Annabel Lee has just been summoned to Philadelphia by her father. Her mother sadly perished before they could make the trip and now Annabel feels all alone. She hopes that she’ll make a connection with her father but he turns out to be cold and almost cruel. Then she meets Allan, her father’s assistant, and he is so very sweet she can’t help but like him. But it’s clear that something strange is going on in her father’s lab. She is desperate to find out the secret but also scared of her father’s reaction to her snooping. And there is Edgar to consider, always lurking about. Can she uncover the secret and stay out of trouble or is she doomed to be caught and punished?
Annabel was a character I sympathized with, but also found a little annoying. Her fascination with medicine was great because that’s not something we see a bunch in YA. It makes sense, seeing as her mother was a doctor’s assistant and she assisted her mother. What wasn’t so great is how she lets her father bully her around. He looks down upon her interest in medicine as a bad thing even though he is the crazy scientist. That makes sense because this is a written in Poe’s lifetime and woman didn’t get involved in medicine then. What bothered me was how she lets it make her feel. I get that, in the beginning, all she wants is to please her father and that means giving up things that make him angry. By the middle, however, she should realize that he’s crazy and mean and his opinion shouldn’t matter.
Allan and Edgar, well I’m not entirely sure of either of them. Edgar is obviously a creeper….
and I just hated him. I think you are supposed to. He seems to be the main bad guy, but I was never entirely sure. It almost felt like things would flip and you’d suddenly see Edgar in a new light as the good guy. That never happens, so I don’t know how to feel about him. Allan was sweet and cute, but I wasn’t ever really sure. He keeps writing poetry, which was expected because he is modeled as Edgar Allan Poe, but it always gave off a stalkerish vibe. His whole relationship with Annabel felt a little insta-lovey. He saves her from drowning, so that’s a connection, but the whole thing just felt off.
I’ve avoided this review for a while. It’s a hard one for me to write because I have genuinely loved all the other stuff I’ve read by Jessica Verday. The Hollow trilogy is amazing and that short story she wrote for the Entrhalled anthology was one of the funniest things I’ve ever read. I was overjoyed when I was approved for this eARC. I get to read Verday’s newest novel?
It’s about Edgar Allen Poe and Annabel Lee?
Happiness is an understatement. But I didn’t love it. It’s not horrible, but it’s not up that Verday awesomeness level that I’m used to. The plot is a slow, the mystery is predictable, and the romance was just mehish. It felt like it was missing something. Add to that the fact that it ends in a cliffhanger fashion, but there is no announcement of any type of sequel and you can see why I’m making a frownie face. That’s how this story ends? You gave me absolutely no closure! What was the thought process for ending it there? Mmmm….I’ve built everything up to the boiling point, what should I do next? Ooooo…I know! Stop right here and make them wonder for all eternity what happens next!
I think I might have enjoyed this a little more if I hadn’t had such high expectations for it. I was expecting awesome and I got mediocre and that was such a letdown. Jessica, if you ever read this, I’m sorry. I wanted to love it, I really did, but I don’t. For everyone out there interested in this, just beware that the ending doesn’t resolve much. I don’t know about you, but that really bugs me. It’s probably my love for Jessica that keeps me from rage rating it a 1 star because I’ve given one star rating for much less. It’s an interesting story, but it’s slow and it doesn’t give you that happily ever after I’m always searching for.
****Thank you to Egmont USA for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****