Author: Dana Schwarz
Title: Anatomy: A Love Story
Hazel Sinnett is a lady who wants to be a surgeon more than she wants to marry.
Jack Currer is a resurrection man who’s just trying to survive in a city where it’s too easy to die.
When the two of them have a chance encounter outside the Edinburgh Anatomist’s Society, Hazel thinks nothing of it at first. But after she gets kicked out of renowned surgeon Dr. Beecham’s lectures for being the wrong gender, she realizes that her new acquaintance might be more helpful than she first thought. Because Hazel has made a deal with Dr. Beecham: if she can pass the medical examination on her own, the university will allow her to enroll. Without official lessons, though, Hazel will need more than just her books – she’ll need bodies to study, corpses to dissect.
Lucky that she’s made the acquaintance of someone who digs them up for a living, then.
But Jack has his own problems: strange men have been seen skulking around cemeteries, his friends are disappearing off the streets. Hazel and Jack work together to uncover the secrets buried not just in unmarked graves, but in the very heart of Edinburgh society.
After finishing the book I felt confused for a while. Then I realised “Oh. This is a sequel hook. That’s a lot less weird.” (Is this book officially first in a series? No, but I’m sure the author wants to write more.) And then I realised I have zero interest in reading possible sequels because the book is simply very very mediocre. It has some great ideas but the execution is well…mediocre. The supernatural mystery is cool but by the time you really get there, the book is almost over. Before that, most of the time is spent on Hazel’s attempt at getting into the anatomy lectures. If it wasn’t for the blurb one could read quite a lot of the book without noticing this is a mystery (and even more without noticing it’s fantasy).
Besides, the book simply wasn’t long enough to give all the plotlines the attention they deserved. Apart from the mystery being over after it’s barely established, the romance also fell flat. Jack is there. He’s useful to her. They make out on a grave (Mary Shelley would be proud). Suddenly they’re the loves of each other’s lives. There was no…getting to know each other, no slow acknowledgement of feelings, nothing I would expect from a book that comes with the subtitle A Love Story.
And Jack wasn’t the only character who didn’t feel properly established. All upper-class characters (except Hazel of course) are thoughtless horrible snobs: Hazel’s brother who’s a little tyrant, her mother who only cares about him but not her, various ladies who (unlike Hazel) care about clothes and are therefore stupid and vain, her childhood friend who forces her into an engagement, just about everyone who considers the poor some disgusting strange creatures. Meanwhile, the lower and servant classes are all cheerful (no matter what happens to them), resilient and they love Hazel. Yeah. I just don’t think I want more of that.