Mini ARC Reviews: The Key in the Lock & The Chosen Twelve

Here we go! The first reviews of 2022! I decided to do two mini reviews this week from some ARCs I read earlier this year. I didn’t have loads of thoughts on both books so I thought I would combine the two reviews together in one post!

The Key in the Lock Review

  • Author: Beth Underdown
  • Series: Standalone
  • Genre: Historical Mystery
  • No. of pages: 304
  • Publisher: Viking
  • Release Date: 13/01/2022
  • Dates read: 03.01.2022 – 06.01.2022
  • Star Rating: 2.5 stars

Plot: By day, Ivy Boscawen mourns the loss of her son Tim in the Great War. But by night she mourns another boy – one whose death decades ago haunts her still. For Ivy is sure that there is more to what happened all those years ago: the fire at the Great House, and the terrible events that came after. A truth she must uncover, if she is ever to be free.

We follow two different plot lines in this story both of which are told from the point of view of our main character, Ivy. 1. Set in 1888 and follows Ivy as she tries to figure out what happened when a major fire broke out in a rich family’s home. 2. We see her just after she finds out the death of her son during World War 1. While I understand the certain need plot wise for the 1918 storyline and how it serves the greater arc of the novel, I just wish the focus of the book had just been the mystery surrounding the fire at the house in 1888. It was by far the more interesting story and the one I found to be more engaging.

The mystery itself was super interesting and in my opinion had a satisfying ending (most of which I guessed early on) but quite a lot of the book was filled with filler comments, moments and reflections by the main character Ivy which I just didn’t enjoy. I felt that the mystery held up the novel as I was bored reading Ivy talk about her life and her relationships to people, the regrets she had from 1888 and onwards and while I appreciated her and her struggle I found her to be quite annoying. A kind character but also quite boring. This made the more character focused sections of the plot to be quite slow going and I craved more of the mystery that drew me to request this book. 


The Chosen Twelve Review

  • Author: James Breakwell
  • Series: Standalone
  • Genre: Sci-Fi
  • No. of pages: 384
  • Publisher: Solaris
  • Release Date: 18/01/2022
  • Dates read: 07.01.2022 – 13.01.2022
  • Star Rating: DNF 60% into novel

Plot: The last interstellar colony ship is down to its final batch of humans after the robots in charge unhelpfully deleted the rest. But rebooting a species and training them for the arduous task of colonisation isn’t easy – especially when the planet below is filled with monsters, the humans are more interested in asking questions than learning, and the robots are all programmed to kill each other. But the fate of humanity rests on creating a new civilization on the planet below, and there are twelve seats on the lander. Will manipulation or loyalty save the day?

Now I don’t normally review books that I DNF but since I was sent this by the publisher in exchange for an honest review… here it is!

This book started off great. I felt that the main characters were set up well and while it was confusing to try and figure out what was going on in this story I was in for the ride! But unfortunately it lost momentum very quickly and I just felt I was waiting around for ages for things to happen. It was a lot of sitting around and talking or characters entering a simulation which ,despite the variation in the simulation, it just got repetitive and boring. Also, I was 60% into the novel before I DNFd and I still couldn’t tell you much about the backstory of the novel and how the characters got to where we see them from page 1 as it was just not structured or really explained very well.

This book was marketed as being a bit like The Hunger Games, with the 24 characters fighting/killing each other for those 12 places, and I was just waiting to see that come to fruition but it never happened. It felt a bit of a let down that 60% into the book and nothing really occurred. I felt that it was a super interesting premise but just didn’t grab me. 

The next book I will be reviewing is The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett!

2 thoughts on “Mini ARC Reviews: The Key in the Lock & The Chosen Twelve

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