Monday 27 April 2020

Book Review: The Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison (Fantasy/Alternate History)

Title: The Angel of the Crows
Author: Katherine Addison
Publication Date: 23 June 2020
eBook - EPUB
Fantasy/Alternate History
ARC via NetGalley


This is not the story you think it is. These are not the characters you think they are. This is not the book you are expecting.

In an alternate 1880s London, angels inhabit every public building, and vampires and werewolves walk the streets with human beings under a well-regulated truce. A fantastic utopia, except for a few things: Angels can Fall, and that Fall is like a nuclear bomb in both the physical and metaphysical worlds. And human beings remain human, with all their kindness and greed and passions and murderous intent.

Jack the Ripper stalks the streets of this London too. But this London has an Angel. The Angel of the Crows.

The Angel of the Crows is a book that I liked at times but that left me feeling cold at others. One thing the blurb doesn't make clear is that this story is also a Sherlock Holmes retelling. In fact, at the end, the Author's Note states that it started life as Sherlock fan fiction, and when I saw that a lot of things made more sense to me, as I'd felt the book had a fan-fiction feel as I was reading. I did like the alternate history take on late 19th century London, though at times I would have liked a little more explanation on some of the paranormal aspects. However, the main difficulty I had was that it was just too familiar. The main story line follows the Jack the Ripper murders, but in between Crow and Doyle solve several other famous Sherlock Holmes cases. Although it was interesting to see how the twists would work with this setting and these characters, the tales were still so familiar that I knew in advance roughly how everything would play out, which left me a little bored. I enjoyed this on one level, but at the same time, I was left questioning at the end exactly what this retelling added. If you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes retellings, or any retellings putting a fantasy spin on familiar stories, then I am sure you'll find something to love in The Angel of the Crowd. For me, it was a pleasant enough read, but it didn't blow me away, and I would give it 3.5 stars.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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