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Book 133: "The Hanged Man" by P.N. Elrod

Title: The Hanged Man (Her Majesty's Psychic Service #1)
Author: P.N. Elrod
Genre: Paranormal, Historical, Slightly Steampunk
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Read In: Nook ePub

The Hanged Man is set in the late Victorian England. It is an alternate history where the paranormal exist and are integrated into society. The main character is a Reader. In other words, she reads the emotions of places, people, and things; much like psychic (though not the fortune telling kind). In England, Readers are used to help Scotland Yard in the investigation of crimes. Basically they read the emotions of the crime scene and provide clues from those emotions. Their sector is called her Majesty's Psychic Service and is considered a separate piece of the government. Like most books in this vein, there is a mystery and a secret society that are at play.

I had high hopes for this book. It was recommended by Gail Carriger, author of the Parasol Protectorate Series, on her blog. Unfortunately the book did not live up to my hopes. Though decently written (though admittedly, I found a memorable amount of typos), the book had a very weak beginning and end. The beginning took quite a while before I was really interested in what was going on. I try to not hold this against a book, I've read many slow starters that have ended up one of my favorites. However in such a short novel, slow beginnings are taking a risk on losing the reader and not having enough time to develop the rest of the plot. The end was just that. It ended. Not a cliff-hanger, but not a solid conclusion either. I was actually surprised there was not at least one or two more pages. It just stopped. The plot was slightly gripping, but what kept me reading this book was the characters.

The characters are rich and well-developed. Those that are flat, are at least entertaining. They were, to me, the saving grace of this book. They were what kept me interested and reading. This is obviously set up to be a series; I will most likely read the next book due to love of the characters and curiosity. But if not much improvement is made in plot, I will most likely not read further than that. If you choose to read this book, expect awesome characters and plot that leaves some to be desiring, but overall, an entertaining book.


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