From the moment I read the first 2 to 3 pages of "ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL," I knew this would be a novel I wanted to see through to the finish. I was seduced by the writing, which flows seamlessly and is a joy to read.
Each chapter in "ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL" is told from the vantage point of the main characters: Sophie Whitehouse; James Whitehouse (her husband), an ex-Etonian and Oxfordian (both he and Sophie had met at Oxford, where they were students during the early 1990s), who was "to the manor born" and as an MP (Member of Parliament) and junior government minister is clearly poised for greater things. Besides, he and the Prime Minister - Tom Southern - are both blue bloods and boon companions from Eton and Oxford days. Both are imbued with an overweening sense of entitlement and privilege that gives them the sense that they can get away with just about anything. Besides, James is supremely self-confident, has an unerring knack for ingratiating himself with just about anybody, and has a handsomeness that even in middle age continues to draw women into his orbit. Then there is the barrister Kate Woodcroft, QC (Queen's Counsel), who has been appointed to prosecute James when he is accused of rape by a young woman who had worked for him as a researcher.
A large portion of the novel is taken up with the trial. It is a high-profile trial which forces Sophie (who had given up her career upon marrying James and had contented herself with being the ideal political wife and mother of their 2 young children) to reassess both her marriage and her understanding of her husband, as well as her loyalty to him. Kate, too, is deeply impacted by the trial, which she is determined to win. Old ghosts from Kate's past are resurrected. And there are links between the present-day and Oxford from the 1990s that reveal interesting and unexpected connections among the main characters.
Surprises and twists abound in "ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL" that will keep the reader wanting to know more. This is a novel that won't be soon forgotten by anyone who reads it. It is that GOOD.
This is what I imagine Justyce, the MC, would do if asked to hold a sign about race early on.
There has been a stream of books about race and police brutality in the last few years. One could read nothing but books on the topic and still not keep up with the books available. What a great problem to have: too many books on important topics. Now if only these books were useless because the problem had been solved.
If one can "enjoy" a book like this, then I enjoyed Nic Stone's telling of tragedy story more than I've enjoyed almost any other. There are obvious comparisons both in other recent books but also to real cases in real America. Nic Stone writes for the young reader in a simple way that never is dumbed down or too basic. She has all the nuances and difficulties of her subject matter under command as she writes the story of Justyce and his friend Manny, two black kids at a liberal, elite school and the ways they handle casual, subtle, daily racialization, microaggressions, as well as the more obvious and deadly type.
The POV shifts between third person storytelling to Justyce's interior life to second-person letters/journaling to "Dear Martin" (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) Nic Stone makes excellent use of the "safe place" classroom, where the white students do all the talking on race while the black students sit uncomfortably or angrily by, but certainly don't feel "safe" on the topic of race, despite having a black teacher. There is confusion by the bundle for our protagonist, in the way his friends behave, the racial issues involved in dating, the always-difficult world of being a teenager. He takes refuge in writing honest letters to MLK, and it's here that he feels safe enough to say what he thinks. But can even Dr. King help Justyce when the world caves in?
This is, ultimately, an uplifting story with characters who grow in the face of extreme circumstances and stereotypes that threaten to keep them stuck. Well worth anyone's time.
If anyone is familiar with the Bookburners serial then you know that it's remarkably similar to The Invisible Library series. I really like the Bookburners serial so I was excited to come across something else comparable.
I enjoyed The Invisible Library too and really can't believe I waited so long to read it, but one thing I thought could have been better was the world building. It just wasn't as defined as I would have liked it, and I'm referring more so to the Chaos concept, the alternate realities, the Library Language even some of the characters and their abilities were underdeveloped.
I realize it's a pretty complex system but there were a couple of times I wondered if the author even knew where she was trying to go with it. Maybe those loose ends are tied up in the next book but, I personally like for the foundation to be laid out and nicely detailed, right from the start. It drives me nuts when authors use future installments to fill in gaps and missing pieces.
I am intrigued by the Library though and I really like Kai, Irene and Vale so I'm definitely going to continue the series with hopes that the many underlying layers of the Library develop into something a little more cohesive.
I normally have to read a series in order because it goes completely against my nature to skip around. After reading Book 1 though, I was on the fence on whether or not to continue the series because, even though I enjoyed the mystery itself, the dialogue and British narrative was quite choppy and all over the place so I had a hard time following a long in certain parts.
I owe Themis-Athena's Garden of Books a huge thank you for recommending that I skip ahead to Book 6, Artists in Crime. I followed Themis's advice and I'm really glad I did because I enjoyed this story immensely. The writing is so much more polished in this book. The British narrative is more refined and easier to follow, the plot was well-developed and the mystery was complex enough that I didn't guess the murderer until it was pretty much handed to me on a silver platter. Overall you can just tell that the author's skill has evolved since her debut.
There are a whopping 32 books in this series so I can't say if I will go back and read books 2-5 anytime I soon but I definitely plan to continue reading the series from book 7.