Review of ‘Spectacle’ (Spectacle #1)

By Cynthia Bujnicki

Spectacle by Jodie Lynn Zdrok
Tor Teen
Image Credit: Goodreads

Paris, 1887, Nathalie has discovered that she has a unique gift, she can see how the dead have died. Now Nathalie must use her gift and her reporters instinct to help solve the crimes before she becomes the next victim.

Published by Tor Teen, Spectacle by Jodie Lynn Zdrok is a supernatural young adult murder mystery.

What a great spectacle. Spectacle works by taking the reader on an unexpected journey, intermingling fantasy and historical fiction to tell an unforgettable tale. The way the story unfolds gives life to the mystery and thrill that drives Nathalie. Already a writer for the local paper, Nathalie finds herself embroiled in a mystery that is about both her and her ability to see the eyes of the killer when facing his victim.

A supernatural fantasy, the story keeps up the tension as it works to unravel the mystery behind both Nathalie’s gift, her connection to the murders and the murderer as well. For that, it makes an excellent young adult mystery, reminiscent of Nancy Drew at times, as Nathalie works to unravel the secrets behind her gift. She seeks out a way to understand her gift, opening up to those around her and growing as a character while she seeks a way to understand her power and how to use it.

The authors’ prose works so well because of the pacing, because of how the novel unravels the mystery at a slow and steady pace. It makes the reader forget about the passage of time, taking the time to build everything up so that the rising tension quickens the reader’s heart. Many elements in the story tie together that, when combined with the excellent pacing, allow the events to unravel with clarity. Even when it seems over, the unsettling tone lets the reader know that it is not over, keeping the reader engaged.

Not only does the novel have excellent rising tension, both in the character development and plot, but the detail into the world-building is excellent. From the clothing to transportation and little details regarding Nathalie’s surroundings, transporting the reader to the past. It is exquisite writing that puts the reader into the novel, allowing the reader to connect to both the characters and the circumstances with ease.

Spectacle is a captivating novel. It is unique in the way it approaches a murder mystery with this supernatural aspect that fits into the story perfectly. It is believable, which is vital in keeping the reader grounded in the plot, and mystifying. (★★★★☆)

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Product Details:

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

Page count: 368pp

Age Range: 13 & Over

ISBN: 978-0-7653-9968-7

Publisher: Tor Teen

List Price: $17.99


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