Hello again, dear bookish folks! It’s review day and I’m here with another ARC review! I’m finally catching up to my ARCs, and unless I got approved for other titles, I’ve only one book to read and take care of with a review.
The book, which has been featured in the From Bookshop To Readers of February, is the sequel to an historical fantasy novel that I loved very much, so much that it’s probably one of my favourite 2019 reads!
I even interview the author (with embarrassing typos, sadly).
But… yeah, Sensational didn’t hit as the first novel. I’ll try to explain myself in the review, but it may not be easy.
Author: Jodie Lynn Zdrok
Series: Spectacle #2
Publisher: Tor Teen
The 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris is full of innovations, cultural displays, and inventions. Millions of visitors attend over the course of several months…so no one would notice if a few were missing, right? Maybe—but someone is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the guillotine with a display of their own: beheaded victims in some of the Exposition’s most popular exhibits.
Nathalie Baudin’s ability to see murder scenes should help, but she’s suffering the effects of her magic more than ever before. Fortunately she has other Insightfuls to team up with—if they can be trusted.
Sensational. A book that I was waiting to read with an incredible joy and squealed when I saw the book on Read Now, ready for me, on Netgalley. Too bad it didn’t work out for me.
Yes, I gave three stars as a rating because I still had my fun, the book didn’t make me drop out of it, nothing reading-horrible happened. So… it was okay, but some things really need to be discussed, at least from my point of view.
I ended with a good dose of a sense I call “just why”. And sadly, as much as I hate be negative about female protagonist (they get too much unjustified shits over nothing), I couldn’t help to roll my eyes at Nathalie sometimes. But let’s go with order.
In confront to Spectacle, there are few things that I didn’t perceive to be at the same level in Sensational. I didn’t want something identical but another great impression that’s for sure.
I felt like there was very little at stake. I’m not sure where to put my finger, but maybe here lacked the fact that Nathalie was learning about her powers? Or it wasn’t personal enough? Yes, when things started to unreal, we, as readers, realize how much everything was near to the protagonist but… I wasn’t emotional about it. I didn’t go “oh” or I was shocked. I wasn’t in the first book neither, but I felt the rushing to discover the culprit to be much more intense.
As I write this review, I realize that maybe I’m confronting too much the two books, but… I don’t know, I was waiting for so much but it didn’t happen.
Another example is about the magic. Okay, one side it’s interesting to see how randomly it works from people to people, things that start to happen to Nathalie too and it will leave a big shadow on her family. But we had some interesting characters being inserted in the narration and I felt like a more closure was needed.
I can say that one thing I really appreciated in Sensational is that there are actual consequences that links the two stories. It’s pretty clear if we observe Nathalie. She’s definitely stressed, her powers and their consequences taking a tool on her, she talks much less with her loved one about such things, and she’s still grieving for her losses. It was particularly pleasant to see this, because many series tend to forget that things may drag for more than one novel.
Sensational did a great job in this.
Now, arriving the the main protagonist, I liked Nathalie but, in this book, she really made it difficult for me to don’t roll my eyes. A lot.
It’s clear that negative sensation is getting the best of her through a lot of the story, which isn’t the bad thing. What I found very absurd was the fixation over a character while being with another. Long from me to judge realizing to have done a complicated choice, feelings aren’t linear, but being irrationally irritated (if not angry) at someone having gift from their bothered ones and other manifestation of jealousy…. All of these after two years of something that can be barely qualified as a crush.
In this point, I saw characters as Jules being almost sacrificed. Did we really need him? To see him make bad decision and Nathalie being rightly angry, only to exhibit her massive privilege when he exposed her? I think that losing a great part of the forming romance played against the story. In fact, the relationship is already going on between Nathalie and Jules. I would have found much more compelling to read a romance between those two forming while reading the adventure, bad and good choices too.
In the end, I can only repeat what I wrote at the start: I had my fun but the book didn’t strike me as I hoped. I’m sure Jodie next work will deliver something amazing, but for me this wasn’t the time.