Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I've been following Justine Larbalestier for a while on Twitter, and she's got a lot to say on the craft of writing - and also about how to write (and how not to write) diverse books. Her books, however, are a little hard to find at the library, so it's taken me a while to get ahold of one. And while I'm hoping that some of her other stories are a better indicator of the talent behind her tweets, this book, I'm sorry to say, fails to deliver.
To be fair, though, Razorhurst does get points for uniqueness. In the States, there's any number of stories about the Mob in New York, Chicago, Vegas...but blending the Mob with YA paranormal in 1932 Sydney, Australia, and giving us two flawed, strong-willed leading ladies with the ability to see ghosts? I guarantee nobody's done something quite like that before. Unfortunately, as great as the characters are, they aren't enough to save the book from its annoyingly herky-jerky pacing (it doesn't help that there's a bunch of interludes disrupting the narrative every so often, and in a book that's only 300 pages - with walls of tiny text on every page, too - the interludes are not to its benefit.) Not only that, but the third-person POV makes it harder to get immersed in this historical world the way Larbalestier no doubt did, because it makes the reader feel that much more detached from the story.
I guess I'll look for another of Larbalestier's books sometime soon, but for a first impression, this was a pretty sucky one.
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