I don’t read a lot of YA. I tend to stick to Classics, MG, and Fairytale Retellings.
That being said, I really wanted to love this book. I was excited for the premise, because, Hey! Jack the Ripper. I don’t see a lot of Jack the Ripper books. Plus, it was set in the Victorian time period. Based off this, I was hoping for the sort of vibe you get from a classic horror/gothic novel. Something that would make you feel repulsed, but terribly intrigued.
I didn’t get that from this novel, and it was frankly because of the heroine. I found her to be unnaturally modern in a way that seemed forced. One moment she would talk about how she was a strong woman who wasn’t squeamish, and the next she was trying not to faint at the sight of a corpse. I would be able to stand some of this, because all of us have traits we’d rather not admit, but it was like this every few paragraphs. She would talk about how much she despises a man, then be practically swooning over him a moment later. One moment she’ll talk about how she doesn’t care about society’s rules, and then later she talks about how she ‘understands them and that she must choose her battles’ which, until that point I hadn’t seen her doing much of.
The love interest also didn’t do it for me. There wasn’t anything wrong with him; I think it was really more of an ‘insta-love’ situation. Perhaps if there was more of a buildup, and the main character had more consistently disliked the love interest, as she had seemed to at the beginning, I would have been more invested in them.
If this sort of thing is normal in YA, or if you love YA and the above doesn’t bother you, you may enjoy this book. It certainly does have a mystery to it, and Jack the Ripper isn’t a topic touched on by YA very often, which is a positive point for this book.
For me, however, the MC got on my nerves and the novel had no particular vibe to it, even when it could, in my opinion, have been reminiscent of H.G. Wells.