Of Monsters and Madness by Jessica Verday
Rating: 2.5 Stars
Description: Annabel Lee has been summoned from Siam after her mother's death by a father she's never met. Arriving in Philadelphia, she meets her kind grandfather, her frequently cruel father, and her father's assistant Allan. Adding to her discomfort is the rash of murders that are occurring in Philadelphia coupled with realizing she lives in a house full of secrets.
Why I Picked This Book: I've been kind of fascinated by Poe since the first season of The Following when I realized that I hadn't read much of his work. Plus, I know someone who named their daughter Annabel Lee after the poem which always struck me as a little strange. Not quite as strange as the woman who named her daughter Emily after Faulkner's A Rose for Emily but still a bit odd.
Pros; Verday did a good job with the atmoshpere. You definitely get a sense of gothic with this book. The foreboding is almost a character in it's own right. I liked Annabel's interest in medicine. It felt very authentic and natural to her not like a gimmick added to her character to make her unusual. Maddy was an interesting character and her friendship with Annabel was so obviously the only bright spot in Annabel's life. I liked that she both helped Annabel figure out the new world she had landed in as well as reminding Annabel that Maddy was the servant. Though not all of the twists were a surprise I did want to keep reading to see how everything was revealed.
Cons: While in general I liked Annabel and her naive attitude made sense at the beginning it did get a bit trying. Her character didn't seem to progress much until the end. For the first half she's hit by so many waves of shame I was worried she'd drown. When she wasn't swimming in waves of shame she was feeling lightheaded or flushing,. This seemed somewhat at odds with her ability for healing. The pacing seemed a little off as well. For the bulk of the book nothing happened and then in about the last 20% we're hit with all kinds of developments. Part of this is because it's part 1 in a series. I would've liked to have had a little warning about that so I could expect a cliffhanger ending.
Overall: This book was okay. It won't make my top ten but it was still readable. I think the length worked in it's favor. Having 100 pages of buildup is much more readable than 300 pages of buildup. I most likely will read the 2nd book in the series because I'm curious but it won't be a pre-order.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: I might read the next in this series but I doubt I'll go looking for other books by this author.
Would I Recommend this Book?: Maybe. If you're fascinated by Poe you might find this interesting.