An out of practice reader discussing the books I get around to reading.
This will be a quick review because my computer is about to die and I don't feel like bringing my charger upstairs.
The May Queen Murders follows Ivy who lives in a not at all The Village-like town where, some years before, the May Queen was brutally murdered and her killer escaped into the woods. Now she realizes her cousin/best friend, Heather, is keeping secrets from her and, considering Heather is the first May Queen since the last one died, Ivy worries for her cousin's safety. She also has weird sexual tensions with her long time friend, Rook, though that's a separate line of the story. Has Birch Markel returned to kill the May Queen? Will Ivy's horrible premonitions end up true? Will Ivy and Rook ever do the do?!!
Joking aside, I did like this book. Didn't love it but I liked it. The plot, while predictable and kinda melodramatic, was enjoyable and there were definitely parts that left me feeling suspense. The characters weren't anything spectacular but I enjoyed reading their story just the same. I found Ivy an endearing character, which is odd because she was incredibly clingy towards Heather. Like, you'd think they were young children from the level of clingy. Maybe I relate to her because I too have been clingy in the past. She just had an adorable personality to me and I loved the way she abided by the old beliefs held by her family. I like traditions like that.
My favorite part about the book was the language. Jude has a really amazing way with words where it's poetic without it seeming like she's trying too hard to sound fancy. She might not have the art of plot down, but by god is she a master of words. The images, especially the ones of nature, were just astounding and I loved how fresh all the language was. I definitely haven't read a YA book with language quite this good in a while. I think this book is technically a gothic story, if I remember my BritLit lessons well enough, and she definitely creates a gothic story. The atmosphere is there, I just wish the plot had been a little more on point.
My biggest critique about this story was the level of melodrama it had to it. Maybe that's normal for gothic stories, I'm not sure. I don't read the genre a ton. But there were times where I felt like I was listening to my sister complain (yell) about her school day. Perhaps it might seem less dramatic to the intended audiences, but as a 23 year old there were times where I wanted to shake Ivy and be like "Get a grip!". It made it difficult to read the story as spooky/suspenseful at times.
Not exactly a complaint, but I kind of wish the story hadn't of taken place during modern times. Rowan's Glen is very much like the village in The Village in that it rejects a lot of the luxuries of the modern era, and there were points where this did have a weight on the plot, such as with medical issues, Heather's rebelliousness, and the atmosphere of the Glen people being outsiders. Still, it didn't feel like it was THAT relevant to the story and almost seemed like a distraction at times. Like, we get it. You wear converse but don't have a TV. What does that have to do with anything? It's hard to say if this story would have been better set in the past, though, because, like I said, there were points where there was a purpose to the setting. Just something to be aware of, I guess.
Final rating: 3.5 out of 5. It's a decent book. I'd read it again, particularly because I loved the language. Very soap opera-y though. She went a bit overboard with the drama.