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The Ivy League Chronicles: 9 Squares (Book) Review

 
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At a Glance...
 

Page Count: 294
 
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Year Published:
 
Final Score
 
 
 
 
 
2.5/ 5


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Vivid historical references abound.

Not so much?


The author has simply tried to do too much, and the story gets lost.


Final Fiendish Findings?

he Ivy League Chronicles: 9 Squares is simply a book that tried to do far too much. The historical references are great; in fact, were you to cut out the mystery entirely and have just an accounting of the typical times, it would be interesting in that regard. The mystery, with the historical monologues pared down in such a way that they did not distract from the story, definitely has some things going for it: it’s fairly unpredictable; there is a sizable cast of interesting supporting characters; and it is a story without a lot of depth. However, it suffers from a somewhat pompous main character, far too many twists and turns to be believable, and an ending that leaves you with more questions than when it began. While The Ivy League Chronicles series has some merit, it simply needs more polishing to be truly great.

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Posted March 19, 2013 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings...
 
 

Author E.K. Prescott brings a mix of mystery, history, and paranormal…but does she hit the right combination, or is she simply trying to do too much?

The Ivy League Chronicles: 9 Squares is, at its heart, a mystery. When two young students on a picnic discover a skeleton buried in the sand, the corrupt members of a secret society will do everything in their power to keep certain things a secret. One of the students, Maize Judson, hopes that this will be the story that catapults her part time writing gig at her father’s paper into a real career in journalism. But it is Professor Detective Richard Wikki, a Scotland Yard transplant turned Yale professor who finds himself more immersed in the case than he would have thought possible. Dark forces are at work (and possibly some light ones as well), and he’ll have to put aside the tragedies in his past if he wants to uncover the truth of what is really happening in New Haven.

The Ivy League Chronicles: 9 Squares is set in the 1920’s, and the author has obviously done her research into the times, as historical references abound. From the state of the presidency to oilfield scandals to the latest dress, you’ll hear all about it. In fact, you’ll even hear the history of the towns the characters visit, the types of food and drinks that were popular, even the histories of various buildings – in great detail. I love historical accuracy in a book, and I love hearing little tidbits about the different times. Unfortunately, in 9 Squares it is done to such an extent that the actual storyline almost seems like an afterthought. Very often, the author literally writes for a page or two about these historical facts that don’t really have anything to do with the story line – and when that happens frequently, it is difficult to keep invested in the characters.

Along the same lines, perhaps meant as a nod to how men historically thought of women back then, Professor Detective Wikki is quite condescending to his female partner. Not only is there the whole attitude of taking the clues she finds and not actually sharing any of what is going on with her – to the point of actually lying to her while she does the footwork – there is numerous mentions of how women (and his partner in particular) just blabber on all the time and can’t just get to the point. As a reasonably intelligent female myself, I found it quite off-putting and it did not endear me at all to the main character, who should be the focal point of the story.

The Ivy League Chronicles: 9 Squares is simply a book that tried to do far too much. The historical references are great; in fact, were you to cut out the mystery entirely and have just an accounting of the typical times, it would be interesting in that regard. The mystery, with the historical monologues pared down in such a way that they did not distract from the story, definitely has some things going for it: it’s fairly unpredictable; there is a sizable cast of interesting supporting characters; and it is a story without a lot of depth. However, it suffers from a somewhat pompous main character, far too many twists and turns to be believable, and an ending that leaves you with more questions than when it began. While The Ivy League Chronicles series has some merit, it simply needs more polishing to be truly great.


Amy

 
U.S. Senior Editor & Deputy EIC, @averyzoe on Twitter, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @macanthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)