A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlRead Review
The setting: Razorhurst, 1932. The fragile peace between two competing mob bosses—Gloriana Nelson and Mr Davidson—is crumbling. Loyalties are shifting. Betrayals threaten.
Kelpie knows the dangers of the Sydney streets. Ghosts have kept her alive, steering her to food and safety, but they are also her torment.
Dymphna is Gloriana Nelson’s ‘best girl’, experienced in surviving the criminal world, but she doesn’t know what this day has in store for her.
When Dymphna meets Kelpie over the corpse of Jimmy Palmer, Dymphna’s latest boyfriend, she pronounces herself Kelpie’s new protector. But Dymphna’s life is in danger too, and she needs an ally. And while Jimmy’s ghost wants to help, the dead cannot protect the living . . .
Set in 1930's Sydney, Razorhurst is a piece of YA historical fiction that doesn't shy away from the gritty mob warfare and criminal undercurrents of the time. As a big fan of the genre already, I was definitely impressed with Justine Larbalestier when she delivered something so impressive. Full of dynamic characters and a plot which delves into mystery with a paranormal twist, I can certainly say that I will definitely be reading more of this author's work in the future!
One thing which I found really interesting in this book was the setting. The map at the beginning serves as a reminder of the streets and places which Dymphna and Kelpie find themselves in, and added that little extra bit of reality to the story. This novel delves into the 'underbelly' of Surry Hills and gives some insight into the darker side of town. With two ruling mobs over Razorhurst, there's no wonder that people would want to be looking over their shoulders.
Kelpie and Dymphna themselves were two really interesting characters to read about. After meeting over a dead body, the two strike up an unlikely friendship of sorts. Aided by the fact that they both can see ghosts, their tale is definitely an interesting one. I like how the paranormal aspect came into play, and even though it did get a tad confusing at times over just who the ghosts were in the scheme of things, overall this aspect added that extra little twist to this already fascinating story. The writing style itself suited the nature of the book, and even though the third person perspective did at times seem a bit impersonal, the distinct voices of Dymphna and Kelpie still shone through with their own POV's scattered throughout the chapters.
In conclusion, Razorhurst is definitely an impressive book which ticks the right boxes and delivers what it promises. I can't wait to see what Justine Larbalestier writes next, and if this is anything to go by - it's going to be amazing.