Reviews

Silent in the Grave, by Deanna Raybourn

sabrinamc's review

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dark mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No

2.25

cmarshall86's review

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4.0

I've been meaning to start this series for a long time. When the fifth in the series, The Dark Enquiry, came out in June last year, praise for Lady Julia Grey was flying around everywhere. I did a poor job of resisting temptation and bought the first in the series not long after. Then my mum came to visit and absconded with it so it was a few months before I actually got down to reading it.

When I finally did, I was really looking forward to it. Happily, I did enjoy it, even though it wasn't quite as much as I thought I would. I was in the mood for some good historical fiction and, for the most part, that's what I got. I would have preferred it if that's all I had got. There were one or two supernatural twists that I guess are to set up the rest of the series but that I'm by no means sure fit with this instalment. I'm perfectly happy to hold up my hands and admit that I might be being picky but this book would have worked as well (if not better) without the mysticism.

I suppose it is a testament to how much paranormal/steampunk books I've been reading of late that I kept expecting vampire/automaton to jump out from behind a chaise longue every time the tension ratcheted up. That obviously isn't a criticism of the book but it is a reminder that I could do with indulging in some "pure" historical fiction for a little while!

Sorry, back to the review: Lady Julia Grey was a character I expected to love. For reasons I can't quite place, my feelings were more lukewarm. Along with many other readers, I admired her for her lack of reticence and for delivering more than would usually be expected of women of her era. That said, there were times when she was so gung-ho that she was just thoughtless and I found myself a bit annoyed on occasion. There's having your own opinions and then there's a complete and utter refusal to listen to others' advice or expressions of concern for the welfare of those they care about; treading the fine line between independence and obstinacy is Lady Julia Grey.

Nicholas Brisbane is our Lady's enigmatic private investigator of choice. He's charming in that brusque and mysterious kind of way that is apparently attractive these days. Brisbane and Lady Julia's interaction is sparky and witty. I was a big fan of how their relationship developed and am so glad that Ms Raybourn dodged the obvious and kept it natural. Worried about InstaLove? Don't be. This is one book in which the characters make and sustain proper relationships, without the need to swoon all over the place at the very sight of an appropriate male.

There's also an assortment of eccentric family members and curious household staff to fill up the character quota and I'm hoping to see more of them as the series goes on.

In terms of plot, earlier moan about supernatural aside, there's a lot going for this one. There's the right balance between rousting about the streets of London and mulling over clues and facts so that I was never bored (a curse that blighted me earlier this year with one particular book) and always eager to read more. On more than one occasion, I thought I knew where everything was heading and settled down to watch it unfurl. I was wrong every time. That is to say, whatever else it may or may not be, this book certainly isn't predictable. There's plenty going on, which means plenty of red herrings. There's a rapid unveiling of a whole host of secrets (some more risqué than others) in the final third of the book which lifts the pace and delivers a pretty satisfying conclusion.

So not all of it was perfect but I enjoyed it and I guess that's the main thing.

Overall: A solid start to a series that I know I'll read more of. I would recommend it to fans of historical fiction but would hesitate before handing it over to more die-hard mystery fans. Worth your time if you happen across a copy, certainly!

cozyuptocrime's review

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3.0

Overall, I enjoyed this book, largely because of the premise and setting, and I always enjoy Deanna Raybourn's writing style. Admittedly, the plot moved a bit slowly and I figured out who the murderer was way before Lady Julia (or Brisbane, who didn't seem to do much detective work). I guess this is more a series to read to get to know the characters than for the mystery aspect, but it still made it hard to keep reading when I was just waiting for Julia to figure it out already!! I also agree with other reviewers that there was just too much going on and some reveals weren't very believable.

I'll probably read a few more in the series to see how Julia and Brisbane develop as characters, but I may need to take a Victorian historical mystery break for awhile before then!

relliem08's review

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2.0

#PopsugarReadingChallenge2019
Prompt - a book recommended by a celebrity you admire: The incomparable Felicia Day (actress, author, all around good egg) rated this 5 stars in her active Goodreads library. ...and I won't hold it against her.

Once upon a time, Modern Millie travelled back in time and did a bunch of things that were not possible for women during the Victorian era. Along the way, she met an android disguised as a human that could slice and dice and speak every language. He also had a superpower: to annoy this particular reader to the point of pain. Literal pain, mind you. I rolled my eyes so hard and often that I gave myself a headache.

Together, they set out to alternately annoy and bore the shit out of me, as it was also her superpower; and solve a murder that I, myself, solved before 40% of the book had been read.

Unfortunately, they survived to annoy and angst me into oblivion because there are at least 8 other books in the series.

And with this, I have completed my Popsugar Reading Challenge of 2019. Yay, me!

joand's review

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dark mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? N/A
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

bethandhertea's review

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3.0

I adored the first Veronica Speedwell book so much that I decided to give her first book a try! I listening to it on audio and while it's not her best work (at least of the two I've read so far), it's a solid beginning. It definitely feels like both a first novel, and largely different from the Veronica Speedwell series! This is a pretty slow paced mystery, long and full of details and characters so it won't be to everyone's taste. It reminds me a lot in pace of Georgette Heyer! Also reminiscent of Georgette Heyer - the utter lack of description of any kissing scenes. I'm a little sad about that part. :P

I liked Lady Julia and her journey of self discovery! She was learning who she was without her husband, and who she wanted to be. I also appreciated how she was slowly having her eyes opened to the lives of the people around her! It was a pleasure to see her grow up a bit, and I really loved how open and kind her and her family were to everyone.

Now, I really like Brisbane, mostly. I did not really like his attitude, especially in the beginning, however his growly nature grew on me near the end. I will say though, that he certainly is a very perfect person. He speaks several languages, has wealth, has royal connections, has a secret past, knows about poisons, fights really well, plays a musical instrument perfectly - basically nothing in the book came up that he was bad at or couldn't do. That got a bit out of hand, but since it's her first novel I have great faith that the rest of the series will be a bit better. The biggest thing that bugged me about the book, and if I am very lucky will be unmentioned later on, was the whole "Brisbane has the second sight!" thing. Honestly when the fact that he has headaches because he doesn't want to use his psychic powers came up I rolled my eyes so hard and I almost gave up on the book entirely. I love fantasy and sci-fi, but I don't like those elements cropping up in an otherwise normal setting, unless it's expected. This is why Nora Roberts and I have never gotten along! Thankfully it wasn't a big deal in this book - but really. Can we just never mention it again?

I did love how their relationship was developing, but I was sad at where the book left off. Obviously there are 4 more novels to get through - I will be starting the second one shortly!

I did guess the bad guy, though not the motivation behind it! I actually thought they were brothers for the entire book, so I never would have thought it was because they were lovers. Were they related? Maybe they were cousins or something.... .

kikikeane's review

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medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.0

elles's review

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4.0

I very much enjoyed this book and found it hard to put down at some points. The mystery aspect was okay, definitely not the best I've read. I actually figured out who did it before Julia, and I'm generally pretty clueless about that kind of stuff. I definitely plan on reading the sequel as soon as I can get my hands on it!

eturnquist's review

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adventurous mysterious medium-paced

3.25

indywonder's review

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5.0

This was a great read. I loved the fallible main character. Sometimes she was stupid but I could see why, her sheltered life, her innocence. It was rather painful to have the 'whiteness' of her life removed one dirty layer at a time however, I enjoyed the book immensely. Brisbane was a bit too good to be believable but I love me a too good to be true hero so it did not bother me too much. I would definitely recommend. Planning on hitting the library tomorrow for the second book.