Rating: 3.75 Stars
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton was not an easy book to read for me. I think I have aged a lot since reading The Time Traveller’s Wife, because the concept of time travel and changing bodies kept confusing me! I had to turn back every time and look for a particular character or incident in order to keep things straight in my head. In the end, I just decided to let things be, and maybe I would be able to make sense of it all in the final pages.
The book starts off with a man waking up in the forest, calling for a woman he’s sure has been murdered. He has no recollection of who he is or what he is doing in that particular place. When he reaches the house he is staying in, Blackheath, he is told that his name is Sebastian Bell. Yet he has no memories at all except the name “Anna” who he believes dead.
Slowly, it is revealed that this person is not the real Dr. Bell, but a man named Aiden Bishop in the body of Sebastian Bell. He has been burdened with the task of solving the mystery surrounding the death of Evelyn Hardcastle in the middle of a party. Until he can name the real killer, the day will keep on repeating, ending with the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle.
The twist in the tale comes when Aiden realizes that he will be waking up as a different person each time. He has eight days and eight hosts to work out the solution, before the loop is reset and he has to start again with no memory of any of the previous tries. In addition to this, he also has some rivals who are working towards the same end; whoever succeeds first will be able to walk out of Blackheath, leaving the loop to play on for the rest of the contestants’ lives.
The concept and the story are well crafted, with everything having a definite purpose and place in the overall story. Except that it felt like information overload for me. It was not possible for me to read it in one go, because… life! But every time I resumed reading, I had to skim through the previous pages to remind myself of all the characters. I think it was too much work for me!
Please give this book a read if you have time to sit and read it in a day or two. You will not regret it. It is a great mystery with just the right touch of action and intrigue; and if you read it carefully, you might be able to work it all out. But that is not likely because even though all the information is there, it is just too confusing to collate!