Thursday, October 30, 2014

Suspicion by Alexandra Monir ARC Review (SPOILER ALERT)


Suspicion by Alexandra Monir
ebook, 368 pages (according to Goodreads)
Published by Delacorte Press,
an imprint of Random House Children's Books
Expected Publication Date: Decemeber 9, 2014
Buy it: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository |
Rating: 2/5 Stars


Synopsis: Take The Princess Diaries and add magic, murder and mystery, and you've got SUSPICION. A delightful read!"—Amy Plum, author of the of the international bestselling Die For Me series

"If Alfred Hitchcock had directed Downton Abbey, the result would have been this book. Alexandra Monir takes us on a gripping, nonstop thrill ride with just the right amount of supernatural and an ending that you definitely won't suspect. I devoured it in one sitting."—Jessica Brody, bestselling author of the Unremembered trilogy

Mysterious. Magnificent. Creepy. Welcome to Rockford Manor.

"There's something hidden in the Maze." Seventeen-year-old Imogen has never forgotten the last words her father said to her seven years ago, before the blazing fire that consumed him, her mother, and the gardens of her family's English country manor.

Haunted by her parents' deaths, Imogen moves to New York City with her new guardians. But when a letter arrives with the news of her cousin's untimely death, revealing that Imogen is now the only heir left to run the estate, she returns to England and warily accepts her role as duchess.

All is not as it seems at Rockford, and Imogen quickly learns that dark secrets lurk behind the mansion's aristocratic exterior, hinting that the spate of deaths in her family were no accident. And at the center of the mystery is Imogen herself--and Sebastian, the childhood friend she has secretly loved for years. Just what has Imogen walked into?

Combining a fresh twist on the classic REBECCA with a spine-tingling mystery and powerful romance, SUSPICION is an action-packed thrill ride. 

Thank you Netgalley and Delacorte Press for my ebook copy of this book. 

What to say about this book--it has left me feeling befuddled. I wanted to like this book and I would have if it was it was just solely a murder mystery but alas, it wasn't. Its' review from Amy Plum has it right about one thing, it's definitely a Princess Diaries story that's combined with The Parent Trap mixed with some magical nonsense thrown in there for good measure. I'd have to say that Alfred Hitchcock (Jessica Brody's review) would have focused more on the murder mystery aspects of this book (which it should have) and not add in the magical parts that are so under-detailed that it seemed more like an afterthought the author added in to give the book a little extra umpf, but it doesn't work.  I can't say that the story itself was bad. There was some definite potential. It held my attention all the way through, it had a nice pace, and it wasn't badly written. It definitely failed in its execution. The storyline is a bit choppy and the instant love made me want to gag. Although there are some interesting twists it ultimately has a lot of plot elements that were overdone and unnecessary.

Strengths/Likes:

1) I really liked the murder/mystery aspect of this book. All of the perplexing deaths of Imogen's family and the intrigue about how it happened and what's hidden in the Shadow Maze. That's what kept me involved in the book when I had problems with all of the other plot elements. If the author had just focused on this I could see myself really liking it.

2) The book kept up a good pace with all of its twists and turns. Even though I had problems with it, I found myself pulled into the story and reading any time I had a spare minute.

Weaknesses/Dislikes (HUGE SPOILERS):

1) Can someone explain to me how two, not identical girls, are able to switch places and everyone who knew them since birth could not tell the difference? Somehow, I highly doubt that absolutely no one wouldn't notice any difference. Perhaps in their facial features or body types? Even if I allow the fact that Lucia's house-staff couldn't say anything about her switching places with her maid's daughter, what about her childhood friends? My older sister and I are only a year apart, we have the same hair color and eyes which according to the logic of this book we could easily switch places if we just went to boarding school for a little while right before we hit puberty and no one would notice. Seeing the ridiculousness yet?

2) I could not get into the couple at all. For starters, Sebastian (lover boy) was originally with Lucia (who was actually the maid but you know being without your girlfriend for a few months it's easy to confuse her with someone completely different), but apparently never loved her. He was forced into dating her due to family pressure and even though his own little brother Theo was seeing said girlfriend (which he knew about), he couldn't bring that out in the open or make any attempt to contact his "long lost childhood love." If someone had told me this about their significant other, I'd say he/she was just making excuses so they could have an affair with them.

3) The fantastical parts in this book were really lost on me. As I mentioned it seemed like something the author through in there to bring in a wider audience. First of all, Imogen is a thing called an Elemental which apparently means she can control all of the Earth's elements. That's pretty amazing, but what did Imogen get out of that? A surging pain that ran through her body any time she touched the earth making flowers pop out of the ground instantly, water spurting out of her hands like a hose, and being able to do the same thing any person with a match could do. If this was going to be a fantasy book there should have been more details about these powers, and how she learns how to use them, etc. Oh and wait, she can only use these powers when she's at home. Makes sense.

4) At the end of the book it's not clear if Imogen remains the Duchess of Rockford. I have reread the passage over a few times and asked a friend about it and neither of us could come out with a clear answer. Which makes the ending too ambiguous. Maybe this was intentional so the author can continue the story in another book? Who knows. Let me know what you guys think, can you figure it out? Here's the passage:

"Despite everything that's happened here, this is where I belong. I wouldn't hesitate to throw away the title, the fortune, or the notoriety--after seeing what the allure of high society did to the Mulgraves, I don't want that anymore. I'm not sure I ever wanted it. But it's the land that I belong to, the very earth that was here long before the Manor was built."

The true heir has returned, so, technically Imogen could have given up the title. But here it seems like she's not giving it up because she wants to live there still? I don't know. 

5) I'm sorry, but the maid did it? Isn't that the old adage of old murder stories. It kind of felt like I was reading the ending to a Scooby Doo episode, I was just missing "if it wasn't for you meddling kids..."

Favorite Quotes/Moments:

1) "Watching him, I can't wishing he weren't so ridiculously good-looking. If only he'd grow a crazy unibrow, or do something to take the edge off my attraction."

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