VANILLA & VICE
VANILLA & VICE
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First in a series is tough. Making the jump from journalist to novelist is tricky.
Invisible City is a solidly plotted murder mystery that reads more like a police procedural than a cozy (though our main girl is a journalist not an officer of the peace). While better than many first novels, there's plenty of room for growth. In particular, I felt like the book was a hodge-podge of thinly veiled elements from a number of recent sensational news stories rather than being fully original.
Like the main character, author Julia Dahl has a Jewish mother and a Christian father. While it's always difficult to write about insular communities without a true in, I felt like a lot of Ms. Dahl's personification of the Ultra-Orthodox characters was built on stereotypes.
I'm counting this as an IRL bookclub read because Julia Dahl will be speaking in my community about book #3 in the series (released about a year ago) on Sunday. I read Invisible City because Conviction was checked out of the Library and I wanted to have read something by the author before I went to brunch.
This series is just crazy banana-pants fun. There are so many things in this book that I should hate – the spoiled princess + tattooed bad boy trope, the really unlikely romance under really unlikely circumstances, the horrifying creepy crawly brain-sucking alien thingies – but it all works together so brilliantly, so beautifully, that I want to wax as poetic as AIDAN the purple prose-spouting seed of Skynet. I am sooooooo glad I waited until all three books were out before I started reading this series. If it turns out book three is not the end, I will probably sprain something by shriek-sobbing in glee-despair.