Book Reviews

The Last Smile in Sunder City by Luke Arnold

9780356512884

A former soldier turned PI tries to help the fantasy creatures whose lives he ruined in a world that’s lost its magic in a compelling urban fantasy by Black Sails actor Luke Arnold.

I’m Fetch Phillips, just like it says on the window. There are a few things you should know before you hire me:
1. Sobriety costs extra.
2. My services are confidential – the cops can never make me talk.
3. I don’t work for humans.

It’s nothing personal – I’m human myself. But after what happened, Humans don’t need my help. Not like every other creature who had the magic ripped out of them when the Coda came…
I just want one real case. One chance to do something good.
Because it’s my fault the magic is never coming back.

This book is Arnold’s debut novel and the first book in a new contemporary/urban fantasy series.

I’m going to be honest; the first chapter did not grab me. In fact, it left me rather underwhelmed and it read like someone new to writing wrote it. It took me about two chapters to get my head around the world this novel is set in, and there is a lot of instances of information dumping, especially early on in the book.

However, the further into the book I got, the more I found myself swept up in the story and enjoying it immensely. I have hopes that as this series goes on, the books will reveal more of the larger story, and give us some great minor plot lines, and that the writing will continue to improve with experience. This first book is my no means perfect, but it shows a lot of promise for the series to get better and better.

Despite the info dumping, I actually really did reading about the back history to the world, and the creation stories of all the different magical creatures, but I’m a bit of a history nerd like that. This book has the feel of a cross between Rivers of London and a hard boiled detective/crime fiction novel. If you enjoy the work of Ben Aaronovitch, then this book is definitely worth checking out.

Rating: 4/5

Australian Publication Date: 28th January 2020