Thursday, March 8, 2012

Review: Ripper by Amy Carol Reeves

Title: Ripper
Author: Amy Carol Reeves
Series: N/A
Pages: 340
Publisher: Flux Books
Publishing Date: April 8, 2012
Format: e-galley
Genre: Historical Fiction/Paranormal (YA)
Source: provided by Flux via Netgalley

In 1888, following her mother's sudden death, 17-year-old Arabella Sharp goes to live with her grandmother in a posh London neighborhood. At her grandmother's request, Abbie volunteers at Whitechapel Hospital, where she discovers a passion for helping the unfortunate women and children there. But within days, female patients begin turning up brutally murdered at the hands of Jack the Ripper.
My Review:
Wow...what a crazy ride! I first heard of this book on the blogosphere and was immediately struck with the "gimmies" because it was about Jack the Ripper. Call me dark, creepy, twisted, whatever...Jack the Ripper is freaking awesome. I love books about him or that reference him or emulate him...anything...So when I saw this book up on NetGalley I just about broke my mouse by clicking on it over and over...impatiently waiting for my ridiculously slow computer to freaking load!

Ripper definitely did not disappoint. It takes the same-old Jack the Ripper story (Something darkly fascinating in it's own right) and mixes in some sweet "special" features...Like visions, alchemy, potions, deceit, and immortal monsters wearing the faces of kind, upstanding citizens... YES! I thought the paranormal/alchemical(?) aspects were very cool. I haven't read many alchemist books but the topic is infinitely interesting to me. Plus it references Nicholas Flamel and anything that I can even begin to connect to Harry Potter works for me. There was a lot of cool,  bloody, and fascinating scenes that helped paint the picture of immortality questers and their obsession corrupting their once-noble pursuits.

I loved seeing references to famous historical artists, poets, and authors. My favorite was Christina Rossetti's incarnation as an eccentric aunt. I really love Rossetti's poetry and spent a good portion of last semester studying it so it was really cool to take her out of the texts and see what she was like, even if it was only a fictionalized version of her. I am pretty well-read with fiction from this time and I was able to catch lots of little references to the classics and to people like Jane Austen, Sherlock Holmes, Ulysses, etc which made this book a lot smarter than it seems when you read between the lines. Well, at least it made me feel smart when I caught the references..

There is some throwbacks to Gothic literature that I thought were pretty cool...Arabella is a pretty modern heroine for her time, but she still manages to bring out a Jane Eyre-esk manner of ruthless efficiency and wit. Arabella, or Abby, was a very confusing character for me. She was poor, Irish raised so she had an edge to her that most girls of her time didn't have. She was a lot stronger than I thought she would be and she was very...I don't want to say bloodthirsty...but there's really no other way to say it. She sees evil and what it can do to her friends and the innocent and she just takes it out like she's an avenging angel of death...totally cool and different for a heroine of this kind of novel.

I wasn't very satisfied with the bonds and relationships between the characters. There was a huge cast and they weren't explored as well as they could have been. There were about 5 villains and I kept confusing who was who and it seemed like Reeves used them as if they were exchangeable. I basically only pictured 3 men in suits who did most of the evil dirty-work and then the other two bad guys had more defined personalities, but still...the bad guys are important. They shouldn't be written off just because there are a lot of them. I wanted to know what drove each of the bad-guys to their murderous pursuits...There was a veritable harem of "good-guys" too. I felt like some characters were unnecessary and entirely too complicated. I found myself wishing that certain characters would just get murdered already and save me the bother of listening to them talk anymore. I just felt distracted by people like the constable and Mary and Stubby. They took up lots of page time but didn't really add to the plot or character development of the main characters.
I enjoyed Ripper. I struggled with the amount of characters and the lack of feeling between all of them, but for the most part it captivated me from page one. I give it 3.5 Keys because it grabbed me almost from the beginning and had a ton of spine chilling and goose-bump causing moments of terror. I was constantly slapped in the face by twists that I didn't see coming at all. I spent the entire book convinced that one guy was evil and it turned out he was just an innocent bystander..sheesh...I don't normally make monumental mistakes like that but Ripper really keeps you guessing.  Ripper is officially released ONE MONTH from today...yeah, I know, I know...why dangle something you can't have in front of your faces? Well...for one thing, I'm mean...I like watching (figuratively of course) you all squirming with greed and envy...but I want to get the word out as well! Ripper is a fast-paced, dark, mysterious read and it should be shouted from the mountains...or at least check it out! Add it to your "to-read" shelf on Goodreads...but mostly...get PUMPED! :)

1 comment:

  1. So glad you liked this book! :)) I thought Abby's bloodthirstiness was pretty cool, and yeah, agree with you on excessive amount of characters, especially villains.