Invisible Things Jenny Davidson
I loooooooooooooooooooooooved The Explosionist. As soon as I finished, I wanted more. I loved the alternate-history world that Davidson had built. I loved the mystery and the tension. IRLYNS creeped the hell out of me.
I had been waiting FOREVER for the sequel. I was so excited when my hold came in!
Sadly... it fell short. Really, really short.
I've been sitting on this review for awhile, to see if I could temper it a bit. How many of my problems are the actual fault of the book and how many are just "it's not the book I wanted?"
Sadly, I've come to realize that my major issue with the book had nothing to do with my expectations.
Mikael and Sophie have successfully made it to Denmark. War still looms and there are shocking developments in Sophie's back story (the explosion that killed her parents wasn't an accident! Aunt Tabitha has scandalous secrets!) It starts with a terrorist attack on Niels Bohr's birthday party. We then jump back a few months to Mikael and Sophie's life living at the Institute for Theoretical Physics. We know the attack is coming and that Sophie and Mikael will be there. Plus there's a beautiful femme fatale Russian Weapons Dealer that might be masterminding the whole thing...
It overall just felt really flat.
This should have been just as gripping and tension filled as the first. There are certainly enough exciting plot points and developments but it just never got to the same level as the first book. Also, certain things that I loved about the first book get dropped. The whole spiritualist movement is only mentioned occasionally, almost in a "oh yeah, we should talk about that because it was so big in the last book" sort of way. But it was such a huge part of the world Davidson built in the first book and isn't a part of the world in this book at all. Also, I missed the creepy IRLYNS subplot. I know that they couldn't do a lot about it because Sophie was no longer in Scotland but... it just gets the occasional mention because, well, it's not like you could completely ignore what was going on there.
There are a few good things-- I did love how science-y this one is. I liked the conversations between the physicists. I also liked the food. Sophie sure does love cake, and I sure do love reading about it. (Cut me some slack, I'm almost 7 months pregnant. There is nothing in the world more important than cake.)
BUT BUT BUT the last 100 pages turn the whole thing into a retelling of The Snow Queen (although in doing some poking around to see if there will be a sequel, I discovered that The Snow Queen was Davidson's original title.) But, I found the shift to fairy tale retelling jarring and odd, especially if you couple the story of this book with the first book. (And you know how much I love a fairy tale retelling!)
And then the end, OMG WHAT?! (Spoiler filled rant here) It ends at a weird spot with a complete shift in character and tone and left most of the plot just dangling and unresolved.
I loved The Explosionist so much and there is still so much unresolved that I really hope there's another book, but this book just went in a weird direction that I don't understand. It actually angered me.
So, I really hope there is another book, one that's closer to The Explosionist than this. I loved that first book so much that I'm still very interested in what happens next even though this one just left me colder than the creepy ice palace.
Book Provided by... my local library
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