Book Reviews

Review: Sensational by Jodie Lynn Zdrok

Historical fantasy has to be one of my ultimate favorite genres. Spectacle and Sensational have been among the highlights! Murder mysteries, Paris, and reading corpses? Count me in!


The 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris is full of innovations, cultural displays, and inventions. Millions of visitors attend over the course of several months…so no one would notice if a few were missing, right? Maybe—but someone is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the guillotine with a display of their own: beheaded victims in some of the Exposition’s most popular exhibits.

Nathalie Baudin’s ability to see murder scenes should help, but she’s suffering the effects of her magic more than ever before. Fortunately she has other Insightfuls to team up with—if they can be trusted.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Sensational is….truly sensational. I love the world building which combines historical fiction, magic, and sights of the Eiffel Tour. Zdrok has created a world of Insightfuls – those gifted with magic which comes at a cost. For Nathalie she can see murder scenes, but it always takes her own memories away. In Sensational she is struggling with these consequences more than ever before, as well as the guilt from Spectacle. Her powers come at a price and in Sensational we are able to meet more Insightfuls whose relationship to their powers vary.

We are asked not only what would we do for our power, but what we do to rid ourselves of our power? There’s a distinct cost and responsibility which is explored in fascinating and ethical ways in Sensational. At the end we’re all humans underneath our powers. In Sensational there are many different levels of mystery and intrigue which will captivate you till the end. Who can we really trust and is no one safe from the consequences of Nathalie’s powers?

There are more ethical questions than ever before. And I wish there were a little time devoted to some of these conflicts, because I’d love to see how they play out. Who is Nathalie at the end of the day? What are the consequences for the lives of the Insightfuls?

Find Sensational on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound & The Book Depository.


What is your favorite historical fantasy? I also love Girl in the Red Balloon!

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4 thoughts on “Review: Sensational by Jodie Lynn Zdrok

  1. This series sounds quite spectacular! You know, I was just looking at the blurb and it just reminded me of The Gilded Wolves (a really good historical fantasy) because it also had an Exposition Universelle! I feel like murder scene/memory loss is such an interesting idea of high gain/high cost magic which I don’t see that often. I was recently reading a fantasy book where the characters could seemingly wield powerful spells without much limits, and I did wish for more.

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