Book Reviews

Review: Spectacle by Jodie Lynn Zdrok

Spectacle is a thrilling paranormal murder mystery. It’s the kind of book that I had to remind myself to take a break to eat. If you like murder mysteries, serial killers, and un-explainable powers, then this book is for you.


Sixteen-year-old Nathalie Baudin writes the daily morgue column for Le Petit Journal. Her job is to summarize each day’s new arrivals, a task she finds both fascinating and routine. That is, until the day she has a vision of the newest body, a young woman, being murdered–from the perspective of the murderer himself.

When the body of another woman is retrieved from the Seine days later, Paris begins to buzz with rumors that this victim may not be the last. Nathalie’s search for answers sends her down a long, twisty road involving her mentally ill aunt, a brilliant but deluded scientist, and eventually into the Parisian Catacombs. As the killer continues to haunt the streets of Paris, it becomes clear that Nathalie’s strange new ability may make her the only one who can discover the killer’s identity–and she’ll have to do it before she becomes a target herself.


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

Spectacle is one of those historical fantasy books that is able to serve up the right story with all the flairs of the past. If you’ve been searching for a book that is full of mystery, mysterious powers, and power that can be both a blessing and curse. I knew I was going to really enjoy Spectacle from the beginning. What I wasn’t counting on, is how obsessed I would be. Whether you’re in the mood for a story about a girl discovering her powers (and struggling with the question of using them), or a good murder mystery, you’re in for a treat.

Important Questions

Whenever you have books where the characters have dangerous powers, the question always comes up – should we use our powers? And what is the cost? Magic without a price has never made sense to me. And that’s part of what I love about Zdrok’s book – is that not only does everyone’s magic speak to a very intimate piece of themselves, but it also exacts a hefty toll. Without going into a lot of detail about the magic in this book, in Spectacle we witness characters using their powers for good, for an advantage, for cons, and for something entirely more sinister.

Another question that Spectacle asks us is whether we are willing to sacrifice ourselves for the greater good. We see heroes who are selfless, who eagerly throw themselves in harms way with almost a reckless abandon. But in Spectacle we observe characters who truly struggle with this decision. It isn’t an easy one to sign away our agency, and never look back. In some cases, a hero is simply there from the beginning, but in other cases, one is made. Not without flaws, mistakes, and heart ache, but discovered within us.


Nathalie was a character I knew I was going to like from the very beginning of the book. She has both a tender heartedness combined with a power to see the world for what it is. Zdrok is able to unravel a stunning and delicate mystery for us, while wrapping us up in intrigue as we watch the spectacle in front of us. At the same time Zdrok weaves us not only a fantastic historical fiction, but a beautifully written story. Spectacle is a book that revolves around a single moment having the power to change every moment after.

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


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