Book Review

Book Review : Poison Most Vial by Benedict Carey.

Book cover for Poison Most Vial by Benedict CareyMurder in the lab! The famous forensic scientist Dr. Ramachandran is stone-cold dead, and Ruby Rose’s father is the prime suspect. It’s one more reason for Ruby to hate the Gardens, the funky urban neighborhood to which she has been transplanted. Wise but shy, artistic but an outsider, Ruby must marshal everything and everyone she can to help solve the mystery and prove her father didn’t poison his boss. Everyone? The list isn’t too long: there’s T. Rex, Ruby’s big, goofy but goodhearted friend; maybe those other two weird kids from class; and that mysterious old lady in the apartment upstairs, who seems to know a lot about chemistry . . . which could come in very handy.

I finished reading this book a few days ago, and I’m still not entirely sure what to make of it. I definitely enjoyed it, it’s a fun read that whips along nicely, but it’s also a little odd and I didn’t feel properly satisfied by the time I put the book down.

The plot is quite a traditional whodunnit, Ruby is trying to find out who committed the crime her father is currently being accused of – she knows he’s innocent and wants to clear his name. There’s a real emphasis on problem solving and deduction, I think young fans of Sherlock Holmes will enjoy this aspect of it a lot.

Ruby, and her best friend Rex are decent leading characters, their friendship is well created and feels really genuine. They get help from two of their classmates, I liked the range of investigative skills that these teens had – that the hacker was a girl pleased me a lot.

I think my main difficulty with the book was that I wanted a bit more of everything. I wanted to understand the characters more, I wanted to get my head round the slightly odd school that Ruby attends more and I wanted to understand the town that the book’s set in more. I never felt like I’d got a complete grasp of things which left the overall reading experience lacking a little. There’s definitely a lot of promise in the book, I just wish it had lived up to it.

Poison Most Vial is published by Amulet Books in the UK. Whilst I was provided with a review copy of the book all of the opinions expressed are my own.