The Serpent Papers

The Serpent Papers

Book - 2015
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Barcelona, Summer 2003. Three women are sacrificed to an unknown purpose, skin carved with a cryptic alphabet, tongues cut from their mouths. Sent beautiful, sinister letters (clues, or confessions?) Inspector Fabregat cannot decipher the warnings within. As Barcelona explodes in revelry on the Festival of St Joan, Natalia Hernandez, flower of the National Theatre and Catalan idol, lies broken on the steps of the Cathedral. The city bays for blood, Fabregat chases a shadow-like suspect and signs that whisper of secrets beyond his grasp. Barcelona, Winter 2014. Anna Verco, academic, book thief, savant, unearths letters hidden for centuries from a lightning-struck chapel in Mallorca. What they reveal compels her and Fabregat to reignite the Hernandez investigation. Every page she turns conceals a coded message; every street she treads leads her deeper into the labyrinth. As Fabregat baits her with suspects, and threats darken her steps, Anna hunts her own prey, the book that began it all, a medieval revelation written in the language of witches and alchemists: The Serpent Papers. Anna believes this book will unlock the mystery. She does not yet know she is the key.
Publisher: Toronto, Ontario :, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd,, 2015.
ISBN: 9781443435734
Characteristics: 479 pages : map ; 23 cm.

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TEENREVIEWBOARD
Jul 09, 2019

The Serpent Papers looks like an amazing book at first glance. It seems to be about crime, and alchemy, and ancient stories. The synthesis is incredibly interesting and easily draws you in. If only the rest of the book was like that. The plot is confusing, and the story jumps all over the place. None of the characters are very interesting or seem to have much personality or emotion at all. Sometimes they start speaking a different language out of nowhere. This book is one you would have to force yourself to read if you actually wanted to get through the entire thing because it's just so hard to read and enjoy.
The writing is terrible. I'm reluctant to even go through the book to find an example. Therefore, one example people seem to notice often is 'My eyes read hungrily, my mouth hanging open, I can feel my tongue grow heavy, treading over the letters' on page twenty-four. It just turns people away. It doesn't sound good, or appealing.
I feel as though even giving this story a two out of five is being polite. I was heavily tempted to give it a single rating of one out of five. It feels like it needs to be edited, or rewritten completely to even start to make sense. I do not recommend reading this book.
@Reaper of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

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