Year of publication: 2018
Publisher: Raven Books
Strong Point: The book is brilliant regarding its complex structure. The many characters and their own idiosyncrasies as well as their link to one another and the story itself make the novel a great puzzle with many, many pieces which all fit perfectly to one another.
Weak Point: Sincerely, I have not found any weak points in this book. Perhaps there are a couple of facts that are a little bit hard to believe, but nothing that we cannot “forgive” the author for, taking into consideration the vast amount of good virtues the book has.
Books on Tour Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5)
Goodreads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3.90/5)
WHAT IT SAYS IN THE BLURB
At a party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed – again.
She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. The only way to break this cycle is to identify Evelyn’s killer. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is desperate to stop him ever escaping Blackheath…
REVIEW OF “THE SEVEN DEATHS OF EVELYN HARDCASTLE”
Imagine you have to re-live numerous times the last day of your life. Imagine that you have to suffer day after day the scary moment of your death, specifically of someone murdering you.
This is what Evelyn Hardcastle has been experiencing for God knows how long. However, for her, every day is a “fresh” start. She does not know about the fact that someone will kill her day after day for years. Because every time she wakes up, she forgets everything.
Now imagine that you wake up in a body which is not yours. Inside your head you can hear the voice and thoughts of this other “person” mixed with your own thoughts and feelings.
Now multiply this by eight. Eight different bodies and eight different personalities. Some of these people are kind and even amiable but others are pure devils. Some of these people are young and agile, others are old and with physical problems. Even one of them spends almost the entire time he appears in the book lying in bed, almost dead.
Imagine you are somehow “trapped” in a house called Blackheath, which is not your own. And you don’t really know what is going one here, why you are not “You”, and why you are there.
This is the starting point of “The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle”. This is the situation in which Aiden Bishop finds himself when he wakes up in the body of Sebastian Bell; but he does not remember even his name. Furthermore he does not have any memories of his past. He just remembers a name: Anna.
From now on he must learn (sometimes the hard way!) what he has to do to leave Blackheath, what is his “purpose”. He must learn the “rules of the game”, his “adversaries” and the many dangers he will encounter in the way.
Meanwhile, he will have the help of different people, and others who will simply try to kill him.
Aiden will also experience a change within himself. He will learn to forgive, and forget, and that love and friendship can change your way of looking at things.
Furthermore, Aiden realised that by hating people and seeking revenge, you take the risk of turning into the same person you are hating and against whom you want to get revenge.
As he himself said it, “Tomorrow can be (…) a chance (…) to be better than I am today. Every day after this one is a gift. I just have to keep walking until I get there”.
THE STRUCTURE AND THE LANGUAGE
The aspect which has surprised me the most of “The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle” is its structure, like a giant puzzle whose pieces link perfectly with one another.
Some people complain that it is quite complicated to follow, as the different “pieces” ( meaning the different characters) are coming back and forth during the story. In my own experience while reading the book, I did not have that problem. In every single moment you know which body Adrien is in presently. Additionally, Turton defines every character very well, with its own unique characteristics and idiosyncrasies, so that they are easily identifiable.
As for Turton’s writing style, I cannot more than praise it. Sentences are beautifully written, with much lyricism and good taste. It did not sound cheap, as lately many crime or mystery novels do.
FINAL THOUGHTS OF “THE SEVEN DEATHS OF EVELYN HARDCASTLE”
“The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle” is a page-turner. You just cannot stop reading it. I just wanted to know who the killer was, and especially why Aiden was there, having that awful experience.
I wanted to know who Anna is, who “The Plague Doctor” is, what is going on with Evelyn and her family…everything!
In addition, the ending is quite good. It does not disappoint. There are no lose ends (well, maybe just a small one, but I cannot talk about it without a spoiler).
One last word: I really, deeply enjoyed the internal struggle that Aiden experiences during the entire book; how he had to fight against evil thoughts and actions which were part of some of the hosts’ personality.
Also, how he really liked other, more beneficial traits of his hosts, like their intelligence or their kindness; and how in the end these good qualities make Aiden a better version of himself.