Monday, January 20, 2014

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches: Alan Bradley

It is difficult to review this 6th book in the Flavia de Luce series without revealing spoilers (at least for previous books in the series). It completes one story arc about Flavia's adventures in her 11th year. It ties up loose ends that have been hinted at since the beginning, and I hate to reveal much about the story. 

As I have just recently reviewed both the 4th and the 5th book in this series, it is obvious to readers of the blog that I like the series very much.  I am very fond of Flavia and her adventures. The author develops her character over the six books, and we see her growth in that year that it covers. It is appropriate that she changes a good bit over this time as she is moving toward adolescence and the huge changes this brings. Even though most readers don't mind whether Flavia is a realistic 11-year-old or not, I think she is realistic. She just happens to be on the very intelligent and adventurous end of the continuum. But two other very important factors for my enjoyment are the setting (post-War England) and the author's ability to keep it entertaining and fun.

The only thing I would say specifically about this book is that it does have a different, more serious tone than the other books. It deals with a serious subject and Flavia is forced to grow up a bit in this book. I do recommend this book and the series very highly. I would hesitate to do this, because it seems too cozy for some, but I have noticed that there are many bloggers who read more edgy, gritty books who do like these books, so I would say, if you haven't tried the series, give one of the early books a try.

This series is definitely best read from the beginning, to see the progression of Flavia's development, but it is not necessary. Many readers have started at different entry points in this series, but I would say this book is not the place to start. It ties in too much to what happened in the fifth book.

This book was provided for review by Delacorte Press via NetGalley. The book was published in the US on January 14, 2014. This interview with the author indicates that there will be more books, and even a TV series (which I am not too sure about).

My reviews for the first four books in the series:
 The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
 The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag
 A Red Herring Without Mustard
 I Am Half-Sick of Shadows
Speaking from Among the Bones


20 comments:

  1. Oh darn, I'm only on the third book! Now I'm dying to get to book six and I could have gotten it from netgalley:( Oh well I'm loving the audio version and want to stick to that anyway. Thanks for the link to the interview! Edgy book, Flavia, edgy book, Flavia keeps us grounded:)

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    1. Peggy, I am glad you are enjoying the series. I can see that it would be a good one to listen to, although I have never tried an audio book.

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  2. All I have to say is that if I enjoy the first book a lot, I have a nice backlist to look forward to reading. There are just so many distractions. I've been reading the same book for the past three weeks. Hope to finish it tomorrow on my day off.

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    1. Keishon, I do hope you enjoy the first one. This is one of the few series I have kept up with. I am sure your distractions are good ones. Hope your reading goes well tomorrow.

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  3. I had to skip most of this review. I meant to get this book over the weekend, but life intruded. We stayed home due to to awful winter weather. Going to pick up my copy at a store tomorrow. Can't wait to read this one.

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    1. I understand, John. I absolutely avoided reading anything about it until I had finished the book. I am sorry about the bad weather, but I would not get out in it either. I hope you enjoy the book.

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  4. I've skimmed also, you never know I might make it this far down the road with you! Juky before I start though....

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    1. Col, I hope you do try one but I don't know if you will like them enough to continue. Not edgy at all. Lots of good Canadian authors to choose from though.

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  5. Juky? July obviously. (fat fingers)........I will be after some recommendations for Canada as I don't think I have that many on the shelves......... McFetridge, Blunt, Bradley, Van Rooy

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    1. And I will probably get some recommendations from you.

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  6. Well, I didn;t read too much of your review as I have yet to embark on this series but do have the first 2 volumes so I will be getting there, honest!

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    1. Sergio, will be interested to see what you think of these books.

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  7. Tracy - This really is a terrific series. Like you, I've found that even people who generally prefer darker, grittier novels enjoy these. Part of the reason I do is that Flavia is a great character. And I agree completely that the series is best read in order. Glad you enjoyed this one.

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    1. Yes, Margot, the character of Flavia is what makes these books.

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  8. Interesting review, Tracy. I'm a big fan of this series too but I'm way behind with my reading. Glad, despite the more serious tone of this book that you like it.

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    1. Sarah, it is more serious, but still fun.

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  9. Tracy, I'm going to take the plunge into this series, too, beginning with "The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie." You have been following this series with dedication. I like the titles as well.

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    1. Prashant, I like the titles too, although sometimes I forget them. It is rare that I get through so many books in a series so quickly. I used to do that all the time, but now I usually space them out more.

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  10. You're powering through, Tracy! When I first saw this review I thought 'oh yes I saw that Alan Bradley entry' but that was the previous one a few days ago.... I'm still dithering on whether to continue with this series.

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    1. Moira, One reason I powered through them was that I had this one to review from NetGalley by the middle of the month. But I had always planned to read #5 and #6 close together because I knew that they connected. To be honest, I am surprised that I like this series so much... it is really the antithesis of what I think I like. But each book grabs me and I love it. Not a series for every one though.

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