The Book of the Most Precious Substance by Sara Gran

Lily had the perfect life, her book was receiving great reviews and she was went on globetrotting book tours, her partner Abel seems to be perfect in every way. Then tragedy erupts in her life when Abel starts to show signs of dementia. In order to survive, Lily starts to sell her book collection and leaves behind her writing life and becomes a full time bookseller. When another bookseller gives her a tip that there’s a buyer looking for one of the rarest occult books, known as The Book of the Most Previous Substance, Lily stars another adventure seeking down the book, seeing the money as a way to solve most of her problems.

I found out about this book as it was listed under ‘horror’ and ‘mystery and thriller’. The first few chapters of this book had me absolutely hooked, detailing Lily’s life and her selling books. I found it interesting and engaging right from the first page and just wanted to know what was going to happen next. I thought I was in for something quite special. Then as the book continued it was much more erotic than I was expecting, and I couldn’t find anything that I would class as horror in it at all.

Perhaps the biggest issue with this for me, is that I didn’t like the characters. Lily is a fine character at the beginning, but as she’s influenced by the magic within the book she’s seeking, she becomes much darker. Her business partner, Lucas, is supposed to be very charming, but I found him very slimy and unlikable. He didn’t come across as someone with the charisma that he was supposed to have.

The ending, is also a little poor. I could see most of it coming a mile off, and I found the twist a little rubbish. Then the final chapter wraps things up with one nice bit in the garden, which I thought was really well done, but it was an underwhelming ending to the mystery. Around halfway through the book it just fell into a formula of finding someone who had either owned a copy of the book, or knew someone who did, and just asking them for the next lead, as they were pretty much all willing to help.

I think overall, the book just wasn’t for me. It was well written, but I didn’t enjoy it. The mystery was pretty simple and hidden under a sex-filled shadow, that took up way too many pages. There are plenty of other reviews that have praised it, but if like me, you’re looking for a horror mystery, then this ain’t it.

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About ashleymanningwriter

Young Adult Fiction writer. Horror and fantasy blended together.
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