The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Chemist, detective, little girl – Flavia de Luce is a character you can’t help but admire. I like strong-willed characters in my books, especially strong-willed female characters. Alan Bradley has done an incredible job of creating a protagonist that a reader can not only relate to, but also inspire to. In fact, there wasn’t one character I didn’t like – even Flavia’s annoying sisters!
I don’t want to go too much into the plot because there’s nothing worse than looking at a review only to see something along the lines of “I love the end where EVERYONE dies!” What I can say about the plot though, without getting any kind of spoiler-slap, is that it is well though-out, well planned and well executed. This book has a wonderfully peaceful pace. It’s the sort of book you’ll want to read out in the garden under a parasol, on a long winding train journey or perhaps just when you want to block out a too-noisy and chaotic world with something that’s altogether different. Don’t expect action, chocolate-eyed boys and love triangles. Expect mystery, expect murder, expect ESPIONAGE!
The Dead in their Vaulted Arches is perfectly written. The writing is smooth , flawless and screams experience. I haven’t read anything by Alan Bradley before, but I feel confident that his other works are every bit as good. There is some great comedy in this book, little flashes of humour that poke you in the ribs. “I nearly chucked my kippers” is my new favourite catchphrase. But as well as comedy, Bradley is well able to catch the more serious moments, and instead of the ribs, he gets you right in the gut. Some of his thoughts on death and grieving, particularly because they are from a child’s point of view, are incredibly moving and absolutely spot .
A beautifully written book. If you’re looking for something different than the usual YA tropes, give this one a try.
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the free copy of The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches in return for an honest review.
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