Suspicion by Alexandra Monir
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: December 9, 2014
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley
Summary (from Goodreads):
Mysterious. Magnificent. Creepy. Welcome to Rockford Manor.
"There's something hidden in the Maze." Seventeen-year-old Imogen has never forgotten the last words her father said to her seven years ago, before the blazing fire that consumed him, her mother, and the gardens of her family's English country manor.
Haunted by her parents' deaths, Imogen moves to New York City with her new guardians. But when a letter arrives with the news of her cousin's untimely death, revealing that Imogen is now the only heir left to run the estate, she returns to England and warily accepts her role as duchess.
All is not as it seems at Rockford, and Imogen quickly learns that dark secrets lurk behind the mansion's aristocratic exterior, hinting that the spate of deaths in her family were no accident. And at the center of the mystery is Imogen herself--and Sebastian, the childhood friend she has secretly loved for years. Just what has Imogen walked into?
Combining a fresh twist on the classic REBECCA with a spine-tingling mystery and powerful romance, SUSPICION is an action-packed thrill ride.
What I Liked:
This is my first Monir read - she has a duo published (Timeless and Timekeeper), but I was never interested in those two. This book caught my attention, because it seemed to deal with historical events and paranormal occurrences and a gorgeous, haunting labyrinth. I loveeeeee labyrinths, so I was all over this one when review copies were made available. I think my expectations were a little too high, but I still enjoyed the story.
Imogen's parents were killed in a fire at the Rockford manor in England ten years ago. Now, her grandfather, the Duke of Rockford, is dead, and her cousin, the heiress duchess, is also dead. So the Rockford manor and title belongs to Imogen. So Imogen goes to England, but she finds out that things are not as they seem at Rockford. Not to mention Imogen's supernatural power - she finds out that she is an Elemental, able to control the elements. But how can she use her power to find out the truth at Rockford, and discover the mystery of the labyrinth...
I really liked the dual setting of New York and Rockford. It's interesting to see Imogen go from a typical American teenage girl in New York to an heiress duchess in England, with a well-known title, family, history, property... I liked seeing her adapt to the endless etiquette rules and proper dress code and whatnot. Very well-written by Monir.
The author really had me going with the mystery and the creepy occurrences at Rockford, at least for about half of the book. I wanted to know what was in the maze. I wanted to know how Imogen power fit into anything. I wanted to know how her parents' death, the grandfather's death, and Lucia's death were tied together, and why Imogen was supposed to stay away from Rockford.
Unfortunately, most of my questions were not answered. But I'll get to that in the next section.
The romance is pretty obvious, though I thought the author was going to take it in a different direction (I don't mind the direction she took though). It's obvious that Imogen won't end up with anyone in New York - the boy would have to be from England. I liked Sebastian a lot, but he was dating Lucia... I also liked Theo, but he seemed more of a cute friend.
NO love triangle, don't get me wrong. There were just two different directions Monir could have gone, early on, and she chose the one way. I liked the romance. Even if it was obvious.
Up until everything started to be revealed, I was really pleased with the mystery and the story in general. I wasn't as happy with the amount of questions I had through the end, and how the author didn't really explain things, or go into depth. I'll explain below!
What I Did Not Like:
Like I said above, I had a lot of questions by the end of the book, and most were not resolved. Monir doesn't do a good job of tying things together. For example, how does Imogen's power help her in the big climax, when trying to clear up certain truths? How does her power help anything at all? It seems very random and not helpful to the plot. Like, if you completely take out that aspect of the book, it would not make a single difference.
Which is a problem, obviously. You want your paranormal aspect to actually affect the plot.
I'm also confused about how the death of the two sets of parents (Lucia's and Imogen's), Lucia's death, and the grandfather's death, relate. Like, it's never really clear as to how the deaths relate, if it was all just a coincidence, if like, spirits influenced the manner of their deaths, etc. I'm totally inventing the spirits thing, but I'm just saying: how did all of these sinister deaths just happen? Who or what caused them? How did so many people die, leaving Imogen to inherit the property?
I'm confused by the labyrinth. You could take out the labyrinth aspect of the novel, and it would not make much of the difference. I love that the labyrinth is a thing, but I expected it to have more of an impact on the story. So people died in front of the labyrinth. Okay. It had nothing to do with the labyrinth.
Continuing that thought - so there is supposed to be something mysterious in the labyrinth. THAT reveal is so anticlimactic and cliche. Literally, the timing of the reveal in conjunction to another event is so cliche. And another thing - I don't actually know if Imogen retrieved the thing from within the labyrinth? She had to go into the labyrinth to, um, bring someone out, but did she actually retrieve the thing hidden in the labyrinth? I'm not sure. It's not explicitly stated.
A lot of things aren't stated. A lot of things are glossed over. Especially in the end, when the culprit/villain/bad guy gets away. Like, what?! Sorry if you consider that a spoiler. But it makes no sense - the ending is so open-ended, yet this novel is a standalone (as far as I know). Standalones shouldn't really have open-ended endings, like, THAT open-ended!
Basically, I'm confused about things.
Would I Recommend It:
This one is a hit or a miss. Honestly, I think it lacked a lot of depth, so you could skip it and move on with your life and there would be losses. The cover is GORGEOUS, but the story, meh.
3 stars. I liked the story - I enjoyed it while I was reading it. But I wouldn't re-read this one, or buy it. It's not the most impressive use of the elemental magic or a labyrinth that I have seen.
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