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The Faraday Files #1

The Deathsniffer's Assistant

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The Deathsniffer’s Assistant is a fantasy novel with a unique pseudo-Edwardian setting and a murder mystery twist. What’s not to love about floating castles, eccentric lady detectives, and a protagonist who judges everyone by the quality of their shoes!

After losing his parents in the Floating Castle Incident, the sensitive and mannered Chris Buckley has spent six years raising his magically talented little sister, Rosemary. They have been living on the savings that his once-wealthy family left behind. That money is drying up, and Chris finds himself with no choice but to seek out work in Darrington City as it spirals into a depression. The only employer willing to consider his empty résumé is O. Faraday, the manic Deathsniffer. Faraday's special magical gift is a heightened intuition which is invaluable in hunting down murderers.

When a Duchess calls on Olivia to solve the mystery of her dead husband, Chris finds himself tangled in Faraday’s daily life and unable to extract himself from the macabre questions of the investigation. His involvement grows more complicated as political forces close around Rosemary. They only see her as a tool that can be used to end the depression at the cost of her freedom—or even her life.

Chris must juggle the question of who killed Viktor val Daren with the responsibility of keeping Rosemary and her magic safe from those who would use her up and toss her aside. Worst of all, he begins to learn that the national disaster that took his parents’ lives may not have been the accident it seemed.

Set in a world very similar to 1900s London, The Deathsniffer’s Assistant combines the investigative murder mystery with a tale of personal and societal redemption. It is about the relationships between broken people who clash more often than not, but manage to shape and learn from one another in spite of this. The story is told from the perspective of Christopher Buckley, young and impressionable and influenced by the prejudices of his time, as he finds himself surrounded by a cast of exceptional women whose differing characters will slowly reconstruct his understanding of strength in others—and in himself.

424 pages, Paperback

First published July 13, 2015

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About the author

Kate McIntyre

3 books111 followers

Kate McIntyre was born and raised in the frigid white north, having spent her entire life in Moncton, New Brunswick. She learned to appreciate the quintesstial Canadian things: endless winters, self-deprecating jokes, the untamed wilderness, and excessive politeness. Somehow it was the latter that she chose to write about.

She has been writing since she was five years old and nothing has ever stopped her for long. Her first novel was about a lady mouse detective saving her turtle janitor boyfriend from kidnappers, so it’s nice to know she always loved lady detectives. She is the proud author of sixteen embarrassing hidden novels and one publishable one.

Kate loves crochet, video games, board games, reading, and listening to bad pop music very loudly. She spends several months of the year in Illinois, and the rest of the time lives in a big country home with two cats who refuse to stay on diets and the world’s friendliest dog.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 123 reviews
Profile Image for ❀Aimee❀ Just one more page....
443 reviews94 followers
June 16, 2015
3.5/5 STARS
This book takes place in a world where paranormal and mythological creatures are in forced servitude to humans - powering machinery, creating light, and being used as transportation. It is like an 1800's alternate London. It's a fun mix of murder mystery, paranormal creatures and abilities, and flawed characters coming together to be something more than the sum of their parts.

Society categorizes people according to their unique paranormal abilities. The main character is 19 year old Christopher Buckley whose parents died 6 years prior. He has been caring for his younger sister on a shoestring budget. She has an amazingly strong and rare ability that would be abused by those in power. Chris now needs a job to keep them fed and clothed, but his ability categorization is nothing special. He gets only one job offer from a Deathsniffer - someone with special abilities that helps them catch murderers. It is a job that will leave Chris somewhat ostracized.

Chris has to juggle the new demanding job, keeping his sister safe from discovery, while he continues to deal emotionally with his parents' death and the responsibilities he took over for them. The murder mystery is intriguing and there is a interesting assortment of suspects. Faraday has a lot of fantastic verbal outbursts that had me entertained.

At first, I didn't care for any of the characters, especially Deathsniffer Faraday. Faraday is arrogant, doesn't care about others or convention. Chris has his own faults. He is deeply resentful of having once been rich and now very poor. He cares more about convention and appearing polite than actually caring for people.

But here's the thing... these characters are all broken in some way. However, by coming together, they are starting to change in little ways. I can see how this slow changing for the better will be brought out more if this becomes a series.

Chris and Faraday are so much like the interplay of Sherlock and Watson. One is overly concerned with appearances and convention, and the other doesn't care enough, and rubs people the wrong way. They start by merely putting up with each other, then slowly come to respect a bit of each other. You can see how over time, they may change each other for the better and perhaps become friends.

The eARC still has a few minor word edits that I hope are fixed before final print. I also found the jump from chapter 1 to chapter 2 with a difference of five years and a new character POV jarring. It wasn't explained that this was five years later or a different person's POV. I figured it out after floundering about for a few pages.

I also had a bit of an issue figuring out the world I was thrust into. While I generally prefer a book that shows rather than tells, the book was quite confusing at the beginning. The politics of the world, the paranormal creatures, and some of the made up terminology didn't firmly coalesce in my mind until quite a ways into the book. At times it felt like this was a second book in a series (it's really the first) and that somehow I missed the background from the first book.

If this turns into a series, I am definitely interested in reading book #2.

Thank you Curiosity Quills Press for a free eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Paige  Bookdragon.
938 reviews612 followers
October 14, 2015

If you're looking for a weird fantasy/steampunk book with a touch of murder, mystery and unrepentant bitchy heroine, then The Deathsniffer's Assistant is for you.


This book is intriguing. It's far from being the next supernova book but it has its charm and cuteness. The Deathsniffer's Assistant kinda reminds me of a weird Sherlock Holmes spin-off where there's a bitchy, I-won't-suck-up-with-you heroine and a hero who is kinda obsessed with social politeness.

The world setting

This is kinda hard to explain. The Deathsniffer's Assistant belongs in a steampunk world with a little paranormal setting.


This world has little "magical" creatures that are trapped in everyday objects. In order for you to have a light/fire, you need to have a "salamander" trapped in a light post/ lamp.

The characters are also categorized once they reached a certain age. Their categorization can be determined by their magical powers. The hero, Chris, is a wordweaver so he can make words appear on a page at a high speed. He is perfect for secretarial jobs and the like.

Lifeknitters (doctors/nurses), worldcatchers (mostly artists), Heartreaders (can read emotions) are just a few that are mentioned in this book.

The Characters

Olivia Faraday:

She is a Deathsniffer. That means that she investigates murder. The Deathsniffer's job is mostly shunned by the society. It's considered a morbid job because knock knock , they are usually around dead bodies.

Olivia is a weird character. Some call her bitch because, well, she is a bitch.


She's harsh and she's not afraid to offend anyone SHE LOVES OFFENDING EVERYONE. She also loves dressing up to the point that Chris described her outfits as outrageous.

Chris Buckley

is so conscious of social decorum I want to bash his head sometimes.


He can be very protective with his younger sister to the point that it's annoying. I badly want to teach him the word "tough love". Seriously dude, your sister needs to suffer a little bit. She's so fucking spoiled I want pinch her ears.












Profile Image for Lata.
3,773 reviews208 followers
February 8, 2019
Kate McIntyre has created a world powered by a variety of enslaved elemental spirits, and peopled by individuals who are Categorized with some sort of power, such as the ability to know when someone is telling the truth, or to be able to sing and sooth the elemental spirits. The town in which the story's action occurs has a slight Victorian feel. Other than that, I don't really have a good sense of the story's setting.
Main character Christopher Buckley takes on work with Deathsniffer (really good at determining when someone is lying) Olivia O'Faraday. Olivia works with the police investigating murders, and Christopher is her new assistant, rapidly transcribing her interviews and other interactions during an investigation into the death of one of members of a rich, old family. Olivia gets a sense almost immediately that there's more going on in the family than she's being told, while Christopher has his own family issues to deal with, as he's trying to keep the authorities from discovering just how powerful his younger sister Rosemary is at keeping elemental spirits calm.
The mystery takes Olivia and Christopher around in circles, though I figured out who the murderer was pretty early on. I think the somewhat prickly interactions between Olivia and Christopher intrigued me, and both characters seem to complement the other's abilities and shortcomings during the investigation. I'm sufficiently interested that I may continue on to the next book in the series.
Profile Image for Matthew Cox.
Author 190 books261 followers
November 24, 2015
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect going in to The Deathsniffer’s Assistant. The beautiful cover gave off a Victorian / steampunkish vibe, which had me apprehensive as I’ve had bad experiences with steampunk in the past. I’m happy to say that this novel is more of a Victorian fantasy with magic and elementals.

This is a world where the binding of elementals to power items is commonplace (and dangerous). Enchanted objects from the necessary (lights) to the frivolous (amusement park rides) to the grim (executions) are infused with the essences of unwilling elemental beings. There’s an underlying story arc of a conflict between traditionalists (the enchanters) and progressives (those who wish to wean society from magic and rely on technology), though it serves as a subtle backdrop to the events of the story. In this society, most non-nobles are ‘categorized’ according to their magical abilities. Some people have power over the body and get assigned to work in the medical field, others are ‘heartseers’ and know the feelings of those around them. Some are also ‘truthsniffers’ who are supposedly able to detect lies – though this ‘power’ seemed a bit underwhelming in the story. (I’ll come back to that.)

The story is told from the POV of Christopher Buckley, a ‘fallen aristocrat’ from a once prestigious family who is struggling to provide for his younger sister after the death (several years before) of their parents. His family fortune has dwindled, and he is forced to take work. He winds up in the office of ‘deathsniffer’ O. Faraday, who is a truthsniffer specializing in the investigation of murder. Her occupation (and proud embrace of it) keeps people away out of superstition, but having no other options – Mr. Buckley decides to accept work as her assistant. His magical gift of being a wordweaver allows him to cause writing to appear as fast as he can think it, and his job is to ‘take notes’ of everything that goes on.

The major characters and the antagonist are all richly developed, full characters with believable quirks and unique personalities. With a murder mystery afoot, the author did an excellent job keeping me guessing as to the identity of the killer (though a few hints gave me a strong suspicion which later turned out correct.)

If I had anything somewhat negative to say, I thought the ‘truthsniffing’ was underplayed. The titular ‘deathsniffer’ didn’t seem all that much different from an ordinary investigator with the occasional ‘hunch.’ A minor character (timeseer) wound up adding more of a magical essence to the investigation that I think would’ve felt better coming from the deathsniffer. For the reputation she has, her effect on the story seemed almost brushed aside – Christopher did as much or more figuring out as the primary investigator, and her magical ‘truthseeing’ didn’t feel magical, more like a detective with strong instincts.

I’m looking forward to seeing more of this world, as the conflict between the enslaved elementals and humans looks to be something that Buckley’s sister might play a pivotal role in changing. The way the author portrayed even the elementals left me feeling sympathy for them, and I am wondering if one of the characters is going to wind up leading a crusade to emancipate them at some point.

All in all this was a wonderfully woven tale of murder mystery laced with magic, set in a rich and detailed alternate world England.
Profile Image for Marjolein (UrlPhantomhive).
2,389 reviews51 followers
January 8, 2016
3.5 Stars

Read all my reviews on http://urlphantomhive.booklikes.com

The Deathsniffer's Assistant brings you a good, old crime to solve in an alternate magical 19th Century England setting. Chris, as a Wordweaver (someone who can put down words very fast, and is looked down upon by everyone), can't find a job to support his little sister except with the eccentric Deathsniffer Faraday.

I say eccentric, but basically she is a jerk. And while there are certainly characters you love to hate, she isn't one of them. At times she seems unpleasant just for the sake of it, and I felt sorry for Chris and the other characters that they have to deal with her on a regular base. At least I can close the book and be done with it.

The world was truly fascinating though. There are magical creatures that are used to power machines, light lights and everything. Those are kept working by the socalled Spiritbinders, of which Chris' sister is secretly one. Everyone is assigned a talent and those decide the rest of their lives, but basically what work they'll do. Chris fears his sister might be used in all kinds of political games because her powers are so strong. And he is not wrong either. Unfortunately, Rosemary is extremely stupid and only causes a lot of problems.

The mystery itself wasn't that spectacular but made for a nice read. The writing was very good but it was the world that really made me enjoy the book and look forward to the next book (despite Faraday).

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Online Eccentric Librarian.
2,980 reviews5 followers
September 30, 2015

More reviews at the Online Eccentric Librarian http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/

More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/

The Deathsniffer's Assistant is an intriguing story built around a late Victorian/early Edwardian type of society. What we have really are two stories woven around one young man POV: a Sherlock Holmes murder mystery and an alternate universe urban fantasy in which elementals can be magically enslaved. The world building is superb and the split focus makes for a robust read.

Story: Young aristocrat Christopher lost his parents when air elementals mysteriously unbound, causing a revolutionary floating palace to fall to the ground. Now, years later, he protects a young sister whose unusually strong wizard skills would make her a target to be used and abused - all the while trying to keep financially afloat. With funds drying up, he uses his wordweaving talent to take a job as a secretary/assistant to a Deathsniffer - a detective. As he becomes embroiled in a case of a Duchess with a dead husband, his fragile balance of protecting his sister yet also earning enough income to keep them safe will become perilously endangered. For the Deathsniffer is a force unto herself and his sister doesn't want to be hidden any longer.

Despite the proliferation of Holmesian type novels lately, this one avoids the boring "eccentric paired with grounded logical individual" archetype. Deathsniffer Farraday is quirky but also firmly grounded in reality (perhaps even more so than Christopher himself). Chris, meanwhile, is juggling so many responsibilities the he no longer has time for any of the obvious. It makes him a sympathetic character and also adds needed depth and dimension. Watson was, after all, always eclipsed by Holmes but that isn't the case here. The result is some sharp and witty dialogue, more trenchant insight than humorous anecdotes

Because this is a fantasy (or perhaps an alternate universe), world building is so important. I greatly appreciated the little details - from fire emanating salamanders to distinctive job titles linked to 'magic' abilities - word weaver for writer, truth seeker for policeman, life knitter for doctors, etc. The were many clever choices made in the writing of this book.

The mystery to be solved had many surprising turns leading to a satisfying conclusion. Tantalizing hints are also given that Christopher is more than he realizes - and has a past that he, as an unreliable narrator, is clearly not aware of at this time. Those hints make me hope the next volume in the series is soon forthcoming. In all, a very enjoyable read of a solid urban fantasy/mystery. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.
Profile Image for ☼Bookish pam in Virginia☼ .
1,190 reviews48 followers
October 6, 2020
4.3 STARS*****

THE DEATHSNIFFER'S ASSISTANT reminded me of the Sherlock Holmes stories.

But don't get me wrong, it's actually very different --with the occasional dropping of the F-bomb at the end, mentions of sex, graphic violence, and magic. But if you loved the interaction of Holmes and his assistant .AND. you are open fantasy/magic/alt-Englands then maybe you'll enjoy this tale from Ms. McIntyre because the interactions of the two main characters are pretty entertaining.

The role of Holmes is played by Olivia Faraday. She is a death-sniffer; someone who has a penchant for investigating and getting to the truth. She is also a unsocial and dysfunctional human being who has little sympathy for others. This might be a result of her occupation or it might have causes elsewhere. We'll have to see in the stories that come where her problems originate.

Christopher Buckley is Olivia's assistant. But unlike Watson he is only 19; a handsome, sensitive and compassionate young man who along with his little sister finds himself falling in social and economic position after the death of their parents.

Chris carries most of the narrative and it's through his eyes that we see the repercussions of a series of gory murders. The book has some very good world-building, and I found the characters very likeable. The story is pretty much a mystery and the reader is given clues and red herrings. It's a lot of fun and one thing that I liked was that there layered mysteries. The ones that involved the murders and the ones that involved the characters and their mysterious pasts and possible unknown abilities.

~found thru KindleUnlimited and my reading buddy Talvi

Profile Image for Tegan Wren.
Author 2 books149 followers
October 24, 2015
Let me begin by saying that even though I have very eclectic tastes when it comes to fiction, this is probably a bit beyond what I'd typically read--Victorian-esque, fantasy, told in third person. I begin with that because it should tell you something that I really enjoyed this book and am giving it five stars.

Even though the book is written in third person, the story came through with plenty of insights and asides about the characters, which made me feel like I really knew them. The physical descriptions of the scenery and characters enhanced my feeling of connection to this world.

Ms. McIntyre has created a world that's both a nod to Victorian England and a completely new place that's magical. I really liked how she wove in the details about Tarland (her fictional country) without having to hold our hand and give us a tour. It created a sense of being there rather than being outside looking in. For me, there was just enough magic mixed into the realism for this to be very nice world building.

As the book went along, I really came to enjoy Chris Buckley, the title character, chuckling at his obsession with appearances but also appreciating his utter devotion to his sister. I'm an oldest child, so I understood his protectiveness.

The murder mystery is a great thread that pulls us through the story, but I was more interested in Chris Buckley's involvement as a wordweaver and how he was able to contribute to solving the crime, rather than trying to work out the answer to the mystery myself. That's not to say the mystery wasn't engaging. It was!

The book does leave us with some loose ends, but they make me want more. I'll only be disappointed if Ms. McIntyre doesn't offer us a sequel to this well-crafted and well-told novel. I highly recommend this book to any reader who enjoys being transported to a different place and time.

Profile Image for Sarah.
832 reviews231 followers
July 28, 2016
The Deathsniffer’s Assistant is a very promising start to a series by a debut author. It’s a fantasy mystery story set in a semi-Victorian world with a fairly unique magical system. I’m docking it half a star for a spoiler near the end, but other wise it easily would have gotten four.

Chris Buckley’s a nineteen year old orphan trying to raise his sister among the decaying remnants of the family estate. With the country’s ongoing economic problems, he has difficulty finding a job until he goes to work for Olivia Faraday, a deathsniffer. Deathsniffer’s are the in universe equivalent of homicide detectives, and the pair quickly have their first case, investigating the death of the Duchess val Daren’s husband. Meanwhile, Chris is trying to protect his magically gifted sister from those in the country who’d use her talents to support their own political agenda without any regard for her health or safety.

The magic system is currently two fold, although there are hints of more complexities to come. The first is that much of the technology of the country is based around enslaved spirits (sort of like in the Bartimeaus trilogy by Jonathan Stroud). Chris’s sister Rosemary is a wizard, someone who has a natural talent for summoning and binding spirits. Secondly, each citizen undergoes a process called categorization when they are nineteen which usually gives them a magical talent of some sort. Chris is a wordweaver, someone who can enspell words to paper by thought alone. Deathsniffers are another sort of category, and they have an affinity for figuring out when a piece of information is important or when someone is lying. The reliance on bound spirits and categorization is an ongoing political issue and the main divide between the traditionalists and the reformists. Rosemary’s extreme magical gifts could thus make her into a political tool for either side.

While I thought the ideas behind the world of The Deathsniffer’s Assistant were imaginative, the world never quite breathed for me. The best settings are those that you feel could exist beyond the page of the novel, and The Deathsniffer’s Assistant never reached that height. This is possibly related to it being a debut book. Maybe as the series progresses the world will grow more vivid.

The Deathsniffer’s Assistant does very well by its female characters, of whom there are a number. While the setting seems to be based on a Victorian setting, women seem to have greater freedom of movement, evidenced by the professions of Olivia and her supervisor at the police station, another female character. However sexism (and homophobia) are still present. When applying for a job with “O. Faraday,” Chris automatically assumes that the deathsniffer is a man. Olivia initially came off as a bit flat, the eccentric detective who sees murders as puzzles to be solved, but by the end she and many of the other supporting characters had gained a lot more depth. Additionally, there was never a romance between Chris and Olivia. I think I’ve been trained with the expectation that the two characters of opposite gender on the cover must get together or have sexual tension or something, so it was nice to see that subverted!

Chris was undoubtedly the most well developed character in the novel. He is a rather innocent young man who cares very much about good manners and propriety, which can put him at odds with Olivia. The narrative also suggests that Chris’s obsession with propriety is his biggest flaw, one that can have personal repercussions for him. Particularly… I think there’s evidence that Chris is bisexual.

“He smelled like heather and sunlight. Chris buried his nose in the young man’s hair and felt his lips on his neck.”

The above quotation comes from a dream sequence where Chris is dancing with the female love interest who suddenly transforms into the potential male love interest. That’s the point where I went from thinking I was probably deluding myself to thinking that this might actually be canonical. Still, nothing goes farther than the above quote. But I checked over the other reviews and nobody else has mentioned Chris possibly being bisexual? I did find a post by the author where she talks about writing bisexual and queer characters, which makes me think maybe I’m not imagining things after all. I’m still wary about this, since there’s been times before I thought maybe a character could be gay or bisexual only to have the narrative go on to expunge any suggestion that the character is other than heterosexual.

There are also some major issues with the one undoubtedly canonical gay character in the text. The rest of this paragraph will contain major spoilers, so please skip it if you don’t want to know. Needless to say, this is some problematic content.

Despite the above mentioned issues, I did like The Deathsniffer’s Assistant and want to read the sequel (in part to find out if I’m at all right about Chris). I found the book very engaging and mostly an enjoyable read. I’d recommend it for those looking for a fantasy murder mystery with strong female supporting characters.

Originally posted on The Illustrated Page.

I received an ARC copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for a fair review.
Profile Image for Kate Bystrova.
Author 0 books16 followers
February 2, 2016
The Deathsniffer’s Assistant takes place in a fantastic world where spirits and elementals are exploited in electricity’s stead, and where people are born with strange abilities…

Chris is a wordweaver – a scribe and basically the lowest categorisation there is.

Left orphaned along with his younger sister Rosemary in the wake of a national tragedy, Chris has grown up with few friends and a dwindling fortune, his priority always his sister’s safety. Because Rosemary isn’t just an ordinary little girl, waiting until categorisation awakens her latent ability – no, she is wizard, a savant already more powerful than any seasoned spiritbinder. But if that information got out, Rosemary’s future would be forfeit.

Work is scarce to come by even for those with a more impressive categorisation, so when Chris sees the position of assistant to a deathsniffer (a deathsniffer! This O. Faraday must have nerves of steel to advertise themselves as such) publicised in the paper for an absurd amount of money, he doesn’t care about the social implications of such work – he just needs to secure Rosemary’s welfare until she’s old enough to look out for herself.

Deathsniffer. Being a truthsniffer is one thing – having a feel of when someone’s lying certainly helps with regular police work, for example – but what sort of twisted person would choose to sniff out murders?

Olivia Faraday, that’s who.

The eccentric, moody, unbearably rude and callous, near-bloodthirsty, dainty Olivia Faraday. Little wonder she has to offer such a high wage to recruit a mere scribe.

But what choice does Chris have?

Before long he’s thrown into the manic and gory world of being a deathsniffer’s assistant, forced to record every detail of the murder (and resulting corpse) of Duke Viktor val Daren along with each interview and fleeting thought that escapes out of Olivia’s mouth – and there’s blood, so much blood! Chris always was the sensitive, mild-mannered, courteous son – how is he meant to deal with all this? How can he bend to Olivia’s will and at the same time protect his sister? If anyone learned how powerful she truly is, she’d be taken away and used up in a heartbeat.

And of course, there’s always more to a murder than first appears...

This book chewed up Sherlock Holmes with a fistful of fairy dust and spat out a masterpiece.

The Deathsniffer’s Assistant had me from the off – the whimsical setting, somewhere between Victorian England (or perhaps the Canadian equivalent) and a fantasy realm; the slightly feeble, well-mannered protagonist; the inevitably tragic concept of using trapped, sentient spirits to power utilities and appliances; murder! It’s all brought together in an exceptionally readable style, and I found myself devouring each page faster than the last in anticipation of the next part of the story.

The amount of ladies in the book was also a pleasant change. I find that, with fantasy books in particular, it is seldom the case that the strong female leads outnumber the males, but in this book that’s precisely the case. Of the major recurring characters we have Chris and Fernand, a close family friend and adviser. Other men pop up, of course, but they don’t have enough screen time for me to count them as main recurring characters (although I super want to count one of them because I love him, while being simultaneously very concerned about his future in the series…). On the lady side, we have Rosemary, Olivia, Rosemary’s governess and Maris Dawson, Olivia’s supervisor – and that’s not to mention the dead duke’s remaining family: a wife and daughter who are very present in the book. A largely female cast isn’t something that I particularly seek out in books, but it’s certainly noticeable in The Deathsniffer’s Assistant in a way that makes you aware that many other titles have an unfortunate paucity of ladies – a lady lack, if you will.

The investigation, which is the main string tying book one of The Faraday Files together, progresses in a way that doesn’t become stale, and leads you along some false alleys in pursuit of the killer – it also paces itself in that satisfying way that leads you to realise who the murderer is just before or just as the main characters do. Although – and here I thought was a slight hiccup in what was otherwise smooth sailing for the plot – I came to the conclusion about who the murderer was for a reason slightly divided from that given in the book. Indeed, the main revelation felt like a bit of a cheat as the information about the fictional world of The Deathsniffer’s Assistant that was necessary in order for the crime to be solved was withheld until a very late point in the investigation; Chekhov’s gun, if you will, showed up perilously near the end. While this didn’t make me throw down the book in frustration or anything like that, it was a slight disappointment.

One final thing I will say – because to say more than one thing further would be to give away parts of the book that should be discovered by you, dear reader, in due course – is that the characters are fantastic and a fangirl’s dream. They are realistic enough to be plausible but caricatured enough to be interesting, and you do end up caring for them: several times I met with significant distress due to some ill fortune befalling one of them. But I shan’t say any more about that.

(There are also a few prospective couples that I’m shipping pretty hard at the moment. Shall I claim the first deathsniffer fanfiction? Hmm, the thought is tempting…)

All in all, I think you will know by now whether you are the sort to fall in love with The Deathsniffer’s Assistant. Magic? Victorian-style sensibilities? Eccentric characters? Murder? (And I do mean gory murder – the corpse descriptions are not for the faint-hearted.) You know who you are. Go forth and buy this book!

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

For the full review, visit The Little Crocodile
Profile Image for Anna lost in stories *A*.
1,021 reviews169 followers
September 4, 2019
I got my hands on the copy of this book thanks to the lovely people over at Curiosity Quills Press :) when I saw the opportunity to get my hands on the ARC of the sequel, I wrote to them with a question, about the possibility of me getting the first book in this series as well :) and they said yes :) and how glad I am for that... because this book was... just... can you say amazing? because I will... many times in this review ;) I mean... I have so many great things to say about it, that I have no idea where to start my praises ;) maybe with the main character... ;)

So about Christopher... and I am identifying him as the main character only because we, as readers, follow him around throughout the book, but by all means don't think he's the only important or entertaining person in this story... ;) not even close :) but I'm gonna start with him :) Chris is an almost twenty-year-old guy, who after the death of his parents six years ago, have been taking care of his little sister... more about her in a moment :) they were from a quite wealthy family, but with their parents gone and him without a job, the money finally starts to be a problem, so he looks for it wherever he can... even if it means working for a deathsniffer ;) explanation in a second :) he's well mannered and polite, at least most of the time ;) I really liked him... he really handled well all the things that have been going on around him... :) worry not, no spoilers from me about the details ;) and about that new job... before I will get to his new employer... ;) let me squeeze in a bit more informations about the world itself :)

This book is a fantastic mix of steampunk-ish vibes with all sorts of paranormal ones... :) we have this a bit Victorian times and rules, but with all sorts of interesting inventions... not to mention all the magical creatures :) it's a world where the categorization determins what kind of talent you have, and what job can you do after said talent is awakened... I know I am being vague, but first of all, I don't want to mess up the details and explain stuff wrong, and second of all, this world is so vast and so interesting, that I want you to be able to discover all of that for yourselves :) but I absolutely loved it :) I can't wait to read more, and get to know more details :) I am really struggling right now guys, because on the one hand, I want to tell you so... much... more... :) but on the other hand... I'm here like "noooo... that's a spoiler... that too... I certainly can't tell you about THAT" :) you get the gist :) so maybe I will jump to the secondary characters... if you can even call them that... because here's the thing... :)

Even though I say Chris is the main character, there is quite a few people practically as important as him in this book :) and the top spot on that list goes to Olivia Faraday, his new boss :) she's the titular deathsniffer, and she's... well, the shortest and simplest way to explain, is to say that she's sort of a detective :) it's of course much more complex than this, but again... if I would stop to explain everything with lots of details, we would be here all day :) trust me, it's good :) I absolutely loved her :) she definitely gives off Sherlock Holmes vibes :) she's direct, has no filter and says whatever she wants... :) she has a very curious mind that goes off in lots of different and unexpected directions... :) she was a blast to read about :) then we have Rosemary, Chris's younger sister... almost fourteen, she's a powerful spiritbinder, able to sing all sorts of magical creatures into obedience :) again, it's a short explanation of a much more complex phenomenon, but you know what I mean :) and let's not forget about Rachel Albany, her new governess... a very intriguing woman with secrets of her own... :) there are quite a few people who definitely caught my attention, but the importance of some of them you discover a bit later in the book, so I will leave a few surprises for you ;)

So about the story... :) we not only have a mystery on our hands that is resolved in this book... but besides that, the further we get into the story, the more hints and glimpses we get about certain very interesting characters and the world itself... and the more informations and hints about where certain things are heading, the more I was curious about future installments of this series :) now about the mystery :) the very first case Olivia gets after Chris starts working for her is the murder of Duke Val Daren... and quite a case it is... don't worry, no spoilers from me ;) that is a huge part of this book... and I have to admit I was absolutely deducing right alongside of Olivia and Chris, thinking who did it :) but besides the case there is much more in this book... like I said, the murder is resolved, but there are definitely some things left in the air... some hints mentioned here and there... glimpses into certain characters and... let me just say, I am very glad that the sequel is out in just a matter of weeks :) and not only that, but to know that there will be a book #3 and #4 as well in the future :) because believe me... with the writing style that kept me glued to the pages... words so vivid and storytelling so entertaining, I definitely need more :) more about this world, more about these characters just... more everything :) so if you are in the mood for a book that will surprise you... that will make you laugh and gasp in shock... a story with a diverse cast of characters and a world that you'll want to know more and more about... then definitely pick this gem up... like NOW ;) I promise, it will be soooo worth it :)


Profile Image for L.E.Olteano  .
514 reviews70 followers
November 7, 2015
Originally posted at Butterfly-o-Meter Books on Oct 13 , 2015:

In a Flutter: Spectacularly fun!
Meet my 4th Bomy Award of Excellence of the year, The Deathsniffer’s Assistant by Kate McIntyre. This is obviously my Mystery/Thriller year, because all of my Bomy Awards of Excellence have been from that area :D

What could be better than an Edwardian fantasy world, where all kinds of fantastic creatures – salamanders, elementals & such – are bound into objects, people communicate via magic mirrors as if they’re telephones, and everyone in the city is categorized as one or another kind of magic user? What, I ask you, could be better? I’ll answer it too: a sassy, irreverent, uber-fun female character and a beta male side-kick who allows us to enjoy her from an outside-perspective!

While the fantasy world was delicious, what I loved all the more about The Deathsniffer’s Assistant were the characters. I know it’s not gonna be fair to our MC, Chris, who is a lovely and loyal boy, but for me the absolute star was Olivia :D
To be fair though, let’s talk about Chris first. I’m thrilled to see more and more beta male characters in my reads. Don’t get me wrong, alpha males are really hot and exciting to read about, but I find beta males to interesting more often than not – they’re complex characters, multi-dimensional, and they make the person they’re beside shine at full value. Chris was all of that, and more. He was entirely loyal and dedicated to his little sister, Rose, to their family home. A cultured, educated, uber-polite young man, a little superficial when it came to judging people by their shoes, but what would you expect – the boy is 19 after all :) There are bound to be some immature personality traits at that age. Him getting a job, finding ways to take care of his little sister, starting life as a parent though he’s the big brother actually made this a New Adult novel, imo.
Olivia was entirely fascinating, though. Irreverent, independent, intelligent, utterly amusing and charming – you get my point. She’s the Sherlock-ian figure of the duo, the detective, the mystery solver, while Chris is the assistant. Olivia was an utter and irrevocable delight, snarky, no-BS, slightly erratic in places – because when your mind and truthsniffing are working overtime, it’s tough to be chilled-out -. I loved her a terrible lot, and found the fact she wasn’t the actual MC a stroke of genius. These are the kinds of characters that are charismatic, interesting, fascinating in fact enough to experience from their own POV, but even more so from another’s – like say their assistant, sidekick by large. So while Olivia was the star for me, she wasn’t the actual MC, and that was a brilliant move. Kudos Kate McIntyre!

The murder mystery was very interesting, very well paced imo and not predictable – which says a lot, coming from a murder mystery rabid fan such as I am. I loved everything about it, the suspects, the red herrings, their motivations, the investigative procedure – all of it! Loved, loved, loved! Aside the mystery, I sense a slightly romantic tone surrounding Chris, and I think further along in the series we will see him fall for someone. He’s at the right age, lol! I’m sadistically looking forward to that moment, because his obsession with propriety and what’s not so say while you do feel it is bound to make for some delicious romantic tension, mwahahaha. I R unabashed evil reader of doom xD

The third person, past tense narrative, from Chris’s POV was so very awesome! His almost obsessive polite behavior, but his slightly judgmental real voice, made Olivia stand out all the more as gutsy, irreverent, snary – it brought delicious contrast and tension into every scene they were both in. Loved, loved, loved the writing!

The cover is really, really cool, and the blurb was entirely hooking too. This is absolute impulsive buy material for me.

I fully, wholeheartedly recommend The Deathsniffer’s Assistant to all fantasy and mystery fans out there. It’s a smart, creative, well-written and well-thought murder mystery, with fascinating characters, good writing with the due amount of humor to lighten the literally bloody atmosphere – lol. A series I will undoubtedly follow in the future, as I will Kate McIntyre’s future work. Big, big like!
Profile Image for Rebecca.
274 reviews38 followers
September 9, 2015
Posted on Powder & Page
This is another book that I received from NetGalley, published by Curiosity Quills Press. I admit, I was intrigued by the title of the book and the whole reason I requested it was so I could figure out what a “Deathsniffer” was. I found out in short order what that ominous title meant and how it fit into the scope of the story.

The story itself was a complex and gruesome murder mystery layered in with Christopher Buckley’s personal troubles. You see, Mr. Buckley is the guardian of his younger sister Rosemary, who happens to be a powerful spiritbinder. Spiritbinders (or wizards) are a hot commodity because the foundations of society depend upon them to keep functioning (lighting, plumbing, infrastructure) and binding wizards are becoming extremely rare. Christopher is having a really difficult time because he’s broke and Rosemary keeps getting into situations where her rare power is shown to the public. In order to keep them financially afloat, he takes a job as an assistant to the Deathsniffer, Olivia Faraday who is just a little crazy, but also really good at finding murderers. Ms. Faraday gets put on a dreadful case involving a noble family that just keeps getting more and more horrific and complicated as the story goes along. Her bright, eccentric personality and tenacity made Olivia Faraday my favorite out of all the characters.

The crime solving part of the book was my favorite part because it was incredibly well done. I had guesses about who committed the crime and their motives behind it, but at the beginning I was very wrong. About halfway through I had another hunch, and in the end I was right about it but I was very surprised about the motive and the exact method of the crime. I was happy to have placed my suspicions correctly, but it was really awesome to have been unaware of so many other factors and have that big surprise at the end.

The society and the politics of the story world were both dynamic and magical. The spirits that power so much of the cities were reminiscent of the furies in Jim Butcher’s Codex of Alera series. The elemental aspect was a clear parallel, but in most other respects they were vastly different. The society was clearly written in a way that suggested great changed were in the making and the two political factions were creating upheaval. At first, I thought that the politics was unnecessary and used for filler, but as the plot progressed, it became apparent that it was actually there for a reason.

All in all, the Deathsniffer’s Assistant was a fun and different read that kept me guessing throughout. I would love to see fan art of the characters and the elementals because they were written beautifully and deserve to be made into art.
Profile Image for Artemiz.
882 reviews30 followers
February 15, 2016
I didn't really like The Deathsniffer's Assistant by Kate McIntyre and here is why: this story was too busy and at the same time it was an empty story.

The story was too busy be course there were too many fictional things - magical animals, fib vocation, fib country and towns and nationalities. I got the feeling like there was a list of fairy tale animals on authors wall and she had to mention each one of them at least once (I was expecting to see a dragon, almost did, but no dragon). And all those strange vocations - it's so confusing, since one vocation can have many different names and the explanation, what those people can do, is minimum.

And it was empty 'course the criminal story and the strange situation with Christopher's sisters vocation is strange and simple and the story that is twined around them is more confusing than helping.

The Deathsniffer - Olivia - and her assistant - Christopher - are like Holmes and Watson, or a really poor version of them. The way that Olivia acts like teenager, who is searching her place in the world with different costume every day, new mood every few second and she should be truthsniffer but she can't sense lie in her own words!?! And Christopher also acts like teenager girl - blushes and criticizes others appearance and cries and does all other stuff that girls do. In general, pretty often woman act like men and men act like woman.

And then there are the things that not get any explanations or ending at all - what was the reason why the castle fell and what was the political drift, what was Christopher's other power, what was this list and what Rosemary was supposed to do with it. Where they put in there so there could be sequel to this book?

It was silly, pointless, annoying story that kind of wanted to be fantasy criminal mystery but it didn't deliver.
Profile Image for Sara.
593 reviews23 followers
July 13, 2015
I received a copy of this book in exchange for a honest review. Having been on a bit of a Steampunk/ Sherlockian kick here lately I was pleased to find this book fit in perfectly! It was an engaging read with plenty of intrigue and twists and turns along the way. I loved the characters with all of their quirks especially Olivia with her personality it's easy to see how she would become a favorite character.
This book was extremely well structured and planned out so it seems like nothing was left to chance, the reader is totally in capable hands with this author. The fantasy elements were different from some of the other novels of this genre I have read in the past and so I think that is one of the strengths of this book. It's not something you have read 300 times haha. It reminds me a lot of the "Paper Magician" but this book held my attention more whereas "The Paper Magician" had some slow spots that made it difficult for me to finish. If you enjoy Steampunk or just a good quirky mystery I would highly suggest picking this one up.
Profile Image for Rosu Aquabutts.
171 reviews9 followers
July 1, 2016
"It was amazing."

The Deathsniffer's Assistant is a fantastic book by a debut author. It has everything I love in a book to the point where I could have written it myself! Manners, politics, conspiracies, mystery, snappy dialogue between people who don't quite get along, and a cool, unique setting.

I can't wait for the next one!
Profile Image for Sparkle.
154 reviews
March 23, 2016
Very unusual book! I really enjoyed the characters and the environment. A bit toward the end there were lots and lots of spelling/word errors (kindle version) which made it annoying, but otherwise a thoroughly enjoyable experience. I am looking forward to the next book in the series.
I'm hoping that maybe the elementals will be explained a little bit. : )
Profile Image for Eva Müller.
Author 1 book73 followers
August 10, 2017

In the world of The Deathsniffer’s Assistant everybody is categorized once they’re 19. That means their magical powers get awakened. These powers can appear in a wide variety of forms: Lifeknitters can find injuries and know what they have to do to heal them. Truthsniffers know when they’re being lied to. Worldcatchers are skilled painters. Heartreaders can read other people’s emotions…

It’s logical, yet also has a creepy dystopian touch that your category (and how strong your power is) limits what you can work as. Lifeknitters always end up in hospitals, the stronger ones as a doctor, the weaker as nurses. Truthsniffers mostly end up working for the police. Either directly as a cop or indirectly as a type of private detective (though they still have to answer to the real cops because of reasons. The worldbuilding is overall well done but does leave some questions).

Chris, the main character is a Wordweaver. He can make words appear on a page at a high speed. This skill is considered the lowest of all the talents and he has a hard time finding a job that pays enough to feed him and his sister, Rosemary after their parents died. Rosemary is a twice special child.

First, she is a wizard. That means her magical powers don’t need to be awakened. At a young age, she’s already a Spiritbinder – she can control the spirits and magical creatures that used in this world to power machines, create light and much more. Second, she’s an incredibly powerful Spiritbinder who has powers greater than most trained adults.

If those powers ever came to public knowledge it would mean that two rivaling political fractions (the ‘our magical system needs to be reformed’-one and the ‘everything is fine as it is’-one) would be very interested in using her for their aims. So Chris has to do everything to keep others from finding out about Rosemary’s powers. (Something that’s hard considering Rosemary is bloody stupid).

The only job Chris can find that pays enough is as the assistant of Olivia Faraday, a Deathsniffer. That’s just a fancy term for one of the semi-freelance Truthsniffers who specialized in solving murders.

So this is basically a whodunit set in a fantasy-world. This is a genre-crossover I always wanted but never found. I should be jumping up and down ecstatically and doing cartwheels. But I’m not and that’s not only because I can’t do proper cartwheels.

The problem is Olivia. The author was clearly going for a Holmes-like character here but missed two important facts. The first is that Holmes – despite what some adaptations of the stories might make you think – was not a complete jerk who was rude all the time. Yes he could be sometimes and he didn’t care for social norms much but he also could be a caring person. The second is that Holmes could afford to be eccentric and affront Victorian sensibilities now and then because he was the last hope of the people that came to him. They had to put up with him or lose all hope of getting a solution for their problem.

Olivia is not the only Deathsniffer. At no point is it suggested that she has a reputation of solving cases faster than others or being able to solve cases nobody else could. People could just go to somebody else if they are not happy with her. Inexplicably they don’t do that despite that fact that Olivia is one of the most horrible characters I came across in a long time. She doesn’t give a shit about other people’s feeling. She doesn’t only constantly insult the suspects, she’s also horrible to her police-colleagues and to Chris. Chris is the only one who has a reason to suffer through her abuse since he needs the money. But why the police don't simply refuse to work with her and the victim’s relatives never slam the door in her face remains a mystery.

It really is that bad. I hated her. Hated how she was so convinced of a person’s guilt that she refused to treat her with even a minimum amount of basic decency. Hated how she treated the tragic revelations about Chris like amusing anecdotes and how she barely acknowledged that Chris was a human being who has a life outside of work.

I honestly don’t care if she is just a horrible person or if there is something more behind her behavior (it is hinted that perhaps there might be). I simply don’t enjoy reading a book where the main character’s behavior makes me so furious that I had to put the book down more than once because I could not stomach reading any more about her.

All that is a shame because the author can write and she can write emotions. Because while Chris also annoyed me at first, it soon became clear that he’s trying to deal with much more than he can cope with. At the age of 14, he lost both parents under horrible circumstances. Since then he’s been trying to care for and protect his little sister without much outside help.
About halfway through the book, he reminisces about how the death of his parents affected him. It takes him several pages but I almost want to quote every single line because it’s just written so beautiful and heartwrenching. It especially stands out compared to so many of the conveniently-an-orphan protagonists who sometimes stop, think about how their mother used to hug them, cry a single tear and then cheerfully continue on their journey. Chris’ grief is a part of him and one of the reasons that he is how he is. Yes, that means that he’s flawed but I can understand his flaws unlike Olivia’s. And they are balanced out by other facets of his character. Unlike Olivia who is just horrible (I mentioned that already didn’t I?)

The other characters are interesting as well and even the minor ones have depth. Sadly the only exceptions is Rosemary. Too often she seems just like a plot-device that is there to cause Chris the most amount of trouble at the worst possible moment. And also when it comes to how much Chris loves her I would have wished for less telling and more showing.

The mystery-plot itself is…decent. There were things I was not happy about. One character made the police’s life difficult for no other reason than to fill pages. A vital bit of information about the world was withheld so there was no way for the reader to guess along. And the solution made me not very happy for some spoilery reasons. But those were only minor issues. If those were the only gripes I’d had with this book I still would have picked up the next book in the series because the world is fascinating. It is also hinted at that there was more behind the death of Chris’ parents and that there is a connection with the magical politics. All this would interest me and I would love to learn more about it…but that also means meeting Olivia again and this is something I am reluctant to do.

The bottom line is that I have rarely been so torn about a book. Usually, I love some things in a book and am indifferent about others or I hate some and am indifferent about others. Here I love one character, like the worldbuilding and hate another character. As she is one of the main-characters it is hard to ignore that and just say that the rest was much better.

ARC received from NetGalley
387 reviews39 followers
May 24, 2018
The manners, customs, and styles of London around 1900 are transferred to a magical island nation named Tarland (not for tar: an inhabitant is a Tarl) where things like lights, trains, and communication devices are powered by binding elemental spirits to pieces of equipment; the elementals in question are very unhappy at being bound and are very destructive if they get free. Some of the carriages are drawn by horses, some by unicorns, and some very expensive ones by winged beasts; magic mirrors powered by gnomes work like Skype, but otherwise living conditions are very firmly stuck in the late 19th century by our standards.

I enjoyed both the steampunk writing style, reminiscent of Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series, and the complex and rather eccentric character of the titular Deathsniffer, Olivia Faraday. The murder mystery was fun too; you will probably spot the real culprit long before the truthsniffers (aka detectives) do, but motive and method were still a surprise.

So my 2-star rating doesn't mean "neither liked or disliked" (or in technical terms, "meh"). It means the things I didn't like offset what I did like.

First, I know it's a well-established and effective writing technique to plunge the reader into a unique new world by using both dialogue and narrative that assume it's familiar to everyone. Terms and ideas that the author has invented are simply bandied about, expecting the reader to catch on. It's the opposite of the Hated Info Dump. Trouble is, way too many of the basic points about life in Tarland are never clear, and the pile-up of strange words and murky references made me stop about a third of the way through, feeling I should know what's going on by now and I don't. But I liked enough about the story (see above) to pick it up again and just put up with the continuing confusion.

Second, although it's third-person narration, it stays in the limited perspective of one character, Olivia's new assistant Christopher Buckley, and unfortunately he's not very clear-headed. He's 19 years old, freshly categorized as a wordweaver (transfers thoughts directly to paper), and it's both his first job and the only one he can find. He's obsessed with externals, such as etiquette and style, and preoccupied with serious personal issues that get in the way of grasping the world around him: his parents died several years before in Tarland's worst-ever magical disaster, and he's desperate to protect his 13-year-old sister Rosemary from corporate entities that want to exploit her magical abilities. Regrettably, we spend a lot of time in Chris's perplexed mind and see Tarland through his unreliable eyes.

Third, although the murder mystery is solved, several other major story lines are unresolved, especially . We're left hanging for the sequel, I guess. And the issue of justice or even mercy for all the enslaved elemental spirits is touched on but not really dealt with.

A more trivial flaw: it looks like the last quarter or so of the book was rushed to print without basic proofreading for spelling and grammar.
Profile Image for Jessica.
179 reviews
November 6, 2015
I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this book. I had it on my wishlist on Amazon for the longest time but didn't really want to spend $4.99 for it. Luckily I was approved to receive a free galley.

The story starts off kind of sad with the death of the main character's parents in The Floating Castle Incident. Chris then takes over raising his younger sister. He is desperate to gain income and ends up working for Olivia Faraday, Deathsniffer. Chris and Olivia then take up an investigation to find the murderer of a duke, which is then followed up by several related murders. During all of this, Chris's sister Rosemary reveals herself to the world as the powerful wizard that she is, despite being uncategorized. So while Chris is running around trying to assist in finding a killer, he is also desperately trying to keep his sister out of the clutches of the government who want to "use her until she dries up." The murderer is found and was a pretty creative twist on things. Unfortunately for our characters, not all of the murders were confessed to.

The last two deaths in the story are left unexplained, leaving room for the rest of the series to unfold. My own personal opinion is that both are related to government conspiracy and that neither death was what they seemed.

Chris seems to have more power than he was categorized with and I'm interested to know how much this will be related to everything that has been going on. I have the feeling his power is actually as impressive as Rosemary's, just completely different.

I wish there was more explanation as to the whole concept of categorization. The whole world McIntyre has built is very interesting and is a nice alternative to all the stories with your average witch and wizard.

I enjoyed watching Chris metamorphose from the beginning to the end of the story. Even his supporting character Olivia began to develop. I like characters who are not flat. This series has real potential and I look forward to the next installment.

While I did receive this as a free copy, I unfortunately did not have time to finish reading it before my galley expired. I was so into the story I finally paid the $4.99 to finish reading about 60 pages. I liked it that much.

5 stars.
Profile Image for Jillian.
17 reviews1 follower
September 11, 2015
I truly enjoyed this book and can't wait for the next one to be released.

This gem is set in an alternate-England where magic has been contained and the Industrial Age never happened. Salamanders, water sprites, sylphs, and other dangerous magical creatures have been bent and shifted into items similar to an Edwardian England with both hackney cabs and winged coaches.

The Deathsniffer is Olivia Faraday, and her assistant is the penniless Christopher Buckley who finds himself thrust into service to pay for his sister, food and keep a roof over their heads. He has an old family friend who helps him along the way, but he's forced to take his gentlemanly ways and his magical ability with words to keep Miss Faraday's memories for her.

The British nobility is Old Blood in this book, and everyone else is forced at age 19 to have their abilities tried and tested. However, Christopher's younger sister is a truly gifted Spiritbinder, and she saves Christopher's life several times bringing them to national attention.

Christopher is a delightful, androgynous character. He hasn't ever kissed a girl, but he'd like to. He also has a couple of interactions with other androgynous male characters, and he is surprised by Olivia's reaction and the reaction of others in the time period. He's not a manly man, rather a clever, fashion conscious, very well mannered gentleman. He's uncomfortable crossing the rules of society, but he's surrounded by a whole host of women who are not bound by his fussy adherence to the same rules. These women are allowed to be policemen, detectives, and wizards. They are all as lovely and different as Chris and William and the other men in this book are different. Each character is distinct and well-formed.

His first case with Miss Faraday is solving the murder of a Duke, but his home life is swept up in keeping his sister safe. The case has several turns, and even if you can see the ending coming, you are already inside the beginnings of book two as this book ends.

Although I have a fairly good idea of where book two is going, it will still be enjoyable to see how the author gets there. I definitely will read the second novel in this series.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
6 reviews
June 14, 2015
I have had the privilege of reading an advance copy of the Death Sniffers Assistant by Kate McIntyre. Mysteries are one of my favorite genres, while fantasy is new to me. That has now changed after reading this delightful book.

The author has created the wonderful, eccentric, Olivia, Deathsniffer by trade. Olivia will make you laugh one minute and then be totally frustrated the next. I love the scenes where her unique outfits are described as they reflect what will happen in her world that day. You will love her and hate her.

Then there’s Christopher. A young man forced to find a job to keep his beloved family home, and raise his younger strong willed sister. After losing their parents when the Floating Castle they were in crashed to the ground, Chris took on the job of raising his sister. In Tarland, you need to be categorized once you turn eighteen, Chris had his hopes dashed when he became a lowly wordweaver, with little chance to earn a decent wage. His sister on the other hand has a powerful gift that Chris in constantly try to hide from the powerful leaders who would steal her away.

The interaction between Christopher and Olivia what makes the book so good. They are like iron sharpening iron. We see them change for the better, though it is not easy for either of them.

I think one of the things I appreciate most about this book is the depth of the characters. The author is very gifted at portraying a wide variety of emotions. We see grief, prejudice, anger, and fear to name a few. I think you will come to know the characters and you will as I did feel their pain and joy with them.

I highly recommend this book.
CL Steeves
28 reviews
June 12, 2015
I finished my advanced reading copy the day after I got it, and the only reason I didn't finish it the day I started is because I started so late. The world felt so real once I'd dipped my toes in that I just wanted to keep reading, and the book pulled me along at just the right clip. Right from chapter 1 when we start to see the magic of the world from the perspective of Chris everything is clear, and it paints a great picture of the world in a small domestic scene.

Can I just say that I love Olivia's character? Because I do. She comes into the book like a hurricane, and she's a force to be reckoned with. Her dynamics with other characters when contrasted with their dynamics with Chris leads to several fascinating conversations that were a joy to read.
I could read a book that was all just her talking with people. Not content to just be amazing in that regard the book has more than a couple of plotlines running at once, and they all move along together smoothly.

The central mystery of The Deathsniffer's Assistant kept me guessing until just about the end of the book.

I'm so glad that this isn't the last in the series because I can't wait until the next one comes out.
2 reviews1 follower
July 26, 2015
'The Deathsniffers Assistant' is one of my favourite novels of 2015. I received a free advance copy of 'The Deathsniffers Assistant' in exchange for an honest review!
I think one of the many things Kate McIntyre nails are her characters. Olivia's a real ball buster who suits her employment as a 'Deathsniffer' to a tee. We can both love her, and wish to slap her at the same time! She'll make you laugh out loud, and at times gasp at what obscenities come out of her mouth. She captains the ship of this brilliant novel to the very end! Chris Buckley is our main character who is charged with the responsibility of caring for his precious young sister, Rosemary and throughout the book, you see him grow and develop so much. These two characters grip this story line, and pull you along page by page, plot twist by plot twist. I'm on the edge of my seat for what is in store for Olivia and Chris in the next book!
Would highly recommend this book for your 2015 bookshelf. You won't be disappointed!
Profile Image for Monica Hills.
907 reviews25 followers
March 17, 2017
This novel had excellent ratings but I really had to push myself to get through it. The concept was really interesting. It was an alternate universe where everyone is categorized and have special talents. They also trap spirits and creatures to work for them. However they did not spend long explaining everything and it was confusing. The novel would have been so much better if they went into detail. The heart of the novel is about Chis who goes to work for a deathsniffer who tries to find murderers. A wealthy art patron has died and his wife has hired them to find his murder. On top of helping to solve this murder he also has to protect his sister who turns out to have wizarding skills. This novel had so much promise and I was just really let down.
Profile Image for K8 Rowan.
143 reviews1 follower
January 9, 2018
I wanted to like this book...but about 25% of the way through it, I gave up. I like the creative concepts, but the author keeps the reader too much in the dark on too many aspects for too long. Not a fulfilling light read- moving on.
Profile Image for Fastnbulbous.
50 reviews12 followers
May 15, 2018
The first book in apparently an ongoing series, The Faraday Files, holds a lot of potential with a neo-Edwardian setting that's a mix of steampunk and urban fantasy, where all technology is driven by elemental spirits who have been bound to power and drive the machines and gadgets. While the series is named after Olivia Faraday, the Deathsniffer, by far the most compelling and intriguing character, she remains elusive and inscrutable, as the book is narrated by one 19 year-old, somewhat dimwitted prettyboy, Christopher Buckley, who, as you'd guess from the title, is hired as her assistant.

This is where the writing really fails us. Apart from some awkward sentences and typo errors, the main problem is I really can't tell if the author actually meant for Chris to come off as much of an idiot as he does. I think she meant to create a complex system of conflicts that involve the death of his parents in a disaster of a crashing floating castle that occurred 5 years previously, his awkward efforts to care for and protect his 13 year-old sister, who on one hand is clearly more powerful and capable of caring for herself than he, but inexplicably is given an immature voice more suited to an 8 year-old. Perhaps it's just how Chris continues to view her, but it's annoying. In fact, Chris is annoying. He's constantly worrying about what is proper, and while that was an issue in real Edwardian times where people's heads were messed up with repressive Protestant religious values, in this world, they do not seem to have Christianity, but rather worship some sort of spirits. It's all kind of muddled.

Also annoying is for all of Chris' handwringing about what is proper and right, the highly questionable morality of enslaving sentient beings in order to perform generally mundane tasks like lighting and running ferris wheels and transportation, is nearly completely ignored, except for a couple comments from his sister Rosemary. Readers with empathy for critters may have a low threshhold of tolerance for this situation, which is just taken for granted.

Olivia Faraday is quirky and sometimes funny, but with inexplicable moodswings as if she's bipolar. I feel like the book could have been improved by including more of her own story. The mystery at hand is fairly complex and involving. And it would have made a fine mystery novel, but the narrator could really care less about the actual case, as all of his inner voice is spent ruminating on the loss of his parents, worrying about his sister, and repressing whatever feelings he has bottled up about the people around him. It's quite frustrating. When the mystery is solved, it feels anticlimactic, because there are at least four other threads in the story that are unaddressed and unresolved. I realize this is meant to be an ongoing serial, but come on, throw us a bone. The ending left me completely unsatisfied and irritated, and unlikely to keep reading the series.
Profile Image for Heather.
278 reviews55 followers
February 23, 2018
Things I liked:

The author introduces her world with such confidence and subtly that you feel like you're diving back into a series rather than reading the first book.
There's worldbuilding throughout the story, characters introduced in intriguing ways that hint at more to come. There are platonic friendships between men and women (fuck yEs), sibling protectiveness, badass ladies in charge, mentions of sexuality that i imagine will be fleshed out throughout the rest of the series, and side stories that weave into a world i couldn't step away from until the very last sentence.
The characters! Yes, they get their own little section. Chris is an awkward, pretentious cupcake, Olivia is a badass, witty, unapologetic female lead without compromising her humanness in a way that say, BBC'S Sherlock does (no hate, but yeah...he isn't a god, people, pls). I hope we get more of Rosemarie! And more into Olivia's backstory/mind. And WILL. I love him already....and I also sense a certain ship heading straight - ha! - into my heart.

Things I didn't like:

The villain was a gay character, and the only explicitly LGBT+ within the book (though as i've said above, i believe in the author's subtle promise to develop other characters' sexualities as the series continues). So although it won't be the only rep we see, it is a trope i'm personally a little tired of seeing; the vengeful and rejected gay character. But it felt as tastefully done as can be, perhaps it just wasn't my cup of tea.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jenessa.
43 reviews
December 17, 2015
I received an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. My honest recommendation is thus: Buy it if you're interested in fantasy (especially "fantasy of manners"), mysteries, stories with deep and complex worldbuilding and magic systems, or any combination of these. I adore this book.

"The Deathsniffer's Assistant" by Kate McIntyre is a fantastic mystery set in an Edwardian realm where magic is dying. Years after the crash of the Floating Castle killed hundreds in a case of spiritbinding gone wrong, Christopher Buckley is forced by his dwindling family fortune to take on menial work as an assistant to investigative Deathsniffer Olivia Faraday. But while working on a case surrounding the death of Duke Viktor val Daren, Chris and Olivia stumble onto a conspiracy that goes deeper than anyone could have imagined. Two factions, the traditionalists and the reformists, fight constantly over whose outlook is best for the future of Tarland, and their schemes may have been tied up in the Floating Castle incident. Not to mention the way both factions seek to take Christopher's talented younger sister, Rosemary, under their wing and use her to their own ends.

It's odd to me that fantasy themed mysteries are so uncommon. I've always enjoyed a good mystery, and surely in a fantasy world it would be even easier to create a case where you can make a new set of rules stick properly. A lot of fantasy books have mystery elements, pieces that go unexplained until the inevitable plot twist, but there's very few out-and-out detective stories, and this one does it beautifully.

The true lead of the story is not Chris, but Olivia Faraday, who brings light and life to the pages in a way I'm not sure any other character could. Olivia is larger than life in a way that understandably puts off other characters in the book -- they can't understand and sometimes can't tolerate her behavior or her frenzied energy, but the book is all the better for it. Olivia needs her story told, and yet it's completely understandable that she can't be the one to tell it. Chris himself is a likeable enough character, if occasionally a judgmental ponce, and he's an acceptable everyman to be a window into the madness that is Olivia's life and business.

One of the most important things to me about this book is the sheer number of strong and individual female characters that make up it cast. You have Olivia, of course, the titular Deathsniffer -- manic and eccentric, as at-once confusing and brilliant as Sherlock Holmes. Olivia's supervisor is a tough, stubborn woman named Maris who is a stickler for procedure and has a lot of practice with Olivia's wilder attitudes. Christpher hires a governess, Rachel Albany, who is a stern woman with a magical ability to sense and respond to emotions from other people. Christopher's first case, the death of Viktor val Daren, is brought to Olivia by Viktor's wife, Evelyn, a noblewoman greatly concerned with maintaining her reputation and appearance, as well as the safety of her fragile and sweet daughter, Analaea. And, of course, there's Christopher's sister, Rosemary -- headstrong and willful, wanting to use her natural magical gifts to help society without realizing how she might be taken advantage of. Every female character is different from the one introduced prior to her.

There's other characters, of course. Christopher's family friend and financial advisor, Fernand. The sleazy loan shark Rayner Kolston. Doctor Livingstone, leader of the reformist movement calling for change in Tarlish society's view of spiritbinding. And the young, proud William, a man who can see the past of an object just by touching it. Every character is important, either to the mystery itself or to the greater story in the backdrop, involving Christopher's fortunes as well as the truth about the Floating Castle Incident. There's no extraneous or unnecessary voices.

I also greatly enjoy the magic system in this book. I'm often skeptical of "spreadsheet fantasy," where it seems like all magic can be mapped out according to specific categories without any overlap. I've enjoyed Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn books, for example, but often found that the magic system was too straightforward. While this magic system has some of those elements, there's also a lot of underlying complications. The process of categorization which determines what gifts a person has is starting to fail, and more people are emerging from it without any skills that the test can find. It's implied that the boxes which Tarland society puts its magicians into aren't natural constraints of the system, but ones that they have found convenient -- and ones which might not even be accurate. On top of that, the most valued members of the magical elite, the spiritbinders, are becoming fewer and fewer, and ones that do exist, like Rosemary, get burned through quickly by a society desperate to maintain the status quo. In addition, the way that the magic of Tarlish society has influenced its technology and development is always apparent, and it never feels like the two developed separately from one another.

The mystery is well put together and shines in retrospect, but I think the most interesting part of the book is the greater conspiracy that surrounds the story and will almost definitely be dealt with further in future books. What really happened to the Floating Castle? Was it just a natural failing of spiritbinding or was there sabotage? Why? And who would have done such a thing? Why is categorization failing, and what does it mean for the future of Tarland? There's a really firm foundation for future books here. Kate McIntyre has indicated on her Goodreads page, as well as on her personal blog, that there are three more Deathsniffer books in the works and that the second one has just been finished and is currently undergoing revisions. I'll be eagerly waiting for the second book -- and in line to buy the first.

I'm going to be recommending this book to a lot of people I know and probably giving it to a few of them as a surprise gift.
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