Bookish Discussions

Things in Jars | Victorian Detective Story with Scientific Twist

I was *really* intrigued by this, patiently waiting for its paperback release, but it didn’t live up to my expectations…A7B98D09-579B-45B0-9B23-82ED52E1FEDC.jpg

London, 1863. A strange puzzle has reached Bridie Devine, the finest female detective of her age. To recover a stole child, Bridie must enter the dark world of medical curiosities. The public love a spectacle and this child may as well prove the most remarkable spectacle London has ever seen.

I knew Things in Jars was about the so-called “curiosities” of people – the title gives that away – but I thought it would focus on disfigurements or disabilities, as these would have been true curiosities to the Victorians. I didn’t expect the fantastical element to the story, where the curiosities are things that are not entirely possible.

All I’m trying to say is: I thought Things in Jars would be a fun exploration of the growing interest in and understanding of Victorian science. In a way, it was, as it shone light on a certain movement in science, but the impossible element to it made it seem a little…off.

It just didn’t have the right feel to it, y’know?

I can totally understand why Jess Kidd might not have wrote it this way – it brings up some ethical questions, which would have been her downfall if done incorrectly, but I just thought it would shed light on how Victorian science viewed people who were different. Real different. Not made-up different.

I don’t know if I’m making any sense here…

Kidd could have attacked the Victorians for their treatment of people who are different.

Don’t get me wrong. I liked everything else about the book. It was fast paced and riveting. I was never bored of the story; I actually wanted to carry on reading it whenever I had to leave for work. The characters were phenomenal – criminals and detectives, bad guys and good – a whole bunch of people who complimented each other.

I did really like it, but I just thought the plot would have been a little more, how shall we put it, real? Life-like? Believable? 

Have you read Things in Jars? Does it sound like something you’d enjoy? I liked it but it didn’t “wow” me, so I gave it 3***!

Thanks for reading, Lauren X

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