★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Alderson’s Conspiracy Girl was one of those that immediately jumped on my radar. Of course, with such high ratings and rave reviews in abundance, it was also one of those that rapidly developed a long reservation queue at the library. Needless to say, when it arrived in my inbox I was more than ready to place everything on hold and read (or at least as far as realistically is possible). And whilst such anticipation was well-received at first, things seemed to spiral downwards to a pretty poor end.
The first half of Conspiracy Girl is a clear showcase of Alderson’s talent – the characters are well-introduced, the plot well-developed, and suspense arrives (and is maintained) in an exhilarating supply. It didn’t take me long to make considerable progress with the novel, always wanting to pick it back up as soon as I merely glanced away to check on the time or put it down to swap trains.
As is unfortunately often the case, however, good things must come to an end. By halfway I was already raising suspicions about a recurring thread that seemed a little too obvious for a good mystery novel, and beginning to feel a little perturbed by the growing importance of Nic and Finn as a couple in the plotline. Fast forward to the end and nothing much has changed – the mystery has almost taken a back-seat to Nic and Finn’s blossoming romance and the suspicious character (yep, you guessed it) was in fact the perpetrator. All in all, this made for a rather disappointing feel to the novel, especially when it was clear from the start what Alderson could achieve.
Conspiracy Girl offers a thrilling plot with twists and action you don’t see coming (as well as the main solution, which you do). If you don’t mind a novel that appears to be a mystery before morphing itself into an established romance by the end, then it may be more up your street, but it’s certainly not a new ground-breaking crime story. Alderson’s start to the novel will definitely suck you in, seducing you with terrific literary style and technique, but most of this falters as the novel progresses, leaving a disappointed and not-really-engaged reader.
Recommended for fans of:
- The Witness by James Jauncy
- No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale
- All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab