Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Two Bloggers One Book - The Jekyll Revelation



This month Stormi and I decided to read an ARC that's been sitting on our shelves for a few months (or technically on our Kindle) - The Jekyll Revelation by Robert Masello.  Stormi and I have chatted back and forth about it the past week or so and I'm interested to see her final review because I do believe this is a book I might have enjoyed a tad bit more than her.  Once you read my review, make sure to hop over to Stormi's blog and see what she thought.  Anyway, without further adieu...
TITLE: The Jekyll Revelation
AUTHOR: Robert Masello
PUBLISHER: 47 North
PUBLISHING DATE: November 8, 2016

FROM GOODREADS: While on routine patrol in the tinder-dry Topanga Canyon, environmental scientist Rafael Salazar expects to find animal poachers, not a dilapidated antique steamer trunk. Inside the peculiar case, he discovers a journal, written by the renowned Robert Louis Stevenson, which divulges ominous particulars about his creation of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It also promises to reveal a terrible secret—the identity of Jack the Ripper.

Unfortunately, the journal—whose macabre tale unfolds in an alternating narrative with Rafe’s—isn’t the only relic in the trunk, and Rafe isn’t the only one to purloin a souvenir. A mysterious flask containing the last drops of the grisly potion that inspired Jekyll and Hyde and spawned London’s most infamous killer has gone missing. And it has definitely fallen into the wrong hands.


MY THOUGHTS:  I have looked forward to reading this book for ages but never made time for it. So when one of my best blogging buddies suggested we read it together to feature on our "Two Bloggers One Book" I was thrilled. However, while it saddens me to admit it, "The Jekyll Revelation" is not the book for everyone. It is very slow in places and I think my love for Jack the Ripper and anything Gothic and Victorian in nature is what helped me through. Also, I would love to give the book 3.5/5 but since Goodreads simply doesn't allow it (and why not BTW?) I guess I must conform and because of the elements listed above, go with 4/5.

"The Jekyll Revelation" is told entirely in two alternating timelines. First you have Rafe Salazar who is an environmental scientist studying coyotes in drought-stricken Topanga, California. Then you have Robert Louis Stevenson's diary which tells the second tale. And let me warn you, it takes a LONG time for these two plot lines to link together in any real fashion. While working in the mountains one day, Rafe stumbles across an old trunk floating in a pond. He finds nothing of interest in it except for some old Victorian clothes and a journal written by none other than Stevenson himself. Rafe's tale takes him on an adventure which has him battling clandestine meth labs and bikers and fighting the feelings for his landlady while struggling to take care of his disabled sister as well and protect the canyon coyotes.

Stevenson's tale is one of mystery and intrigue, with a lot of information dumping scattered throughout. Battling an illness, he and his family travel to a remote location where he can receive experimental treatment. The doctor manages to infuse Stevenson with a tonic containing wolf blood which has some lasting effects on all who take it. Stevenson, who is famous for "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" starting penning the famous novel and as time progresses, we learn of his true inspiration for his tale. Also, around the same time, Jack the Ripper begins stalking his prey but is there a connection to Stevenson and his groundbreaking horror tale?

Masello must have a heck of an imagination because there are so many different elements in this book and as if there werem't enough, he even throws a popular theater owner - Bram Stoker - into the mix. At times I found the book confusing and hard to follow and I honestly think Masello could have written two separate tales and the stories would have been just as good. The two really only overlap at the very end and while it was a nice connection, it could have went without happening. Also, maybe I missed something but I think there was an element that never did get wrapped up well. Rafe finds giant tracks in Topanga early in the novel which could not possible belong to the coyotes he's tracking and I'm not sure if the reader ever really learns where they came from. Miranda, the landlady, also encounters that giant wolf and unless I'm mistaken, it's presence is never explained well.

So in retrospect, which sometimes happens after putting my thoughts down on "paper," I'm going with 3/5. I liked the book but it didn't overwhelm me and since I've now taken a good look at my thoughts, I realize quite a few flaws have grabbed hold of my book-filled mind. Overall, if you like Gothic takes, are fascinated with Jack the Ripper (like I apparently am) and don't mind dueling timelines, you might enjoy "The Jekyll Revelation." Just don't prepare for a quick read and at best, just enjoy the slow ride through some often confusing and sometimes terrifying landscapes.


RATING: 3 PAWS
 

18 comments:

  1. As much as I like Jack the Ripper I think this would be way too slow for me. Great review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it would to. You definitely like more action in your books than this one contains!

      Delete
  2. The pacing would turn me off this big time, though I do like this blurb. Dammit ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was disappointed too. At least I found some interesting thoughts about it. I really liked Rafe and his story. Of course I didn't mind the other story altogether either. They just didn't mash up well to me.

      Delete
  3. We are a balance, you liked it I hated it. :) I hope this isn't a trend with our reads, I hate one I like one I hate one...lol. :) Next one will be better! :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am just fine with slower books and this one sounds so good. Jekyll and Hyde is still a great story to mine for inspirations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you don't mind slow pacing, then definitely give it a go. I do think the author has a great imagination.

      Delete
  5. I know I don't have the patience for this. Thanks for the honest review, Barb!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Probably a wise choice unfortunately.

      Delete
  6. Well, I was really liking the sound of this, dark, gothic, Victorian, Jack - it was all sounding good, but then, I'm thinking if you put your score down to 3/5 it obviously lost something in the telling.
    Lynn :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yea, it was all in how it meshed. It took it too long. At least I don't regret reading it.

      Delete
  7. Dual timelines don't always work for me. I think that if they don't meet up for a long time like in this book it just becomes too much. Great review!

    ReplyDelete
  8. After reading your review, I'd say 3 stars is fair, Barb. It seems there were elements you enjoyed but there were also quite a few that you didn't. I'm a fan of Gothic lit and Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde - although maybe not as much as you ;) - but I think I'd be hesitant to pick up this one, mainly because of the slow pace and the timelines. Nice review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yea and there's an element of the book I never did figure out. Stormi never really thought the element was resolved as well which is good because I was thinking maybe I missed something big!

      Delete
  9. I love gothic tales but I'm not a big fan of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. stories so even though it seems a lot of work went into this one with the alternative timelines I can't handle well lotsa information dumping which seems to be very frequent in mystery so I think 3 starts is more than OK for this book :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yea, I'm not sorry I read it but did expect a lot more out of it. It's rather long too which although I like long books, I don't think it helped the cause.

      Delete