Evocative. Atmospheric. Adventure.
I’ve had this book on my shelf since Christmas last year.
It wasn’t out of reluctance that it stayed there for so long. No, no. It was more waiting for the right time.
Sometimes you know you’re going to love a book, but the timing has to be right. Or is that just me?
But the stars aligned and it rained toads and some other stuff that told me the time was now.
This is the second (and last) book in the series. The first book reduced me to a gibbering idiot. Seriously, you can (try to) read my review of it here. I didn’t have one bad thing to say about it.
And guess what? This one totally smashed it too.
Tucholke has a writing style that is classic and yet fresh. There’s something safe and yet dangerous about it, and there are even more poetic elements to it that I think are just perfection. The way the narrator’s thoughts permeate and personality the very structure of a sentence had me clapping in delight.
So let’s talk about the story- I enjoyed how it progressed. Book one is fairly stationary, set in the same town with the house, Citizen Kane, acting as the epicenter. Book two however is a trip. A real trip, as in ‘get in the car we’re going on a ROAD TRIP!’
Oh yes. I had been wondering how the cover was supposed to relate to the contents because Echo is next to the sea… not in the mountains.
But Violet and Neely et al. hit the road, following any leads that might help them find River, or the other evil brother that shall not be named. EVIL! Even if those leads are from a late-night indie radio show, which is sketchy at best.
There’s that supernatural or maybe more ‘paranormal’ element that glows throughout. (Pun most definitely intended) But I love that it’s never complete outrageous. I can readily believe it. I want to believe it, and I want to feel it too.
The relationships develop in interesting and realistic ways. And this is true for the new characters that come along for the journey too. I did find myself feeling slightly torn between Neely and River. It’s clear that River is much changed, but he needs Violet in a different capacity in this book and the way it all simmered under the surface with her and Neely had me wishing and hoping… But I didn’t want poor River to get left out in the cold! Literally!!
The excerpts from Vi’s grandmother, Freddie, were really well placed. I’m a hard sell when it comes to flashbacks and inserts, but these aren’t too long and they serve real purpose. And who knew Freddie had such an extraordinary tale to tell? It was interesting to learn how Vi’s ancestry wove into the present day situation.
“Freddie used to say that Life could be safe, or it could be interesting, but it couldn’t be both.”
One thing; I’ve changed. I read my review of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea and I found that I didn’t agree with past self! I talk about the references to classic literature and how I wasn’t sure it added much to the narrative. I was wrong. Hands up! I was so wrong. It’s all those smaller details that cement Violet’s character, as well as those with whom she interacts with. I can appreciate now how those additions make a brighter and more compelling bigger picture. My past self sucked.
Back to the story: The sense of mystery and adventure and glorious moody gothic was delicious and addictive. There is something so special about these two books. I loved them, and I felt that the end left plenty of potential for another book, but I can also see how it has come to a natural end. I still wonder what happened next though, but isn’t that just life? What’s next?
There’s not much I can truly grumble about. I did feel like the big reveal came too fast. But that could just be me wishing it would never ever end.
If you were a fan of the first book then do not hesitate to read this fantastic finale. Tucholke is a boss.
Concept – 5/5
Plot – 5/5
Ending or Twist – 4/5
Overall – 5/5