Review: The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by @stu_turton @BloomsburyRaven


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‘Somebody’s going to be murdered at the ball tonight. It won’t appear to be a murder and so the murderer won’t be caught. Rectify that injustice and I’ll show you the way out.’ 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…

Okay, so how do I even review this book? The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle was probably my most anticipated read this year. The moment I came across that blurb, I knew I needed to read this book. I’m a big fan of the whole Groundhog Day premise and I already talked about my love for Before I Fall on the blog. Happy Death Day was also one of my favorite films last year, so Seven Deaths was high on my list. And it was a murder mystery! What more could I ask for?

I admit it, as much as I ended up loving this book, my relationship with Seven Deaths didn’t start off that well. I don’t know if anyone else had the same issue with the Netgalley format, but my ebook file was a mess. Random 0s and 1s all over the pages, no capital letters, paragraph breaks that made no sense… it was hard to follow. And if you take into account that the actual plot isn’t the easiest to understand, you can imagine my confusion. I almost gave up before I even reached 10%. But. The idea was awesome and it seemed like such a cool story, so didn’t it deserve a bit of an effort? Yes. So I kept on reading…

At first, I remember thinking: what is this even about? For the first 20%, I had no idea where the story was going. I didn’t understand anything, there were too many characters and the Agatha Christie character guide would’ve been useful if I had been reading the hardback or paperback version (no, of course my format didn’t allow me to go back to the beginning!). And who the hell was Anna? Wasn’t this book about Evelyn? Who are these creepy evil characters? But you know that moment when you realize you’re actually enjoying a weird book? I knew I was beginning to like this novel… And for sure I wanted to know what was going on!

And the more I read, the more I loved it. I couldn’t stop. No, I didn’t understand half of what was going on, but I no longer cared. I loved how this book messed with my mind. It’s my favorite feeling in the world. And I had to continue reading. It wasn’t only about the high-concept plot and the promise of a mind-blowing puzzle. I also really liked the main character, Aiden Bishop, and I was rooting for him. I wanted him to escape Blackheath. But he was so stubborn! Oh, how he made me suffer…

I deeply admire Stuart Turton’s work here. He has created such a complex and unique novel, I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like Seven Deaths. I’m sure no book has ever made me feel like this one. It’s not an easy read and it’s definitely not for everyone, but I’ve never been happier that I decided to keep on reading. This was very different from all the other Groundhog Day stories I’ve read or watched. Stuart Turton took it one step further. And I’m glad.

By the time I reached the conclusion, I felt like I was watching an episode of Black Mirror. I had read that some people were disappointed with the ending, but I enjoyed the case resolution (so Agatha Christie!!!) and I really loved the world created by the author and the way he answered all the questions about Blackheath.

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a truly original and mind-blowing novel that could easily become a cult classic.

Netgalley, Bloomsbury, 2018

24 thoughts on “Review: The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by @stu_turton @BloomsburyRaven

  1. Susie | Novel Visits says:

    A possible cult classic sounds very intriguing. Is this one movie material?

    I hate it when an ARC is poorly formatted. I get it when it’s far, far in advance of publication, but when you get a file within a month or two, it seems like it should be fairly clean.


  2. juliapalooza says:

    Great review! Thought this book was amazing.
    Alao, watched Happy Death Day last weekend and LOVED it.
    (I had the same issue with the ARC but – in desperation, before giving up on it completely – I tried re-downloading it from NetGalley and it worked! No random 1s and 0s, proper navigation and got the map at the beginning!)


  3. Meggy | Chocolate'n'Waffles says:

    “how do I even review this book?” My question after I finish every book :p I love that you stuck with the book even though the beginning was quite heavy and confusing! I love it even more knowing you ended up loving it! It’s a nice reward and surprise!


  4. Inge | The Belgian Reviewer says:

    I kind of love it when there are so many questions bubbling up when reading a novel but it feels quite scary that you’re lost in the beginning. It’s good to know though that when the time comes (hopefully) I just have to push through. My Netgalley request (the second one) has been pending for months and still nothing.


  5. Renee (Itsbooktalk) says:

    I can’t remember the last time I heard you describe a book as mind blowing!! Your entire review has me so intrigued I might bump up my timeframe on reading this…it’s not being published in the US until Sept so I kind of forgot about it but you know I can’t pass up descriptions like complex, original, and high concept plot! So many of my favorite buzzwords in your awesome review:)


  6. Diana says:

    So when I first read the title of this book, I thought its a sequel to the other one that you reviewed about Evelyn and her husbands.I had to check the names again and that is when I noticed the other one was Hugo.

    Anyway, I am glad that you ended up enjoying this one despite the confusing format. Great review!


  7. Amanda @Cover2CoverMom says:

    Such a shame that the NetGalley ebook format was so messed up! I’ve had that happen a few times and it really messes with the reading flow!

    I’ve actually read a few reviews where people had a hard time wrapping their mind around what was going on in the story, BUT like you they ended up LOVING this book! It sounds like such a unique and fresh take on the murder-mystery genre!


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