Thursday, May 5, 2022

The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude

 "Since the dogs began going missing, wandering the fields after dusk was frowned upon. Even before then, we had stayed away from the woods. There were stories."
 

Rituals, secrets and superstitions. Rowan's Glen is full of them. And sixteen-year-old Ivy Templeton knows them all, from the whispered stories of the murderous Birch Markle, who supposedly still haunts the woods, to knowing how to protect against the evil eye with a bit of red thread. Her cousin, beautiful and free-spirited Heather, on the other hand, scoffs at all the old ways. But she has secrets of her own, things she won't even tell Ivy. Then, on May Day, Heather goes missing. Ivy feels guilty for not doing something more to keep Heather safe; she's also determined to find out what really happened to Heather, though she fears that it was Birch Markle, and that he will be coming for her next.

"The worst predators of all were humans."

Have you ever read a novel where the main character freezes up when she needs to run, even when someone's tugging at her hand? Or who's a bit too passive when she needs to speak up and be more proactive? Or whose mind is always drifting off? Ivy does all of those things. Fortunately, not all of the time. I liked her, but I also found her frustrating. But then, this YA mystery was an uneven read all around. It has several good moments of suspense, Ivy's friend Rook is very likable, and I loved the atmospheric setting and all the Ozark superstitions; but the mystery itself got muddied and overly complicated at the end. And there were too many characters with big secrets that I felt were revealed all at once. So despite the intriguing premise, this one wasn't as compelling or as good as it could have been. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either. 

Happy Reading!

25 comments:

  1. Oh that cover! It’s superbly creepy so I am sorry this didn’t work out — it sounded promising! — Verushka @ Pop.Edit.Lit

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    1. The setting and all those superstitions and stories about Birch Markle haunting the woods...I loved the premise of this one, too. But the actual book was a bit of a letdown.

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  2. The premise sounds intriguing. It's a pity that it didn't turn out as what you'd expected. That said, it has an eye-catching cover though.

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    1. I really wanted this one to be better.

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  3. I love a good spooky woods, and this sounds definitely atmospheric, but sorry to hear it wasn't great. There can definitely be too much at times in books like this.

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    1. There were suddenly so many secrets at the end, and so many twists it was just a little too much.

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  4. It sure has a good premise, but I agree, I would like a more courageous heroine.

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    1. She had some good moments and I really wanted to like her, but she was also very frustrating at times.

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  5. This sounds creeptastic. I love a good creepy story. :D

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  6. Sorry to hear the ending was such a mess. It was sounding pretty good until that point. I hope your next read is a better one.

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    1. It was going pretty well up to the end, and then the author threw in three twists right on top of each other which was both annoying and confusing.

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  7. A YA mystery! Sounds interesting but am sorry it was a disappointment.

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    1. Thanks. I was hoping for a better YA read this time around.

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  8. I'm always drawn to atmospheric mysteries. Too bad this one didn't work out. Uneven reads are so frustrating because the potential for greatness is there but just never fully realized.

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    1. And this book had so much potential to be really suspenseful and fun. It just wasn't in the end.

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  9. This book does sound very promising and I am sorry to hear it was slightly disappointing for you. But I might perhaps check it out!

    Elza Reads

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    1. You might really like it. I'd love to know what you think of it if you do read it! :)

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  10. Having conflicting feelings for a book can be frustrating especially when the premise sounds so good.

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    1. And this book could have been really good!

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  11. Darn! This sounds like it could have been a really good read. Too bad the execution was so uneven.

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    1. And there were too many twists and surprises all at once at the end.

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  12. Yeah, I think Ivy would frustrate me, too. It's not often that I find a really good YA mystery. Glad you enjoyed the story overall. :)

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    1. Lately, all the YA books I've read have been more miss than hit. And this one could have been so good.

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  13. I would never have guessed this to be YA, given the cover and title! Ivy doesn't seem to be a strong MC though. But I was interested in the Ozark reference you made -- it's a show that I've wanted to watch as long as someone can guarantee that the detective survives/ it's not a full-blown tragedy!

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