Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison

This book is gosh darned delightful. 

I was tempted to leave my review at that but I guess I should say more. 

Like many people, I first encountered Katherine Addison when I found the Goblin Emperor on a bunch of awards ballots. I was immediately enchanted. Within six months of reading it, I doubled back and listened to the audiobook. Goblin Emperor is charming and delightful and wonderful and even deeper than I realized the first time though. 

So I was thrilled beyond belief when Tor and NetGalley gave me an eARC for her new book, the Angel of the Crows. (I must’ve spent 15 minutes trying to explain to my bemused wife why I was so excited.) 

I have a shameful secret I must confess: when I start a new book, I often skip to the end to read the acknowledgments. I don’t exactly know why. I’ve been doing it for at least the last thirty years. I think it comes from reading single-author short story collections that have forwards and afterwards and really enjoying the authorial insight. I don’t want to have to wait until the end of a novel to get that insight, so I skip ahead. 

And am I glad I did! 

<spoiler alert> 

Ms. Addison explains at the end of the novel that this books genesis was in fanfic. Specifically, something called wingfic (which I have never heard of before, but is fanfic where a character has wings). She explained that the story began as wingfic from the BBC show Sherlock, the one with Benedict Cumberbatch. Understanding the DNA of the story really made me appreciate it more. 

The Sherlock analog is Crow, the angel of London, and the Watson analog is Dr. Doyle, and they become roommates and solve mysteries together in a world where werewolves and vampires are commonplace and it’s just wonderful! Sorry to gush. But as I said at the beginning, this book delights me to no end. The only possible complaint I could have with this book is that it feels a little episodic and the overarching plot seems thin, except that the overarching plot isn’t the heart of this novel, but instead it is the characters and relationships. 

I cannot enthuse enough about this book. Go buy it right now!

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