This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
01.10.2018 / Raven Books / Murder-Mystery / Paperback / 528pp / 978-1408889510
Target Audience: Those who enjoy a thrilling murder-mystery that is filled with unique twists and multiple story overlaps that all work in perfect unison all the way to an impressive and shocking conclusion.
About The Seven Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle
Tonight, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed … Again
It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.
But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot.
The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath…
My Short Review
Pretty much everyone I knew in the book community (other than Beth of course) had finished and raved about The Seven Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle. We were late to the party but we were driven by the epic hype and decided to give it a go ourselves. If there is any author that deserves this much kudos, it is easily Stuart Turton. What a debut novel! Seven Deaths is one of the best Mystery-Thriller novels I have ever read. That premise is superb, turning one main character into many and leading the reader on an ever evolving journey to prevent the inevitable death of Evelyn Hardcastle. My head spun, my taste for high grade mysteries was sated and me and Beth had such a fun time reading this together. Seven Deaths is a high stakes guessing game that puts your mind to the test, changing pace and direction at the drop of a hat. Every time Aiden interacts with Blackheath and its occupants it changes the fabric of events. There is a time limit on Aiden’s success and every second of it counts. Can he figure out who the killer is and save Evelyn Hardcastle before she is murdered once again?
You’ve probably been recommended this 100 times already but here goes 101. Buy this book, the hardback edition is fantastic. Get lost within its labyrinthine plot and marvel at the genius of Stuart Turton. If this is him just warming up then I can’t imagine what he has in store for us next time. Please enjoy our buddy read chat thread and of course we would enjoy hearing what you all thought of this unforgettable read.
Our Buddy Chat Discussions
Stuart: Hey Beth. I hope your week hasn’t been to hectic! Are you good to start reading today?
Beth: I sure am!! 😁 very excited, how would you like to divide it up?
Stuart: Let’s go with pages 100, 231, 350 and the end. Is that okay for you?
Stuart: Just to let you know, I am going to need some time before I actually post this buddy read. I am planning on doing a huge shake-up on my blog, name change and all.
Beth: That’s perfect. No worries at all dude. Ooh I’m kind of intrigued about your shake up! 🤔 don’t worry we can post whenever you’re ready.
Stuart: I just need to jumble everything up and refocus. I’ve been a tad slack recently. Cool! Well I’ll get started now 😁 (This blog shake up I talk about did not happen for many reasons but I have been busy writing posts so that’s a bonus)
Beth: I’m crossing everything that we’ll love this as much as everyone else seems to! 🤗
Stuart: Me too. Don’t want to be that reader 🙄. Liking what I am reading so far.
Stuart: I’m ready 😀. So many questions!
Beth: Me too!! First of all, let’s talk about that opening chapter? 😳 Wow, wow, WOW!
Stuart: It was a pretty explosive entry into the narrative. That line ‘How lost do you have to be to let the devil lead you home’ gave me chills. It is a great fusion of spiky adrenaline and dreamy confusion.
Beth: Fantastic description and exactly how I felt. I love a narrative like this that keeps you guessing. By about 30 pages in I already knew I was going to love it and I’m so intrigued to see how it continues. I’m intrigued about our narrator being trapped in different characters each morning but to have a puzzle to solve as well? Who knows what’s going to happen?!
Stuart: I was fascinated by the mystery but I was also slightly uneasy with the initial journey into Blackheath. When he truly discovers what is going on, that really did it for me and now I am completely fixated 😅
Beth: I think it might be one of the few books that I could give five stars in such a short time of reading it! What do you think about the strange figure that appears telling our main lead what’s going on?
Stuart: The plague mask is an interesting point. I hope it has meaning instead of just being a cool feature. I don’t know what to think really. What could they possibly achieve with such a scenario. I wonder if the others are going to be competitive or helpful.
Beth: I definitely wasn’t expecting the whole costume thing. I definitely think they’re going to be competitive. I’m quite concerned it could turn quite nastier than we’re anticipating? 😕
Stuart: Well if that whole servant assault scene was anything to go by then it is going to be brutal. I’m hoping it might turn out to be an impossible love story, that would be perfect. Shall we continue reading?
Stuart: Should have probably finished on the next chapter 😅
Beth: Yes I’ll see you at the next checkpoint! 🤗
Stuart: I really like the way that the traits of each person come through. It would have been a shame if each individual was overly similar.
Stuart: ‘It’s like I’ve been asked to dig a whole with a shovel made of sparrows’. Turton’s imagination is excellent!
Stuart: Ready when you are! We always get the oddest of places to stop for our chats 😅 (I’m a bit eager to chat as you can see!)
Beth: We certainly do! Still SO many questions! Who is the plague doctor? Who is this mysterious footman? I loved that quote you put above, the imagery is just fantastic and I really feel present in this world, like an onlooker at the party. I am glad like you say that each “host” is so very different. There’s a lot of characters to get to grips with and it makes it much easier when they have their own personalities!
Stuart: Having Aiden grapple with his hosts personalities and use their qualities (or lack of) to his advantage was really good. The plague doctor guess is still a work in progress. It is quite immersive and I am finding myself trying to keep track of who was where and when. My speculation generator is working overtime. What do you think of Turton’s writing?
Beth: I’m really enjoying it. It’s highly imaginative and the way he must have had to get all these different pieces of the plot to come together is staggering! I’m not getting confused between the characters which is a relief but I am having to remind myself what certain individuals have done! 😂 How about you?
Stuart: It is an ambitious tale for sure! I am enjoying his multi-layered narrative and you’re definitely right about it not getting muddle up. Turton traps you with this impossible situation and I knew I had to finish this novel no matter what from the very beginning. I like the fluidity of the story, anything can change and Aiden’s hosts are beginning to overlap in new and interesting ways. Can’t wait to delve in deeper!
Beth: Me neither. Do you think Anna can be trusted? 🤔
Stuart: I’m not sure! There are so many versions of each character at various points in the story. I do know that the footman will stop at nothing to bring the others to their end. Ready to carry on?
Beth: Absolutely! I might be a bit slow for the next couple of days as work is a bit mad but looking forward to it. P350 right?
Stuart: Yeah no problem. Hope work goes okay!
Stuart: He has done this loop thousands of times!
Stuart: Ready 😁. Another perfectly timed break!
Beth: Oh my God I’ve just started reading. P245 – “brave rabbit.” 😱 Then the next chapter when he’s warned about the carriage…🤔
Stuart: Oh yeah. It has gotten so much darker!
Beth: It sure has. P316 “Every man is in a cage of his own making.” (The Plague Doctor) and the suggestion Aiden is being lost in the personalities of his hosts? 😳
Stuart: I think he might have done this to himself as some sort of penance. He has chosen to be there but why?
Beth: Oooh that’s interesting! You’ve made me think now. P331-332 oh my god!! 😳
Stuart: Oh yeah, the clock is ticking…
Beth: Hooray! I’m at p350, you’re right that was the perfect place to stop. Wow. I have such a mixture of feelings right now. I’m really confused, excited, intrigued, bewildered?? 😂
Stuart: I feel like making a wall chart with all the players criss-crossing and events displayed. I feel close to a solution then I forget another important part 🤣
Stuart: It is very paradoxical and nuanced at the same time. One moment Aiden is chatting and the next second he is gunning for his life. I can’t stop trying to guess who it was. My head hurts 🤕
Beth: Ahh mine too 🤕 😂 I don’t think you can call it at all. I have no clue what’s going to happen! And because it jumps backward and forward in time sometimes it’s so easy to lose the thread! This footman is really creeping me out though, how about you? 😕
Stuart: I just don’t know how he fits into the scheme. Is he there for sport? Does he have a bigger goal? How does he know more than everyone else? I’m getting dizzy again!
Beth: We really don’t know much about him. He’s so mysterious. All we know is that he wants to kill off all the hosts. It’s like they’ve both got the same goal – to stop the loop and it’s first one to the finish line?
Stuart: There are so many little lines of text that throw us off course. Turton is a pro at getting us to trust no one!
Beth: Haha that’s very true! We don’t even know who our main character really is, that could come as a surprise if we find out later? 🤔
Stuart: Possibly! Time to continue?
Beth: Let’s go to the end!! 👊🏻💪🏻👍🏻👌🏻🤘🏻
Beth: What is going ON?! P429 😅🤷🏼♀️😂
Stuart: I know. Many different hands at play. I love seeing all the earlier moments explained. Very satisfying!
Beth: Finished!! 😅😳
Beth: Oh my goodness what did you THINK? Were you expecting that?!
Stuart: I was amazed by the Anna situation/ending. What a scenario! The Evelyn Hardcastle side of things… I am on the fence. How about you?
Beth: It took me a little while to get my head round it if I’m perfectly honest. It was so unexpected that I found myself re-reading entire passages twice or three times just to make sure I understood exactly what Turton had done. 🤔
Stuart: The connection between Anna and Aiden was superb. The best kind of backstory! I couldn’t get enough. I know what you mean though. Evelyn’s was a bit of a tougher conclusion. I still have questions… But what a book overall! Turton deserves the praise. Maintaining all those threads in a meaningful and whole narrative without totally losing his own mind is a success in itself!
Beth: Absolutely. So beautifully intricate I can’t even imagine how he pulled it all together. I feel like it’s the kind of book you need to read again just to appreciate all the threads that he wove and the incredibly convoluted plot?
Stuart: I think that is what makes this book so appealing is its superbly weaved mystery and the fact that Turton’s delivery is both controlled yet explosive at the same time. I would read it again just for those ‘ahhhhhh!’ moments 😅
Beth: I’ll certainly be reading anything Turton puts out in the future! Who do you think was the most interesting host? 🤔
Stuart: I’m going to say Derby but only because, not only was he the turning point for the whole story, he was a nasty piece of work that Aiden had to keep under control. You?
Beth: I think Rashton, the policeman? I really enjoyed his detective work and thought things really started coming together when Aiden was in his body.
Stuart: That is true, plus he was an unknown player right up until the last act. I did love those moments where actions from the earlier chapters get explained or come into play. It was very satisfying!
Beth: Yes! It’s why I wonder if a second reading would be even more valuable to cement the timeline of events even more? 🤔
Stuart: I am enjoying going back through it in my mind and trying to make new connections. Seven Deaths was a book that really tested my intuition. I have a bit of a book hangover now…
Beth: Me too haha 😂
Yet another brilliant buddy read with Beth. I am lucky to have such a great reading partner and we had a lot of fun with Seven Deaths. I imagine we will team up again for The Toll (Arc of The Scythe #3) by Neil Shusterman next but maybe we will be inspired to pick something else up before that. Shusterman has just put a new novel out with his son so I might look into that. Thanks for checking out this chat and review. I hope you enjoy/ed The Seven Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle as much as we did.
About Stuart Turton
STUART TURTON is a freelance journalist who lives in West London with his wife. Stuart is not to be trusted-in the nicest possible way. The 7 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is his first novel.