This was a very enjoyable, although slightly predictable, read!
After injuring herself in an accident, Tillie Pembroke awakes to find her entire life turned upside down. Her sister, Lucy, has been murdered in what appears to be a vampire attack, and Tillie begins to rely on opiates to relieve her physical and emotional pain. She resolves herself to finding her sister’s killer while battling an opiate addiction and attempting to evade the disapproving watch of her family.
I have to say, I really enjoyed this book despite not being a huge fan of the gothic genre in general. Usually gothic novels are very stiff in my opinion, and are somewhat challenging to read. Opium and Absinthe however was very fast-paced, enjoyable, and kept me turning pages until the end.
Although I was a fan of this, I feel it may not be for everyone. The murder-mystery aspect of it wasn’t the biggest draw, as I had figured out the “why” and was very close on the “who” at about 60% in. I don’t think that really hindered my enjoyment of the story though, because I was so invested in the journey and the way the novel was narrated. Nonetheless, more seasoned mystery lovers may be disappointed.
I also thought that the characters were not the most lovable; the only one I really liked was Ian, and maybe the newsies, though they were not a large part of the story. Tillie was almost unbearably naive. I understand that as this took place in the 1890s, Tillie lead a very sheltered life as one of the elites, but it still was a bit unbelievable. I was constantly torn between feeling great pity for her because of the way her family treats her, and anger at some of her decisions. Despite that, I did greatly admire her perseverance, and desire to pursue knowledge despite her family’s views on a woman’s place in society.
The setting was very entertaining in my opinion. I liked the historical New York setting, and was really able to enjoy it without the heavy tone gothic usually takes. It definitely helped with the feeling of suspense/mystery for me.
In the end, I can’t quite put in to words why I enjoyed this as much as I did. Nothing about it stuck out, but the writing/story flowed in a way that was very pleasant to read. If you’re looking for an easy and enjoyable read, I recommend giving this one a try.
Intended audience: Adult
Content warnings: assault, murder, death of a loved one, mentions of rape, drug abuse
Favorite Friday Topic: Favorite fantasy book