Audio Review: Speaking from Among the Bones by Alan Bradley

speaking from among the bonesSpeaking Among the Bones
Author: Alan Bradley
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Age Group: Adult
Source: Library
Good Reads  |  Amazon
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary from GoodReads:

From award-winning author Alan Bradley comes the next cozy British mystery starring intrepid young sleuth Flavia de Luce, hailed by USA Today as “one of the most remarkable creations in recent literature.”

Eleven-year-old amateur detective and ardent chemist Flavia de Luce is used to digging up clues, whether they’re found among the potions in her laboratory or between the pages of her insufferable sisters’ diaries. What she is not accustomed to is digging up bodies. Upon the five-hundredth anniversary of St. Tancred’s death, the English hamlet of Bishop’s Lacey is busily preparing to open its patron saint’s tomb. Nobody is more excited to peek inside the crypt than Flavia, yet what she finds will halt the proceedings dead in their tracks: the body of Mr. Collicutt, the church organist, his face grotesquely and inexplicably masked. Who held a vendetta against Mr. Collicutt, and why would they hide him in such a sacred resting place? The irrepressible Flavia decides to find out. And what she unearths will prove there’s never such thing as an open-and-shut case.

My Thoughts

Speaking from Among the Bones is the fifth Flavia de Luce book.  I was actually a little apprehensive going into this book, because you know how series tend to get old after awhile.  I was afraid that Flavia wouldn’t be as fresh as I remembered her.  But, you guys, I had nothing to worry about!  Speaking from Among the Bones was kick-ass, and Flavia was as snarky and clever as ever.

So, these Flavia de Luce books are mysteries.  These are adult mysteries, even though the main character is a child.  The mystery is great.  But the star of the show is the protagonist, Flavia.  Everything I love about these books (and there are many) all boil down to my love of Flavia.  She’s an 11 year-old girl living in an impoverished estate in Bishop’s Lacey (England) post World War II.  She is not your ordinary girl.  She is obsessed with chemistry, especially when it comes to poison.  But she has created a little side-career of solving murders in her little town.  There is nothing Flavia loves more than getting one up on Inspector Hewitt and there is little she hates more than being treated like a child.  Flavia calls herself Sneaky, the eighth dwarf from Snow White.  It’s a perfect because she can be sneaky, but sneakiness implies some intelligence as well, and Flavia is nothing if she isn’t intelligent.

The stories are told from Flavia’s point of view, and what a treat it is to hear Flavia’s thoughts.  Bradley has created such a well-developed character in Flavia.  It’s fascinating to see her dealing very maturely with very adult issues (murder!) one minute, then the next she is pouting because someone stole her thunder.  She can handle dead bodies, but gets squeamish about a hen being slaughtered.  And yet, when she has a nightmare (although not about the dead bodies she has seen) the family butler/friend, Dogger, will stay up all night sitting in her room to make sure she’s alright.  What’s so wonderful about this is that it’s so human.  People’s reactions and emotions aren’t always logical.

The relationship between Flavia and her two older sisters can be quite antagonistic, but at times the love they have for each other will peak out.  Flavia’s father seems very abset, but every once in awhile he will do something that shows his affection for Flavia, and I love those small moments.  They are very small and short, but they are just enough to let the reader learn about the affection the family has for one another.

The plot is fantastic, and perfectly paced.  Little clues are dropped throughout the story, and we learn then as Flavia does. These books aren’t exactly fast reads, or fast paced, but I don’t mean that in a bad way.  It’s paced perfectly, and it fits the story and the characters.

I must talk about the narrator of the audiobook for a quick second.  Jayne Entwistle was a brilliant narrator and really voiced Flavia perfectly.  My only complaint was her voice for Daphne.  She made her sound like an old lady, when, in fact, Daphne is only a year or two older than Flavia.  If you enjoy audiobooks, I highly recommned trying the Flavia de Luce series via audiobook.

I absolutely love everything about this book.  Of course, Flavia is at her best, always trying to get one step ahead of the investigators to solve the mystery.  And watch out if you spoil Flavia’s plans, because she will be royally POed.  If you haven’t given these books a try, you should.  They are so unique, and even if mysteries aren’t your thing, you might love these.  I don’t love them for the mystery.  I love them for Flavia.

About Quinn

I'm a twenty-something children's librarian at a public library in Central New York. I've long left my teen years behind me, but I love to read YA and children's books. I have two adorable dogs. Ginger is a mix between a poodle and havanese, and Daphne is Bichon Frise. Other things I love: Favorite Movie: Singing in the Rain Favorite Book: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Favorite TV Show: Monk
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6 Responses to Audio Review: Speaking from Among the Bones by Alan Bradley

  1. Candice says:

    This sounds like such an incredible series! I love that it’s meant for adults but features a child MC. Very different! I’ll have to check these out sometime!

    • Quinn says:

      You really should. They are so much fun, and Flavia is just the most awesome character ever. I also love that it’s meant for adults with a child for the MC.

  2. I’ve seen this series around, but have never tried it. I’m always on the hunt for good audiobooks so I think I may give this a try. Awesome review!

  3. I want to read this one, I love girl detective stories!

    • Quinn says:

      You really should. I think you would get a kick out of Flavia, and the setting is awesome. I would love to see one of your picture reviews for one of these books. And the audiobook is fantastic!

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