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There was so much more Alan Bradley could have done with this book that I find it especially disappointing. Flavia is marvelous, as always, and I was really looking forward to reading about her in a school setting. The joys of having access to a whole new set of information, meeting kids her own age, making lifelong connections – this could have been several books of watching Flavia grow in an environment that could hone her skills and with people who could challenge her in new ways. Instead, we got an uneven and choppy book that felt like filler rather than something that advanced Flavia’s story.
Flavia noticing things other people don’t at home made sense a combination average village life dulling the senses of the adults around and an extraordinarily precocious child make for a perfect combination. Miss Bodycote’s is, however, supposed to be home to a group of people dedicated to turning out, for lack of a better term, spies. And yet Flavia easily gets away with her tricks, no one has noticed the bits of the mystery that she does, and no one will really talk to her about what’s going on when she's supposed to be part of an inner sanctum. Quite honestly, the story practically doesn't make any sense at all.
So why three stars when I really wanted to give it two? Because it’s Flavia. I really do adore the character and there are a few others introduced I thought were fun and interesting.
As for the performance – Jane Entwistle always gets 5 stars. Her narrative style is terrific: pronunciation, pacing, and characterization are always top notch!
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
Only if the friend had previously read the rest of the series. I don't think Flavia's character quirkiness is explained well enough.
Would you recommend As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust to your friends? Why or why not?
I agree with several other reviews. There was something lacking in the flow. Too much "not now", "I can't tell you that", etc. The ending was abrupt, as well. What was the point of the school? Flavia was there for what, a week? Two? Frankly, it left me with more questions than answers.
Have you listened to any of Jayne Entwistle’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
Jayne Entwistle is perfect, as usual. Even though I own the books to read, it is much better to listen to Jayne's interpretation. She puts in the nuances and British accent that my mind can't quite do.
Do you think As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?
There should definitely be another book. Did Flavia actually learn anything at the school? Has she matured in any way? What is going to happen to Flavia when she returns to Buckshaw? How will the financial crisis be resolved? Will Feely and Daphne be nicer? Inquiring minds want to know.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful