Review: Sensational by Jodie Lynn Zdrok

SensationalAuthor: Jodie Lynn Zdrok
Series: Spectacle #2
Publisher: Tor Teen
Released: February 11th, 2020
Received: NetGalley
Warnings: Graphic depictions of murder
Rating: 4 kitties

I received a copy of Sensational through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Sensational is the second novel in Jodie Lynn Zdrok’s Spectacle series. And dare I say that it surpasses the first novel? Set in an alternate version of Paris in 1889, this novel infuses fantasy elements with detailed character development, creating a thrilling tale.

Nathalie Baudin has come to terms with her being an Insightful. At times she may not love her gift, but who can blame her? For you see, Nathalie has a very specific gift – if placed in front of a body, she can witness the murder as it happens. From the murderer’s eyes. Still, she loves being able to help out, when she can. Even if it does tend to drag her into the most fascinating of dangers.

A fact that couldn’t be truer than ever, now that the World Fair has come to Paris. As it turns out, somebody else in this city has opted to celebrate the occasion as well, but by a series of beheadings that terrorize the streets of Paris.


“This wasn’t having a vision or reading a book. This wasn’t attending an execution. This was seeing something appalling and uncomfortably compelling.”

Spoiler Warning

Warnings: Sensational, much like Spectacle, features a variety of richly detailed scenes. Sometimes those scenes can become a bit much, as they depict graphic murders both during and after.

Sensational is a novel that lived up to its name. This novel was simply amazing, written in exquisite detail, full of lushly described scenes and careful character development. I was utterly enchanted by what Jodie Lynn Zdrok wrote here.

That is an impressive feat, giving the more graphic and garish nature of Nathalie’s job. Yet there was something so human and elegant about the way her story folded. There was a balance wrought here, as Nathalie’s personal life clashed with her career – and her talent.

I think what I love the most about this series (aside from the Insightfuls, but more on that in a moment) is how detailed each and every character is. Zdrok makes them come alive here, both the good and the bad. These characters are charming yet believable, meaning that sometimes it’s easy to disagree with them or dislike their actions.

As for the Insightful system? I adore it. I would happily read another dozen novels about them, if Jodie Lynn Zdrok was so inclined to write about them. It’s a fascinating element to the series, one that uses science to justify what would otherwise appear to be magic. I can’t get enough of it.

I loved the first novel when it came out, but I honestly think that I enjoyed this novel movie. Zdrok absolutely outdid herself here. And I for one can’t quite get over the story that she told. I also can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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