I have pretty much loved all of the previous six books in Alan Bradley's Flavia De Luce book series. This seventh book fell flat, though.
Upon closing the book and going to sleep I was left thinking, "What? What just happened?” I could not reconcile how he had chosen to wrap up the story. I was bewildered by many points.
So, Flavia is thrown into life at a boarding school in Canada. Relationships among the girls never develop; neither do great antagonisms, though one would expect both. The Headmistress is never fully fleshed out either, I suppose in an attempt to keep up the mysteries of The Nide. But, here Flavia is to begin her training. Shouldn’t we learn something about the mysterious society? Wait a minute…shouldn’t FLAVIA at least learn something about it?
I had difficulty understanding how three different people were involved in the dead woman’s untimely demise in two different and separate instances (at least that’s how I am understanding it). Are we to believe that no one smelled the body as it decayed? There was a murder. No one was up in arms over it. Are we expected to care about it?
Brazenose’s disappearance and her undercover return amongst her schoolmates and sister were perplexing to say the least and I still can’t figure out the reason for any of that. Are we to believe that her sister didn’t recognize her voice, her features; that no one I the busy boarding school ever happened upon her with her makeup removed?
Bradley didn't develop any of Flavia’s mother’s amazing history though he could have. A foray into her mother’s past would have given him the ability to weave an engaging story within a story. As it is, the torch was never really passed to Flavia. We are left with her feeling unusually insecure and with the thought that she will be returning to home in England.
None of this fits with what I’ve come to expect from Bradley’s writing. I am disappointed.