Thank you NetGalley and Tor Books for this ARC. All thoughts and opinions are mine.
Synopsis: 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 in 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. (Amazon)
Publication Date: June 23, 2020
Genre: Fantasy / Historical Fiction / Mystery
Rating: 4 stars
***BEWARE POSSIBLE SPOILERS***
Welcome, to a Sherlock Holmes and John Watson-inspired mystery with vampires. And angels. And werewolves. Oh my!
Despite my great love for mystery novels, I've never read an original Holmes' story, much to my chagrin. And no matter how often I tell myself to remedy this set-back, new books continue to fall into my hands. Who am I to resist? I have, however, heard plenty of synopses for a few of these stories over the years, so it wasn't difficult to pick up on the theme of The Angel of the Crows as soon as I began to read.
In the likeness of Sherlock Holmes, we have Crow, the Angel of London. He's brilliant, amusing, thinks well outside the box, and is highly sought after by Scotland Yard. And in Watson's stead we have Dr. Doyle, a physician who has been discharged from his service in the military after a run-in with a Fallen angel that has left him not just injured, but in need of keeping a rather big and illegal secret about himself.
The composition of this book is clever: it's told through stories within the main plot of the novel. Featuring Holmes and Watson, one expects to (hopefully) explore their classical tales. And The Angel of the Crows does not disappoint. At the heart of it all is Crow's obsession with finding the murderer we now know as Jack the Ripper. Constantly called in by Scotland Yard to assist, he usually brings Doyle along so that he may offer his expertise. And as we close in on Jack, we're taken through the different investigative jobs that many come to Crow given his sleuthing popularity.
Despite the fact that the story is read through Doyle POV, and he is, in essence, the main lead, Crow steals the spotlight. It might be that as the embodiment of Sherlock Holmes he has no choice, but as his own character, he's fantastic. Not only was it incredibly enjoyable and interesting to learn, by his own words, how the angels' caste system and politics work in this novel, but Crow is simply endearing to know. He's intelligent, yes. And he's certainly quick-witted and fast to take charge. But behind all that, and for all that they state that angels don't show human emotion as much as they rather learn how to mimic it, he's got a protective and warm core that puts Doyle at the top of his small group of cared ones. You can't help but like him.
Even though Doyle and Crow are the two characters that we naturally become best acquainted with, there's a big cast to enjoy, and even an entertaining handful of encounters with Moriarty in the role of Vampire. You can imagine how fond of him Crow is. The various tales that run circles around Jack the Ripper are as absorbing as one might expect with two leads such as these, and full of the supernatural. I was especially fond of Doyle's visit to Dartmoor to look behind the riddle of the hound of the Baskervilles.
The Angel of the Crows smoothly transports the reader to the streets of London during the late 1800s in its style of writing. It's fast-paced, compulsory to read, and has a few surprises that were not even remotely expected, and will delight in their reveal.
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