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The Year of the Knife

(Witch of Empire #1)

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  99 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Agent -Sully- Sullivan is one of the top cops in the Imperial Bureau of Investigation. A veteran witch of the British Empire who isn't afraid to use her magical skills to crack a case. But Sully might need more than a good education and raw power to stop the string of grisly murders that have been springing up across the American Colonies. Every one of them marked by the s ...more
Paperback, 270 pages
Published November 28th 2017 by Meerkat Press, LLC (first published October 31st 2017)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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Lex Kent
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
With it being almost Halloween, I have been craving some paranormal stories. When I saw this ARC, I was instantly interested. This is available as a Read Now option on Netgalley, so I grabbed it immediately. I am not familiar with this author, so I was not sure what to expect. Luckily, he writes well and I enjoyed this more than I hoped.

Sully is a powerfully witch that works for the IBI (Imperial Bureau of investigation) for the British Empire. It is her job to deal with the worst paranormal at
Lexxi Kitty
Book received from both Netgalley and Meerkat Press for an honest review

Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Mystery, Lesbian Fiction, Alt History.
I've read roughly 656 works that are lesbian fiction. 810 mysteries; 89 alt-histories; 667 fantasy; and 128 urban fantasy works. Why do I mention this? Because of those 656 lesbian fiction works I've read, the vast majority are contemporary romances, and when the books are fantasy (108 of those), they tend to be paranormal romances. You know how many tend
K. Aten
Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5 rounded up.

From the very beginning I could see that this book was not going to be your typical urban fantasy, or alternate history novel. Agent Sullivan is a hard-case with a big heart when it comes to her city and the people in it. Her job is not easy, investigating a string of murders whose clues only lead to more questions. And there is a conspiracy afoot and she's never quite sure who to trust. Sully's world is different enough to be intriguing, yet familiar enough to avoid confusion whi
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
I saw this book a few months ago, and was excited by the premise of the book, and ready to spend my hard-earned cash on it – but, boy, am I glad that I didn’t spend money on this book. Sully is an unsympathetic, and in my mind, often unredeemable character. The book opens with Sully liquefying a perpetrator who she has tracked into the subway, cackling the entire time. Even when she accidentally kills possessed civilians she shows no remorse for her behaviours.

And veering away from the issues I
Laura Hughes
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Original urban fantasy with attitude. I loved everything about this book, and can’t wait for the sequels!
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

This was actually a really interesting book and way better than I was expecting. It's set in an alternate version of America where we never gained independence from Britain so the British Empire is still the major controlling force in the world. I really enjoyed all the little details about the world and how things had changed because of this, it was very well-thought-out. The other half of the world-building area
Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The world in, The Year Of The Knife, is one that the good guys and the bad guys are apt to be magicians with contingencies in place if the bad guy happens to be a demon to boot. Female protagonist, Agent "Sully" Sullivan, is a witch in the, male dominated, Imperial Bureau of Investigation. But in the field, being a power house of magic, it's Sully and her, not solely book learned, spell casting abilities that dominate. For that reason she is tasked with averting who or what is responsible for th ...more
Ruthie Jones
Nov 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Year of the Knife is definitely a unique, fun, and fast-paced urban fantasy that will have you falling madly in love with Agent Sully. She has a certain spark that has nothing to do with her mad magic skills, although those are wickedly awesome. She does come across as completely abrasive and detached at times, but perhaps her in-your-face attitude is an attempt to compensate for her apparent small stature. Either way, she is feisty, quick witted, confident, and totally fearless. And she get ...more
Cheryl Whitty
Reviewed on behalf of,
Sully is a powerfully witch that works for the IBI (Imperial Bureau of investigation) for the British Empire. It is her job to deal with the worst paranormal attacks in the American colonies. When a string of mass murders continues to happen, it is up to Sully find and stop the killer. But soon Sully realizes she may be dealing with someone with magic never seen before. Can Sully crack the case before it is too late?
I devoured this book, it was full o
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: magic, urban-fantasy
Received from Expresso Book Tour in exchange for honest review

I was hooked after first few paragraphs, this book is soo good. The story starts in the middle of the action. She is called in to investigate weird case - Agent Sully works for IBI, she is magic practitioner and uses her skills to catch bad people. When people all over all murdered in weird way, she will have to use all she got, to solve it.

She is one my favourite female characters in urban fantasy. Sully is the definition of kick-as
Fangs for the Fantasy
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oh wow there is such a lot here. So very much here.

We have a completely amazingly different alternate world. A modern day British Empire - with all the issues of Imperialism and Colonialism attached and examined. This isn’t some excuse to just play with the aesthetics - the Empire is not a benevolent force by any means (though there is some fascinating complexity there. I love how while definitely an issue, it also stands out as one of the few nations that don’t brutally persecute vampires). But
Danika at The Lesbrary
Sully has not been having a good summer. She works for IBI, the investigation bureau of the British empire, and despite the strikes against her--woman, Irish, gay--she has managed to gain some respect by being the best in the field. She may have learned from a hedge witch, but she can hold her own against any university-educated magic user. But she may officially be in over her head: every day, a new person, seemingly possessed, has been acting out public, grisly murders. That's impossible, thou ...more
Ry Herman
Jan 19, 2018 rated it liked it
This one sounded like it should have been right in my wheelhouse, story-wise, but somehow it never completely gelled for me. Maybe it was because, despite some very interesting world-building, the implications of all the magic floating around never seemed well thought out in terms of how it affected the society. Maybe it was because the protagonist, whom everyone considered highly intelligent, occasionally did suicidally stupid things for no very good reason. Parts of it were fun, but I ended by ...more
Jessica Rodrigues
It was an entertaining ride, but I was disappointed with the resolution.

The heroine was very likable and I would probably read another book with the main character. I enjoyed the mystery. However, it seems like there was no way to have predicted the solution -- key information is withheld from the reader until the end. Essentially, a new character just appears and explains everything. Even that explanation had holes in it; it's impossible to explain without spoiling the story.

There was also a cl
Alex Knight
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Inventive, wild, hilarious. I was familiar with Penman's work coming into this story and yet, this book blew me away. At no point was I anything less than entirely entertained and at several points I was left laughing out loud, or re-reading lines I wish I'd written. Looking for the most original book of the year? You've found it. Now stop reading my review and start reading this book! ...more
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really, really enjoyed GD Penman's "Year Of The Knife". It is an action-packed alternate history-cum-horror-cum fantasy treat, with a solid story, full of twists, turns and surprises. It is also a moving same-sex love story between two individuals, with the complications of being almost immortal. The feelings are described with authenticity and realism, something I often miss in this kind of novels. Extremely entertaining and a real page-turner, it is a highly recommended read!
Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I would describe this book as a mystery novel set in a magical alternate Earth. You could say it is magical realism.

The Earth that this book is set in is not quite our Earth. Even though the book is set in 2015, in this world the city of New Amsterdam is a colony of the British Empire, and the main character is an agent of that government. It still has phones and computers. I liked this parallel world. My main complaint about the world is that (view spoiler)
Byron Thompson
Nov 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an urban fantasy novel set in the present day. Except that America is still a British colony and magic is totally a thing. Agent Sully is an Imperial Bureau of Investigation agent. She's a witch. She's got to solve the mystery of who or what is causing a series of murders.

I haven’t read a lot of urban fantasy – a smattering of Harry Dresden here, some Neverwhere there – so I am far from an expert on that subgenre. But I know what i like. What do I want in my urban fantasy?

A cool protago
coty ⚡
Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, lgbt
some.. interesting (read: tone-deaf) interpretations of race + discrimination in the structure of this fantasy universe. while i enjoy characters being explicitly stated as lesbians and being visibly lgbt, too often you can tell sully was written by a man (at times, her character also seems to come across as a 'predatory lesbian trope' and.. come on... can we please do better?) i think the rules of magic are neat, but the actual plot doesn't grab me, and if the characters were more intriguing, m ...more
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Set somewhere in a mystical world, The Year of the Knife, by author G.D. Penman weaves an intricate and gripping tale about magic, aliens, and the macabre. British Agent Sullivan of the Imperial Bureau of Investigation investigates anything of the paranormal and supernatural. Going about her usual business of catching bad guys, she inadvertently gets thrust into the biggest mystery of the century. As one of the best agents of the Bureau, Agent Sully suddenly finds herself using her magical abili ...more
Nov 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Agent Sully works for the IBI, the Imperial Beaure of Investigation in New Amsterdam. Based on what I gathered, New Amsterdam is in an alternate reality? I found this part of the storyline hard to figure out which made the entire story a bit difficult for me to read and enjoy. She uses her magic to help her solve IBI cases. Currently, she is trying to murders in which the killers seem to be possessed by something, but she is not sure if that something is a demon or something else. Along the way, ...more
A beautiful heroine, lots of blood, lesbian sex thrown in, lots of magic and strange, strange surroundings.
I liked the book very much. For a long time it is not clear what is happening, so you keep thinking of all sorts of solutions.
I did not like the solution in the end.
But before that, I just kept on reading.
Barb Fischer
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-read
Here is the first line of the book:

"New Amsterdam was a city the way decapitation was a paper cut."

I mean, what a first line, right? If that doesn't grab your attention then I don't know what will.

I really enjoyed this book. A LOT. It starts from that stunning first line, grabs you and does not let you go. I could not put it down.

This is a fantasy mystery novel. So if you aren't into that sort of thing, then this might not be your bag. However, if you like Neil Gaiman, David Mitchell - then I th
Apr 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
I didn't give it 5 stars because there were some parts where I felt it was a bit exaggerated, but I really really loved it!
There were witches, vampires, magi, demons, everything a fantasy lover could've asked for.
I actually loved how Sully, a lesbian witch, was written. You know, sometimes men tend to write awful lesbian characters, but Sully was AMAZING! I loved how powerful, career-driven, and loyal she was.
Boy did I get a crush on her...
I would love it if there was a movie a
Jill Elizabeth
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 w ...more
J.D. DeHart
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Writing like Philip K. Dick in the fantasy genre, Penman provides a story that grips from the beginning and features a fantasy world. The writing does not shy away from some vivid details, and the book is descriptive to point of being literary.

I was interested both by the cover and synopsis of this book, and was not disappointed in what I found. Recommended for fantasy and science fiction readers.
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
Independent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian, I was gifted my copy of this book.

I'm not writing blurby bit, jumping straight in with this one.

My overwhelming feeling I'm left with (and you know how much I need to share my feelings!) is WTF did I just read??

Like, seriously?? I cannot figure out what the whole point of the book is?? I was following, until about two thirds a way through then it all went a bit nuts and I literally lost the plot with it. Totally, when the demons managed to voice what wa
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
The world building in this book is impressive, and does take a bit of adjusting to. It is a modern day world with gay marriage, magic, swords, demons, vampires, colonialism, and an Empress of the British Empire. I'm a little confused as to when the universe broke off from ours, as we have never had an Empress of Britain, except for Victoria's additional title of Empress of India. And protests are met with violent oppression, so how did gay marriage pass without protestors to kick start the movem ...more
Annette Jordan
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is one for fans of urban fantasy, especially if they like it with a dash of alternative history.
It's 2015 in New Amsterdam, and Sully, or Agent Sullivan, a witch of the Imperial Bureau of Investigaton as she is more formally known, finds herself at the heart of a mystery. Why are ordinary citizens committing grisly murders , and what is the Year of the Knife they all seem to be heralding?
Will her training with a hedge witch in Ireland be enough to figure out if this is demonic or some othe
Nov 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am really excited about The Year of the Knife, because I can tell you after the last few weeks reading horror and steamy romances, this was a most welcome change!

So here we have a fantasy with Witches, Mages, Vampires and of course Demons! Our main girl Sully is a witch pretty much and a badass agent! She gets assigned to a weird case of people going on murder rampages out of the blue and the plot thickens my friends!

I love Sully, she is pretty awesome and her somewhat bad attitude was pretty
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G. D. Penman is the author of more books than you can shake a reasonably-sized stick at.

Before finally realising that the career’s advisor lied to him about making a living as an author, G. D. Penman worked as an editor, tabletop game designer, and literally every awful demeaning job that you can think of in-between.

He is a veteran of the battlefields of Azeroth, Lordran, Tamriel and Thedas, but

Other books in the series

Witch of Empire (3 books)
  • The Wounded Ones (Witch of Empire #2)
  • The Last Days of Hong Kong

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  If you listen to NPR regularly, you’ve likely heard the voice of Shankar Vedantam, the longtime science correspondent and host of the radio...
7 likes · 1 comments
“Sully had a thing about birds - she wasn't particularly fond of them, but they seemed to be fond of her, showing up in flocks whenever she was upset. Marie was able to judge her mood by the number of seagulls outside the apartment at any given moment.” 0 likes
“New Amsterdam was a city the way decapitation was a paper cut. Both could make a person bleed and both would hurt like hell, but only one made bystanders start screaming.” 0 likes
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