Thursday, April 5, 2012

Book Review: Ripper, by Amy Carol Reeves

Ripper is a unique take on the Jack-the-Ripper story, with a paranormal twist.

Abbie has lived in Dublin with her mother for most of her life. Her mother eloped with her father, and since then her grandmother hasn't had any contact with her mother. After her mother's death, Abbie must go to London to live with her grandmother.

After two months of boredom, her grandmother decides she should work at a hospital for poor women (mostly prostitutes) so that she will realize how fortunate she is. This ploy doesn't work at all. Abbie loves working at the hospital, and decides she would like to become a doctor.

At the hospital, she meets Dr. Bartlett the director of the hospital, and a friend of her grandmother. She also meets two very different young doctors, Simon St. John, who is also an acquaintance of her grandmother, and William Siddal, a young doctor from a family of artists of whom her grandmother very much disapproves.

Let's just get this out of the way. There was barely a love triangle, and the romance was my least favorite part of Ripper. Abbie just seemed to have an instant attraction to xxxxx. (I won't say who.)

Abbie makes this story. She is a courageous and intelligent hero. At times, the descriptions of her abilities were a bit over the top (first she is totally immobilized, then she has a "crazed burst of energy" and is able to overtake her captor) but I still loved her character. She will jump into any situation head first, no matter what the danger--but she really holds her own, using physical skills as well as mental sharpness.

Jack the Ripper ends up killing some patients of the hospital soon after they are released. Abbie begins having visions of these murders as they occur. It takes Abbie a while to realize this, then when she gets a vision, she immediately tries to intervene, with little success. There's more than visions in Ripper, but I'll let you discover the other paranormal aspects for yourself.

Dr. Bartlett lives with three other men in a unique house in London. Abbie is invited to a few dinner parties, and begins to suspect there's more to these gentlemen than first appears. She also keeps seeing a symbol - a chalice with Latin words -- in several different places, and feels it has something to do with these men.

Abbie (and William and Simon) end up in grave danger. They deduce, through different means, who the killer is, and Ripper has one of the most spectacular, heart pounding endings of any book I've read.

There were quite a few characters, and some of them weren't distinct enough to keep separate. It also doesn't help that I read Ripper as an ebook, so it is difficult to page back to remind yourself, "Now, who is this again?"

Reeves' writing is easily accessible, the settings are nicely done, and the pacing kept my interest. The danger is palpable, which makes Ripper a book I can recommend to many teens. Many girls, especially, will enjoy reading about Abbie. It seems this may not be the end of her story, although there wasn't a cliffhanger ending (thankfully.)

Published by Flux, April 8, 2012
eBook obtained from NetGalley
360 pages

Rating: 3.5/5

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1 comment:

  1. We had the exact same thoughts on this one. I also read it as an eBook and had trouble keeping all the characters strait. There were some really awesome things about the book, but there were also quite a few frustrations. Glad to see I wasn't alone in this view.


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