Author: Alexandra Monir
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: December 9, 2014
Summary: Mysterious. Magnificent. Creepy. Welcome to Rockford Manor.
“There’s something hidden in the Maze.” Seventeen-year-old Imogen has never forgotten the last words her father said to her seven years ago, before the blazing fire that consumed him, her mother, and the gardens of her family’s English country manor.
Haunted by her parents’ deaths, Imogen moves to New York City with her new guardians. But when a letter arrives with the news of her cousin’s untimely death, revealing that Imogen is now the only heir left to run the estate, she returns to England and warily accepts her role as duchess.
All is not as it seems at Rockford, and Imogen quickly learns that dark secrets lurk behind the mansion’s aristocratic exterior, hinting that the spate of deaths in her family were no accident. And at the center of the mystery is Imogen herself–and Sebastian, the childhood friend she has secretly loved for years. Just what has Imogen walked into?
Combining a fresh twist on the classic REBECCA with a spine-tingling mystery and powerful romance, SUSPICION is an action-packed thrill ride.
Books like this are always the absolute hardest to review. It’s okay for me to not like a book, and I’m always going to give you an honest review, and personally I think I’m still good at pointing out some good qualities in books I don’t like, just to be fair. I understand that it takes a lot of time and effort to write a book, and I respect anyone that get’s their’s published, so with that, I usually don’t think it’s okay to be unnecessarily cruel or rude when it comes to reviewing books. But when I read a book like this, a book where I honestly cannot think of a single good thing to say, I have a really hard time not coming off as a jerk. But it’s my duty as a book reviewer to give you my honest opinion and that’s what I’m going to do.
I’m going to start this review off by just telling you guys to not even waste your time with this one. Don’t even give it a second thought after you read this review because, trust me, it’s not worth your time. Not even one little bit.
So we have this girl, Imogen, who is actually close to British royalty through some family connections that I’m not going to take the time to explain. As a child, she is visiting her family’s estate, only to preform some sort of magic by making flowers grow, and later than night, her parents and aunt and uncle are killed in a fire under mysterious circumstances. She returns to America and years later, finds out that her cousin Lucy and her grandfather both died, leaving her the last remaining heir. So she returns to the estate, because apparently her lowly peons and the other high and mighty families can’t survive without her there to rule and host dinner parties. Gag.
Let’s just start off with the utterly ridiculous romance. Imogen has been in love with Sebastian for years. And I mean years. So every time some guys tries to get close to her at school, Sebastian’s face pops up in her head, and I’m assuming it’s his ten year old face since that’s the last time she saw him, which is just creepy. Oh did I mention that Sebastian dated Imogen’s now dead cousin Lucy, for like, ten years or something? So she goes back to Britain, finds poor, disgustingly attractive Sebastian grieving over Lucy, and she just can’t stop thinking about how in love with him she is. Imogen is obviously a very selfless young lady *snort*. Anyways, they talk like literally three to five times, and suddenly Sebastian reveals that he and Lucy were mostly for show and he hadn’t loved her in years, but he was falling madly in love with Imogen because it was always her. Convenient, right? I just love how it feels like the author tried to set up the whole romance with Lucy and Sebastian thing, to make us feel hopeless about Imogen ever getting together with him, the throws us the twist of him not actually loving Lucy, so it feels okay for him and Imogen to get together. But actually, it just makes him look like a huge, manipulating, dishonest dirt bag. Nice try though.
On top of the stupid romance, the plot was so boring. It took all of my determination to finish this book and it was so difficult. Imogen moves in to her huge mansion, only to find that the housekeeper and her daughter and both acting all fishy and weird. Then she starts seeing the ghost of Lucy, and hearing voices and other spooky encounters. Which seems pretty intriguing, right? Well the problem was, it doesn’t actually ever feel like anything happens in this book. Imogen does nothing and most of the time just gets answers handed to her or just pulls them out of thin air, with no explanation as to how she even got to that conclusion in the first place. And she is the worst sort of heroine because she doesn’t seem determined or to be proactively doing much of anything expect pining over Sebastian and being uncomfortable with British royalty. For example, before her father died, he told her that there was something hidden in the maze for her to find. And later she finds out what’s hidden and that it could be the answer to a lot of the mystery. So what does she do? She goes into the maze to find it and gives up after like two minutes, then only goes searching again after she really has to. You’d think that would be her first priority, especially since it just requires her to, you know, like walk around. On her own property.
Another disappointing thing was that Imogen’s magical abilities basically just consisted of her being able to make plants grow and shoot water from her fingers. She is an Elemental, so you’d think she could whip up a windstorm or fling fireballs or something cool, but we never get anything more than flowers and sprinklers. And the whole Elemental thing is never really elaborated and Imogen never develops her powers in any way. The magic aspect of this book was actually just a small part of the story and it felt like the author just kind of threw it in to try and add something creative to the story.
Then the author tries to throw in this huge plot twist at the end, and it really was just unbelievable and sort of silly. It was like, out of nowhere, Imogen has this huge epiphany, figures out the plot twist, then the villain just hands her the explanation of everything. Just gives her the whole story so Imogen doesn’t actually have to go through the effort of figuring it out herself. It was beyond frustrating.
I found this book to be mostly just annoying and absurd. The main problem was that everything was so one dimensional and nothing had any layers. Inogen and everyone around her were just bland and boring. The mystery wasn’t exciting and the reveal was anti-climactic. The magical powers were beyond lacking and didn’t really seem to flow with the murder mystery part of the book. And the whole British heir thing was kind of ridiculous and definitely didn’t seem accurate. This was a book that had so much potential and fell flat.
Honestly you guys, there are so many books out there that are way better than this. I’m just sad that the author of Rebecca isn’t alive today to tell Alexandra Monir to shove it for having the audacity to connect this book to hers in any way.