A bit late, but here are my thoughts on Alan Bradley’s I am Half-sick of Shadows.
Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I have not read all of the books in the series, but I find that it is going to require some time and effort for me to fall in love with Flavia de Luce.
Alright, the series definitely have an interesting basic concept. Think a younger, fresh, post-contemporary Agatha Christie, with all the right ingredients for a classic British detective story. Let’s see. A highly intelligent, socially awkward leading character. Check. The sleepy British countryside. Check. Strangers coming from an untouchable society, in this case movie directors and actors. Check.
So how come I, forever in awe of Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot, did not find myself intrigued by the series?
Because of its mediocre execution.
The story moves on reaaaaaaally slooooooowly that I actually find myself screaming for the murder(s) to happen. Just imagine; halfway through the story and still nothing big happened, just introduction to characters and motives.
Another problem is the lack of surprises. While we waited for the murder to happen, we were being served with faintly disguised Chekov guns and red herrings, with all my predictions proved to be true at the end of the story. I guess surprises just do not happen anymore. Yawn.
Then, finally, the most intriguing of them all: there were no tricks or method. Yes, Flavia does speak like a rocket scientist, and she does all these tricks with her chemistry set. But when it comes to investigating murders, there are nothing but sneaking around and talking to people to get data.
It was definitely less-embarrassing than reading Fifty Shades, but perhaps some more efforts are needed to call this story a favourite.
3 out of 5 stars.