Book Review: “The Mesmerist” by Ronald J. Smith

Title: The Mesmerist
Author: Ronald J. Smith
Genre:
  Historical fantasy
Date Read: 08/02/2017 – 13/02/2017
Rating: ★★☆

Review:

This is a book that I may very well have loved as a 10 or 12-year-old, so I’m willing to accept that the low rating I ultimately gave it as a 27-year-old is a case of “It’s not you, it’s me”.  While the premise of this book sounded cute, it ended up falling flat for me.

Jessamine Grace and her mother make a living as sham spiritualists in Victorian England, until one day Jess discovers that she actually can talk to ghosts. Subsequently, she is thrust into a world of demons, ghouls, necromancers, fairies and angels, and sets out to avenge the deaths of those she loves.

My main issue was Jess herself. She was just so prissy and annoying. The book is in first person present tense, which is not easy to pull off, and I feel that the author did not manage it. There were also constant reminders to English-ness, or to being English – it seemed odd; I don’t think a regular English person would constantly be thinking “I’ll do that – after all, I am English.”

I also felt that there was a bit too much going on, so none of the world-building ever really got enough attention. As you can see from my summary, there are lots of different supernatural elements and they really all only get a bit of a turn to shine. On top of that, the book tries covering some socio-political issues of the time, as well as introducing a plague into the city.

Having said that, I did find that plot picked up in the last 25% or so. Before that, a lot of the action tended to be off-screen, whereas at this point, the main characters were really part of it and coming into their own.

As I said before, I do feel that a younger Emily would have enjoyed this more, so I recommend not writing the book off based on my review, particularly if you are interested in it for a younger reader. It just wasn’t for me.


(Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for providing me wi  th a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review)

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#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 15 February, 2017

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I thought I might mix it up this week and put WIPpet Wednesday at the top of my post. I knoooow. I live on the edge like that.

WIPpet Wednesday is a weekly blog hop hosted by yours truly. If you’re a writer, you are very welcome to join us by posting an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date. You can click the blue guy on the right of this blog to be taken to the link up. It’s the 15th, so I’m sharing six paragraphs. Clara is testing out her newly-developed telepathic and teleport-y powers to create a distraction.

I didn’t quite make it around to all of you last week, but I will try to do better this week! (I seem to say that a lot.)

~*~

Max? she thought. Jana? Can you hear me?

She sent the same thought out several times in a row. She had no way of knowing whether or not they had heard her, but she kept her mind trained on thoughts of them, open to a response. When there had been no voices inside her head for a while, she tried again, and with relief, heard Max’s voice in reply.

Clara? Where are you?

I’m a block away, she replied. I’m getting the hang of this ability. I’m going to appear with you guys again in a moment, and pretend I’m giving myself up and going with them. That will give you and Jana a chance to get away. Go back to the park and meet me by the sculpture.

Okay, Max’s voice replied inside her head. Be careful.

I will.

~*~

She then proceeds to be pretty kickass if I do say so myself.

And now it’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

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What have you recently finished reading?

chooseautobiocovverI read Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris over the weekend. As you can tell from the title, it is in choose your own adventure form, though after a while I was ending up faced with a choice between three paths I’d already read. At that point, I just started going through from beginning to end and reading the pages I hadn’t read yet. It was cute and fun and not especially memorable, but it was interesting hearing some behind-the-scenes stories about the performances I’ve really enjoyed him in.

themesmeristcoverI also finished The Mesmerist by Ronald L. Smith. This improved a bit in the last 25%, but I was underwhelmed. I do think 10-12-year-old me would have enjoyed it, so it’s probably a bit of a case of “it’s not you, it’s me”.  This was an ARC and the official release was last week, so I hope to have the review up this Friday.

I also posted my review of Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. Click the title to read it.

What are you currently reading?

traitortothethronecoverI’m finally getting through Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton. I think I was not in the mood for it when I started it, and I missed some vital information, which left me confused, but now that I’ve figured out the info I missed, and am also getting into the action, I’m really enjoying it more than the first book! I know a lot of people have been disappointed by the lack of Jin in this one, but I’m actually appreciating that it is really Amani’s story, and not Amani+Jin’s story. Also Rahim for Sultan, y/n?

scarletlettercoverI’m also listening to The Scarlet Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne on audio. My plan is to use Overdrive to get through a few classics I’ve never read before, though to be honest, I’m probably not devoting my full attention to it. I do admire Hester Prynne, though. But apart from often staring at the letter, everyone seems to treat her pretty much as normal? Which seems odd?

What do you think you’ll read next?

fearlesstravelersguidecoverI think probably The Fearless Traveler’s Guide to Wicked Places by Peter Begler. I can aspire to have one ARC review up before the book’s release date, at least! It’s another middle-grade one like The Mesmerist, but it’s got some really good reviews so far so I’m hoping I like it. I also have a couple of library books out that I want to get to soon.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

~ Emily

#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 08 February, 2017

Guys, guys! Did you see that GoodReads has finally added a re-read feature? There are no words for how excited I am! They are rolling it out gradually but it is already showing up for my account. I don’t even reread much, but it’s good to know I can now revisit a series before the new installment is released, for example, and still have it count towards my yearly reading challenge. I am a slave to the GoodReads Reading Challenge.

Anyway.

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

thereptileroomcoverI finishedThe Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket, book 2 in the Series of Unfortunate Events. It wasn’t quite as good as the first, but I still want to keep going and get into all the mystery stuff that I remember from the later books.

I also finished Beauty Queens by Libba Bray just this beautyqueenscoverevening, and it was my first five star read of the year! 😀 The audio book is incredible and if you have the time to commit to 14 hours of it, I really recommend it. I ended up downloading the ebook and splitting my time between the two because I was only four hours into it and it was due back tomorrow.

I only posted on review this week, of Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan. Click here to read it.

What are you currently reading?

I’ve been flitting between things over the past week, so I’ve got a couple of things on the go at the moment.

traitortothethronecoverI started the ARC of Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton, with the hopes of finishing it in time for the release date last Thursday, but that came and went and I’m still going. I was having trouble reading off my tablet over the weekend because my eyes were aching, so that put a bit of a dent in my reading plans.

themesmeristcoverI also started The Mesmerist by Ronald L. Smith, another ARC (the book was released yesterday). It’s cute so far but some of the writing feels a bit clunky. Still, it’s fairly short, so I should get through it fairly quickly.

What do you think you’ll read next?

heartofbrasscoverWell, there’s Heart of Brass by Felicity Banks, which I have on hold and really should pick up again. There’s also The Fearless Traveler’s Guide to Wicked Places by Peter Begler, which I would like to try to review sometime around the release date of March 1. I probably should also review The Devil’s Prayer by Luke Gracias before too long.

adverbscoverNot to mention Adverbs by Daniel Handler and Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris are both waiting for me to pick them up from the library tomorrow. Oh, and I still havethe four books of the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carringer on loan from a colleague, and another colleague today brought me in the rest of the Series of Unfortunate Events books.

So, um, yeah. It’ll be one of those, I guess.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

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The
other blog hop for this week is WIPpet Wednesday. If you’re a writer, you are very welcome to join us in this one by posting an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date. You can click the blue guy on the right of this blog to be taken to the link up.

Before I go any further, I wanted to announce that I have finally settled on a new title for the story-that-was-until-last-Thursday-known-as Operation: Sugarplum. This WIP is now known as With Memories and Magic, which is way more fitting now that the plot has completely diverged from its original form as a retelling of The Nutcracker.

My maths is easy this week: two paragraphs for the second month. This actually follows on from the WIPpet I shared a few weeks ago. Max has now arrived and is confronting the people pursuing Clara. He’s also brought back-up.

“I see you have two traitors with you.”

“You mean Derek and Ivo?” Max motioned to each man as he spoke his name. “They’re not the ones trying to persuade the Queen to return home so she can be enslaved by a dictator.”

Boy has a point.

I’m on the downhill run with the first draft of With Memories and Magic, and my subconscious has decided to go and get all antsy about it. I’m not getting down anywhere near the number of words I was each night a couple of weeks ago, and I’m far more angsty about the words I am getting down. I’m still hoping to finish this draft by the end of February, though. Cross your fingers for me!

I’ve been continuing with Fictional Flashback February. I’m hoping to write a few more little stories to go with my pictures like I did on the first few days, but some days it has just been easier to do one sentence with an image.

That’s it from me this week. I’m off to do my nightly writing and beta readings, and I’ll catch you all soon.

~ Emily