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2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 25 books toward her goal of 175 books.
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Book Review: The Year of the Knife by G.D. Penman

This was an EXCELLENT find… It vaguely reminded me in bits of Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series, with a mystery at the heart of a magical alt-world – but the mystery in this one was handled even better than Aaronovitch’s often are (and I *really* like his books), which made it even more enjoyable a read for me. There was a serial killer manhunt that felt a little like early Jim Butcher Dresden Files murder mysteries – and anyone who knows me knows that’s a MAJOR compliment. And there was alt-history ala the best of Guns of the South-era Harry Turtledove – but with a fun slant that made it feel fresh and edgy. While TYOTK reminded me, faintly, of all of those books that I love – it was also a wholly original tale, and so much more than the sum of its parts…

There is a LOT going on here, and it’s hard to describe it adequately without giving too much away. I’m not only talking about spoilers; I’m talking about the sheer enjoyment of reading a well-written tale. The characters are fascinating – layered and nuanced even when they proclaim not to be (Hello, Sully!). The mystery is mysterious, and there is a twist I never saw coming – despite a hint that clued me in to the general vicinity of the twist, its actual contours were wholly unexpected and an absolute delight to unfold. My only criticism is that said unfolding felt a little rushed. The build up here is slow – deliciously, tortuously slow. Not in a bad way. Merciful heavens no. In a teasing, pleasurable, drawn-out-to-extend-its-possibilities way – one that Sully herself would have wholeheartedly approved of… Which made the rather abrupt Big Reveal at the end feel a bit, well, abrupt. Again, not in a bad way, just in an off-kilter, unsettling way.

But maybe that was the point. Sully is, after all, nothing if not unpredictable, and that’s one of the things I loved most about her. She’s tough and logical, except when she’s not. But its never a contradiction or out of character when she veers sharply left – you get the sense that it’s all a part of a master plan, even if she hasn’t consciously figured all the bits out yet. It makes her a delight to read and I truly hope this is not the last we’ve seen of her – she’s simply too spot-on of a character to be a one-and-done!

My review copy was provided by NetGalley.

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