Sunday, September 7, 2014

Book Review: The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches

I don't know how to write this review. I want to explain what made the book so enjoyable, but I don't wish to provide any spoilers for those who might be reading the series in order (my recommendation). I had already mentioned before that reading the back cover description on the audio version of The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches led me to an important bit of information which was the climax of book five (thus taking away some of the suspense for me). Thus, I will have to talk around the story and not really provide a summary to entice a new reader.

Flavia DeLuce, a precocious eleven year old girl with an enduring love of chemistry, is at it once again, solving murder mysteries. This time there are two dead bodies to deal with and a world of intrigue behind their demise. Moreover, the tale hits a bit closer to home for Flavia. Told with a great deal of emotion, this story outlines the thought-processes of Flavia very well. We get inside her head and her heart. Included in the tale: an appearance by Winston Churchill, a cryptic message ("the gamekeeper is in danger") by a man shortly before he is murdered, a plane ride, an attempt to revive a body, and a secret message written in invisible ink (unearthed ten years later).

I love how all of his titles come from lines within classical works of literature. I love the character of Flavia. I love learning more about chemistry (even if none of it really sticks with me for very long). This is just such a fun detective series with an interesting main character.

I loved the ending of this book and cannot wait to see if Alan Bradley has more stories up his sleeve for Flavia. She is about to embark on a new adventure and it will certainly provide fodder for more intrigue and chemistry lessons. I did google the question of whether or not more Flavia books are in the works. Here is the best answer I found, from Rebekah Scott's review of the book for The Times-News on January 26, 2014:

“The Dead in their Vaulted Arches” is the last in Bradley’s originally planned six novels, and it definitely shows as this book feels like the end of a journey. But he does have another four Flavia titles in the works, so it’s not the end of her adventures. He’s given us another thoroughly entertaining entry in her story, and although each previous book can be read as a standalone novel, “The Dead in their Vaulted Arches” really needs the foundation laid in the earlier titles to fully appreciate everything that Bradley has been building up to.

Besides, it’s much more enjoyable to start from the beginning in “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie” with Flavia and follow along with her to see where her journey takes her. And as Flavia prepares for the next chapter in her life, readers should look forward to seeing what is in store for her next.

I am certainly eager to see what is in store for Flavia next as she moves on to this new adventure. I hope the author does indeed write four more Flavia books.

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