Note: This is a late review from my 2010 book log, posting as I’m trying to get caught up. The 2011 book log will commence once the 2010 reviews are up to date!
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
There is a distinct level of irony in reading a book about a girl whose profession is “restorer of old books” in ebook form. And in some ways, the dichotomy of this–of reading a book about an old profession via very modern means–carried over into my reaction to the plot. Not entirely positively, either.
Our heroine, Brooklyn Wainwright, inadvertantly stumbles across the murder of her mentor, and as a result is drafted in his stead to restore a rare and supposedly cursed copy of Faust as the showpiece of a family collection. But she’s also suspected of both murder and theft, and repeatedly runs afoul of a dour security agent hired to investigate the goings-on.
Toss in the obligatory Colorful Family, and you’ve got decent makings for a fluffy but entertaining cozy mystery. Problem for me was, Brooklyn for me as a heroine oftentimes fell kind of flat. My main beef with her was the repeated scenes of snark between her and her nemesis, Minka LaBoeuf; most of the snark was unfortunately merely petty rather than actively witty, and the situation wasn’t helped much by Minka not serving a plot function above and beyond “being there for Brooklyn to be snarky at”. She’s regularly described in spitefully unflattering terms, up to and including digs at her weight. This wasn’t cool, and rather than accomplishing the goal of having me feel snarky to her because Brooklyn was, it instead made me feel sorry at Minka and annoyed that narrative space was being wasted having Brooklyn pettily snark at her.
This really though was my only real problem with the book. Brooklyn does have an entertaining family, and once Dour British Security Guy actually unwinds enough to start being a real character, he’s fun too. The latter third of the book is the best, even given a brief and unnecessary diversion into “cozy paranormal” territory rather than just “cozy”. Two and a half stars, though for Goodreads review purposes I’ll go ahead and round up to three.