Reviewing Reader, I Murdered Him: A Gripping Tale of Power and Revenge

In this daring tale of female agency and revenge from a New York Times bestselling author, a girl becomes a teenage vigilante who roams Victorian England using her privilege and power to punish her friends’ abusive suitors and keep other young women safe.

Adele grew up in the shadows–first watching from backstage at her mother’s Parisian dance halls, then wandering around the gloomy, haunted rooms of her father’s manor. When she’s finally sent away to boarding school in London, she’s happy to enter the brightly lit world of society girls and their wealthy suitors.

Yet there are shadows there, too. Many of the men that try to charm Adele’s new friends do so with dark intentions. After a violent assault, she turns to a roguish young con woman for help. Together, they become vigilantes meting out justice. But can Adele save herself from the same fate as those she protects?

~ Goodreads ~ Storygraph ~

Note: Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for sending me an e-arc. This does not affect my opinions and review in any manner.

Initial thoughts:

The moment I read this title I was intrigued. My soul was saying yes before I could, no matter the fact that I usually don’t read historic fiction. I mean teenage vigilante?? Putting men in their place??? HELL YES!

Unfortunately, the book kept getting pushed back due to work and yes, I read the first three chapters twice before I could get into it but that’s a personal thing. I find it hard to start books, and the tone of the narrator was different from the YA contemporary I usually read.

What I liked:

Firstly, Adele Warens is an incredible character. We get to see her develop from a street smart feisty girl to someone who the English society tries to tame and then as she tried to find her true self and a place in the society. Adele is born in France and lives with her mother until she’s taken away by her Papa to England. Her papa is none other than Mr Rochester – and this was such a surprise to me. I didn’t know that this book would look at Jane Eyre from a fresh perspective but the classic being one of my favourites, I was immediately hooked. I loved to see the relations Adele formed with Jane and the mad Mrs Rochester. We get a narrator who has a fresh perspective on the society she is thrown in as she struggles to keep a sense of who she is.

The story really progressed for me when Adele joined the finishing school because from thereon she was on her own and we truly saw her develop and form her identity. I loved reading about the different and complex relationships Adele had with her friends and that the girls had with each other. And without spoiling the plot, let me say that I immensely enjoyed the vigilante life Adele led – how she managed it and kept in line with all her values while still causing ruckus and chaos she went.

This book beautifully explores themes of women being oppressed in society and the kind of power men wield. It was so interesting seeing Adele try to wield this power herself and you really can’t help but root for her throughout. There are plenty of dark themes that would probably require trigger warnings like death, pedophilia and sexual assault but there isn’t any gore as far as I’m concerned. The author manages to tug at our heart strings while making us turn page after page. Themes like privilege and identity were also explored through various characters and their relationships and all in all I finished this book feeling a sense of pride and happiness for our main characters.

Oh and the sapphic romance was somewhat of the slow pining sort and I was thoroughly invested in both girls. It was well-developed and the characters actually had chemistry instead of the author just shoving them together to call it queer or something.

What didn’t work for me:

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but I believe the pacing was a slight issue for me. The beginning was sort of slow and I was only hooked after Adele reached her finishing school. And while I wouldn’t say that the first and second half of the story is disconnected, I just wish the first half was equally gripping as the second. Instead it almost felt like things were being set up for us, which they were, and the action was being saved for the second half.

My rating:

4/5 stars

Would recommend to people interested in historical fiction, sapphic romance, themes of feminism and overthrowing society


2 thoughts on “Reviewing Reader, I Murdered Him: A Gripping Tale of Power and Revenge

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