading from his perspective. The book relies on our ability to shift between hosts with Aiden and piece together his thoughts in each one, but when it matters the most we seemed to be met with nothing but vague speeches to how he figured it all out.

Picking up this book was a hassle for me, I enjoyed the story and really wanted to get to the bottom of it but the confusion (especially in the last half) was usually so intense I often avoided picking it up. When reading a book I enjoy the story being told to me through narrative and internal dialogue, I do not enjoy having to work for the ending myself, especially if it is a first person narrative where we follow the character from the word 'go' but they seem to figure it out and hide the answers from us as well.

I definitely recommend that you pick up this book but take note, you really need to be in a detective/mystery mindset to try and pick apart the different timelines to make sense of the book in it's entirety.

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