Jennifer Davis's Reviews > The Gods of Gotham

The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye
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's review
Apr 16, 2012

really liked it
Read from April 16 to 25, 2012

I enjoyed this book, although I had some problems with the writing - it seemed very unsophisticated in a lot of places. Now, I know I'm not a writer, but then again, I'm not being paid to do it. Aside from that, the STORY was very enjoyable and the characters were compelling.

I enjoy historical fiction when it's well researched and this was. The descriptions of New York City in 1847 were very vivid (these would be the parts of the writing I didn't have a problem with). It's hard to imagine a NYC that basically ends in farms and forestland north of 33rd St., but Faye is good at constantly reminding the reader that our NYC is a world away from the NYC of the story. She keeps you rooted in that world by constantly describing the sights, sounds and smells of the various areas that our main character traverses through in his quest for justice.

The story itself is basically a murder mystery told from the point of view of a young 'copper star.' A precursor to the NYPD, the copper stars were one of the first groups to try to police the city in an attempt to cut down on crime (they were called copper stars because they wore a copper star on their clothing - this is where we get the term 'cop', shortened from 'copper' which was shortened from copper star). This book tells the story of a murder investigation during a time before forensics and modern day policing. As a mystery, I enjoyed it - I wasn't able to figure out who the murderer was until moments before it was revealed.

On the down side, the book took a little bit to get going. It started strong in the first chapter and then backtracked to set up the story - the backtracking part, while important and necessary, took me out of the story after I was already hooked on the main plot. I wanted to know how things had started, yes, but I was itching to get back to the main plot to find out what happened after the event that started everything off. But, once things got moving, I didn't want to put it down.

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