Perfectly Preventable Deaths by Deirdre Sullivan (book review).

November 8, 2020 | By | Reply More

‘Perfectly Preventable Deaths’ is a standalone novel by Deirdre Sullivan and the first one by her that I’ve read.

Catlin and Madeline are twins who are uprooted and moved to a small isolated town called Ballyfrann where they begin to grow apart. Catlin starts to fall for a local boy and Madeline starts to realise she has magic and that other magical creatures live in Ballyfrann. Madeline has to decide on what kind of person she is as her twin Catlin gets herself into a seriously dangerous situation. Will Madeline do anything to save her sister?

I really enjoyed this book with its lyrical writing style. By this I mean that the book is set in Ireland and I couldn’t help but read it in an Irish accent in my head. The phrasing of the words just felt exactly how I imagine the Irish accent to be in my head. Plus there were so many words and phrases in this book that you only ever hear in an Irish accent. It all just flowed along so easily.

Each chapter in this book is named after a plant with magical or medicinal properties, along with a few things the plant could be used for. I loved this element as it felt like we were learning a little of the craft that Madeline was partly aware of and now learning about. On the topic of Madeline and her powers, I enjoyed how we’re shown little bits and pieces of how her power has had an effect on her throughout her life. For example, she carries little salt packets around with her in her pockets for protection. She also feels the need to collect Rowan berries, also for protection.

The overall feel of this book is very dark and gothic with things moving in the shadows just out of your line of sight. We get to realise that things are not as they seem on the surface and it’s probably best to trust no-one in Ballyfrann. But, alongside this, there are lots of comic elements, some of which I laughed out loud at. The twins really can be so sharp and sarcastic when they talk to each other.

Overall, I loved this book and will definitely be reading more from this author if this is any indication of the level of her work. I really wish there were more books set in Ballyfrann from the point of view of some of the characters in this story. I’d also love to read more about Catlin and Madeline. But at the same time I realise that this book was the perfect little parcel and ended so beautifully that it might be spoiled if there were more. I wouldn’t be mad if there was a little novella, though.

Sarah Bruch

November 2020

(pub: Hot Key Books, 2020/ 358 page paperback. Price: £ 7.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-47140-823-6

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Category: Books, Fantasy

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