Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Review: Every Breath (Every #1) by Ellie Marney

Firstly, thanks to Allen & Unwin for this review copy <3

Date Read: August 15 - 20 2013
Release Date: September 1 2013
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Source: Review copy via publisher
Genre: Australian Contemporary/Mystery
My rating:  

"Rachel Watts is an unwilling new arrival to Melbourne from the country. James Mycroft is her neighbour, an intriguingly troubled seventeen-year-old genius with a passion for forensics. Despite her misgivings, Rachel finds herself unable to resist Mycroft when he wants her help investigating a murder. And when Watts and Mycroft follow a trail to the cold-blooded killer, they find themselves in the lion's den - literally.

A night at the zoo will never have quite the same meaning again..."


“His throat is a mess of red, bright and dark, all the reds there are in the world, red seeping down his neck, red bleeding over the front of his chest, staining his dirty shirt.”

I want to point out that the majority of this book was enjoyable and my rating is definitely biased with regards to the amount of books I’ve read, TV I’ve watched (especially crime shows) and my having read a bit of Conan Doyle. Because of this, I seem to have this skill to figure out the plot at the beginning of the show/book and know who the culprit is. There are always clues and some writers make it more obvious than others. Not everybody notices this though, but I do and it’s a serious kill joy when writers do the same thing that others have used before. Sadly for me, Every Breath followed a much overused crime twist.

In the city of Melbourne, teenagers Rachel Watts and James Mycroft are drawn further and further in to a murder of a homeless man they could call a friend. Mycroft’s inquisitive nature won’t let him stop thinking about why anybody would want to murder a homeless man. As the evidence they find builds but doesn’t add up to what the police say, the pair take matters into their own hands and before long, they’re in over their heads…

The protagonist Rachel Watts was someone whose voice I really enjoyed reading. She’s struggling with her family’s move from a farm to Melbourne’s city and I could understand her frustration at trying to assimilate with the city life while her family struggled financially. I enjoyed her realism and I thought Marney did a great job of writing the voice of a 17 year-old girl. I really liked the way Rachel tried to discourage James from investigating the murder as she voiced that they didn’t have the right resources – which was true as they’re young and not even adults, not to mention how dangerous it would be to pursue a killer. Basically, I liked that she had a head on her shoulders and her loved her strength.

James “Mycroft” was probably my second biggest issue with Every Breath. He’s obviously damaged and his past is shrouded in mystery. Mycroft is pretty much a child prodigy, he’s an absolute genius and I could see Marney draw the parallel with Sherlock/Mycroft Holmes. However, whereas Holmes saw the consequences of his actions, James – predictably, as a teenager with limits – most of the time didn’t consider the consequences of acting on his hunches. I understood that Marney was trying to humanise him by making him miss things or be pre-occupied with his past, but it took away from the genius of Sherlock who was able to separate himself from everything to solve mysteries. And this was where I was so conflicted – as a teenager, James couldn’t be anything like Sherlock and yet I expected this parallel.

“This is me and James – Watts and Mycroft. Two people united by fate, or random chance, or the law of averages, or destiny, or a freak of nature, or pure dumb luck.”

I wasn’t sure about the budding romance between Rachel and James. Watson and Holmes are one of the pairings that no matter the remake, I’m always a bit hesitant to think of as a couple because they work so well platonically. Even by the end I was a bit unsure of it but I will definitely be reading Every Word so will see how that goes.

The plot was where the book fell short for me. I knew who the culprit was but I was hoping beyond hope it wasn’t true because it would follow the cliché format of all the crime/mystery shows I watched. I wanted to be wrong, to be blown away by an unsuspecting person and by clues I hadn’t seen. Sadly, this was not the case; all the clues I saw pointed so obviously to the culprit. And motive? Cliché cliché. The motive was just your average murder mystery which I guessed immediately.

There is no denying Marney’s writing is fantastic. I was immediately hooked in the book and she has strong characters that I could see paralleled with those in Doyle’s work. She uses the Melbourne city as a perfect setting that brings the artistic flair of Melbourne through perfectly.

“Everything in the space is splotched, splashed, dripped and drizzled with colour, standing out in high relief against the pristine walls.”

Overall, I did enjoy this despite the plot. I’m a definite black sheep here. I can safely say many people would enjoy this because the people I know who did read this, had no idea who the culprit was. I don’t think most people would know which is why I think everyone would enjoy this; do try it out because this is a great Aussie YA with wonderful writing and I’m 100% going to get my hands on a copy of Every Word!

“We only have speculation. We don’t have enough facts to work out a theory.”


  1. I guessed it as well, actually, but I was still really shocked by the way it played out. Love this series and the author so much! I don't watch too many crime shows (except Sherlock) so I guess that's a plus, because things don't seem cliche to me. I hope you enjoy Every Word :D

    1. I expected everything :/ but I love how well it's written and I think I'll really enjoy Every Word :D