The Sweetpea series by C J Skuse is a series recommended to me by a fair few of my friends and one that I see a lot of people raving about online. In Bloom is the second in this series and sees us pick up Rhiannon’s story right after she’s just successfully had her cheating boyfriend sent to jail for the killings she’s committed.
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In Bloom carries right on after where Sweetpea finished. If you’ve not yet read Sweetpea you definitely need to – this isn’t a series where you can pick any of them up in any order. I ended up giving Sweetpea a 4/5 rating – these days I would probably have given it a 3.75 rating under my new scoring system.
The question is, does In Bloom do enough to carry on the sequel or does it fall into the same field as In Bloom where it lacked a little bit of story to make it a series I can truly go on to enjoy?
In Bloom plot – 3.5/5
In Bloom sees Rhiannon, our serial-killer protagonist hitch up at her ex-boyfriend’s parents’ house for comfort after they find out Craig (the ex-boyfriend) has been sent away for some horrible killings.
In In Bloom, Rhiannon, our main comedic killer is pregnant with her ex-lover’s child. Whenever she thinks or attempts to do anything bad, she seems to hear the baby speaking to her as some sort of moral compass. This begins the internal dialogue of whether she really should keep killing or not, despite how much she loves putting away bad people.
Once again with In Bloom, as was the case in Sweetpea nothing good ever really happens. There are a few tense-ish moments but other than that, this isn’t a book that’s going to blow your mind with a twisting plot and an adventure – it’s very much more about what it would really be like to be a secret serial killer in the modern world (not something I imagine many of us have thought about to be fair).
In Bloom characters – 4.5/5
I think the same message rings for In Bloom as it did for Sweetpea too. Rhiannon herself is an incredibly unique protagonist, unlike any you’ll read about in other books. She’s a likeable serial killer. She’s rude and she’s opinionated but she’s also got a good moral compass (her killings are only aimed towards the bad of society) and she’s hilarious to boot. A lot of her opinions are very relatable!
There are a few other characters in the book that pop up such as a potential best friend for Rhiannon and Craig’s parents who are both your typical British kind older people.
What does stop this book from having a 5/5 characters rating is that other than Rhiannon, nobody else really sticks out as worth paying any attention to. Yes, Craig’s parents are lovely and yes the best friend is quite fun but for a book to have a 5/5 character rating for me, all or most of the characters need to be standouts!
In Bloom final rating – 3.75/5
I think In Bloom falls into the same issues that Sweetpea did before it: the plot never really gets going, not a twisty, exciting tale and you’re constantly waiting for “the big event” to happen but it never really does.
However, it also brings over the massive positives: the down-to-earth writing style and the fascinating character that is Rhiannon. If you enjoyed Sweetpea, you’ll love In Bloom, if you were partial to Sweetpea then I wouldn’t expect In Bloom to blow you away.