A 60 Second Review by Anne Brees
Genre – Young Adult Fantasy
Summary – Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.
Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.
As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.
Initial Thoughts – This book was pretty terrifying for me, mostly because I rarely read books with horror components. If I had read the summary, I don’t know if I would have read it. However, I enjoyed the intensity of this book, though I thought the plot was a little lost at times.
Plot – ★★☆☆☆ I felt like Bray was trying to accomplish too much with the plot. She had so many side characters that had their own story lines, but they didn’t really come together in the end. The plot of Naughty John was terrifying and interesting, but it was too often pushed aside by the interesting, but unfortunately unimportant side plots of these characters. This book felt more like a set up for the whole series, not a complete book.
Characters – ★★★☆☆ Evie was selfish and arrogant and not really all that intelligent. I found myself irritated by some of the choices she made that endangered or hurt the other characters unnecessarily. I did however fall in love with some of the side characters, like Theta, Memphis, and Sam. However, while their stories were somewhat intertwined, they had no part in the final defeat, making me wonder why so much detail of their stories were included in the narrative.
Story world – ★★★★★ I LOVED the 1920’s story world. Bray clearly, clearly did her research when writing this novel. The New York city, the slang, the issues, everything was perfect.
Style – ★★★★★ Just as with the story world, Bray entertwined the history of the 1920’s seamlessly into her narrative. I loved how I was immediately transported into that world.
Closing Thoughts – While I (surprisingly) enjoyed the horror and adventure of this novel, I found the main character too irritating and the plot a little too much to completely enjoy it.
Recommendation – Recommended for lovers of the 1920’s, paranormal activity, and being terrified.