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The Last Smile in Sunder City

(The Fetch Phillips Archives #1)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  414 ratings  ·  179 reviews
A former soldier turned PI tries to help the fantasy creatures whose lives he ruined in a world that's lost its magic in a compelling debut fantasy by Black Sails actor Luke Arnold.

Welcome to Sunder City. The magic is gone but the monsters remain.

I'm Fetch Phillips, just like it says on the window. There are a few things you should know before you hire me:

1. Sobriety
Paperback, 368 pages
Published February 25th 2020 by Orbit (first published February 6th 2020)
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ARC provided by the publisherOrbitin exchange for an honest review.

A well-written urban fantasy with a wonderful take on the premise of what happens when magic runs out?

The Last Smile in Sunder City is Luke Arnolds debut, its the first book in an urban fantasy series titled Fetch Phillips Archives. I think Im speaking on behalf of many readers that we have come to know the name Luke Arnold from his role as Long John Silver in the Black Sails TV series. Admittedly, I didnt finish watching the TV
There is so much to love in Luke Arnold's debut, a dark, urban fantasy noir, it is so well written and positively drips with atmosphere. Then there is the central protagonist, the downbeat, jaded, cynical, tired, and self loathing detective, Fetch Philips. The world building is done with style and imagination, so richly descriptive that you can picture Sunder City, a place that originally grew and built upon the underground fire pit and the blue collar workers who made their living from the ...more
Fetch Phillips has a lot to atone for. More than most people realise, or hed already be dead. Living at what might euphemistically be called rock bottom, he takes a last minute job investigating the disappearance of a vampire teacher at a local school. Its this or die. The temptation to throw himself out the Angel door of his office is becoming too hard to resist. But Sunder City hides all manner of things in its shadows and Fetch is about to find himself a problem that might just be too big for ...more
Holly (Holly Hearts Books)
A good man is made through a lifetime of work. Great men are made by their monsters.

The Wolf Among Us meets L.A. Noire in this new urban fantasy. Luke Arnold has delivered a well-written adventure, with an added dose of stylish noire presentation.
Fetch Phillips is a mercenary for hire with a colorful past. Running from one job to another, following whoever rings the bell. Fetch has a character introduction thats funny, brutal, and mysterious in the best possible ways.

Set in a grimey place called
Actual Rating: 3.75 stars

RTC soon...
I should have loved this. The world Luke Arnold created here (post-magic, well-thought-out, imaginative) is absolutely brilliant. I adore stories that deal with the fall-out of an event that fundamentally alters the laws of the physical world (see N. K. Jemisin's books and Robert Jackson Bennett's The Divine Cities trilogy for excellent examples) and this book does this incredibly - on a world-building level. I got the impression that Arnold's imagination is endless and the way in which he ...more
ARC provided by the publisher, Orbit in exchange for an honest opinion. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and the quotes included may have changed in the released copy.

Actual rating: 3.5 stars

The Last Smile in Sunder City is a UF mystery, imbued with a unique personality, a moody atmosphere and a deep wistfulness.

The very first paragraph set the tone quite immediately, hurtling you into Fetch Phillips' melancholic thoughts and destroyed world. For the world, or more specifically
TS Chan
Jan 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-review-copy
ARC received from the publisher, Orbit UK, in exchange for an honest review.

4.5 stars.

The Last Smile in Sunder City was an impressive debut by Luke Arnold; a dark urban fantasy that enraptured me with its stellar worldbuilding and writing style.

Firstly, I've never been exposed to much noir elements in my reading so far, so I won't be able to make any comparisons. However, I can still safely say that this book accurately captured that feel in its worldbuilding and the characterisation of its main
Last Smile is a blend of urban fantasy with Hardboiled private eye. You see there once where all these magical beings, but the war is over, the magic is gone, and the elves, the dwarves, the ogres, and the goblins are now doctors, lawyers, and accountants. Lots of good imagination at work here, but I never fully bought into the concept.
Originally posted to I Should Read That

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This review is spoiler-free.

Im not familiar with Luke Arnolds acting career, however I was still intrigued by his debut novel, The Last Smile in Sunder City. I had heard good things about it and was incredibly curious to try it for myself. I admit I was a little wary going in because the book seemed to have some similarities to The Dresden Files, a series that I very much dislike, however The
Peter McLean
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The magic didn't die, it was killed. That's a problem in a world that runs on magic. When humans killed the magic, they doomed all the magical creatures in their world to suffering and death. Technology stopped working, factories stopped running, dragons fell out of the air, elves got very old very quickly, and dryads turned to dead wood. It's fair to say this lead to some resentment.

Welcome to Sunder City, a bleak, noir cityscape struggling to come to terms with the Coda, the death of magic.
Feb 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-reads
If you are familiar with my blog, then you know I am a HUGE fan of pirates. So when I found out that Black Sails actor, Luke Arnold wrote a book. I could not resist. The Last Smile in Sunder City by Luke Arnold is the first book in an urban fantasy series called the Fetch Phillips Archives. Magic has been torn away from the world, but the creatures are still there. Everything is upside down. Fetch Phillips is human. He holds so much guilt. Once a soldier now a man for hire. One job he picks up ...more
A successful blend of detective noir and urban fantasy. I can't begin to express how much I love this novel.

A protagonist who by all accounts should be unlovable, uninteresting, even unlikeable, yet I love him. He was so well-written, it was easy to get a glimpse into his mind and soul, and get a real understanding of him. At that point, Fletch Phillips became a trusted friend.

Deep, immersive, a little lengthy at times, yet the world building in this book made Sunder City an interesting, vivid
The Nerd Daily
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Annie Deo

The Last Smile in Sunder City is a dark fantasy noir novel in which the protagonist investigates a disappearance that appears simple on the surface, but as he digs deeper, he becomes embroiled in a complex web of deceit, corruption and violence.

In the classic tradition of noir fiction, the protagonist Fetch Phillips is a deeply flawed and morally ambiguous man in a broken world where nothing makes sense anymore and the lines between
Lauren Stoolfire
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Last Smile in Sunder City by Luke Arnold has a lot of potential to be a great urban fantasy noir, but it never quite makes it there. Noir is one of my favorite genres, both film and books, so I jump at the chance to try something new. It's can be a lot of fun when combined urban fantasy which is one of my other favorite genres and this story has quite a bit to like about it, especially when it comes to the atmosphere of the
Christi M
Feb 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Last Smile in Sunder City is a noir fantasy book following Fetch Phillips, a struggling PI detective, or a Man for Hire, as he prefers to be called.

Years prior to when this story begins, this world experienced an event called the Coda where the human army was envious of the power of magic and decided to changeeverything. In their lust to capture magic for themselves they fundamentally changed magic for everyone. The world was now drained of magic. Some creatures were immediately no more,
Feb 16, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
The Last Smile in Sunder City has an interesting concept, but fails in in execution. Arnold focuses on his world at the expense of the plot.

The Last Smile in Sunder City features a lot of fantasy elements making the world rich and colorful, however Arnold relies heavily on the telling the reader about his world instead of showing. There are pages upon pages of the main character directly explaining to the reader why things are the way they are or how things got to be a certain way. It almost
Sheila Goicea
I received an ARC of this book from Orbit via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! In no way does this affect my rating or review.


My Blog ¦ Bookstagram ¦ Twitter ¦ Pinterest ¦ Facebook
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full review is here, on my blog!~

This story takes place in Sunder City, which is a city not so much unlike our own at one time or another. Well, kind of anyway. The world is peopled with all kinds of magical beings. Vampires, Werewolves, Wizards, Banshee, Sirens, and so on, but the magic is gone. Humans killed it. So we see a city of magical beings learning to live without the magic that sustains them. Vampires are slowly dying. Banshee are mute. Werewolves are very much half human and half
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Last Smile in Sunder City is not a book I would normally read- I'm not very familiar with the fantasy genre except for some of the classics, so I approached this book with few presumptions and was happy to appreciate a novel so outside of my usual genre wheelhouse. A few have already gone at length about the use of setting- I think this is what surprised me most about the book. There's some necessary exposition at the beginning of the novel that very clearly, very pointedly lays down some of ...more
Sean Morton
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An exciting debut from Luke Arnold.

From Long John Silver and Michael Hutchence Fame, Australian actor Luke Arnold has turned to writing with his urban fantasy novel The Last Smile in Sunder City. The magic is gone, and in the six years since various magical beings have had to come to terms with their changed bodies and minds. Fetch Phillips, a guilt ridden human, tries his best to make up for his mistakes by helping the denizens of Sunder City. So when a frail vampire goes missing, it is the
Jason Aycock
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
What do you do when you discover that Long John Silver has written a book? Not the actual literary character mind you, but the guy who played one so superbly on TV. You do everything you can to get a copy of it and read it is what you do! And the first question you ask yourself is can an actor write a good book? Well, let me say this

Luke Arnold has crafted a thrilling urban-noir fantasy debut dripping with melancholy and regret that explores the souls inner turmoil of living with bad decisions
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this from Netgalley and the Publisher in exchange for my open and honest review.

The Last Smile in Sunder City by Luke Arnold is a fantasy novel about sin, redemption, and hope. The story follows a man-for-hire named Fetch Phillips. Fetch is a human working in a town full of mystical creatures. Humans are hated, and for a good reason. However, in a redemptive bid to atone for past sins, Fetch's job and his sole purpose in life are to help non-humans, usually in the form of PI
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 7.5/10

Thanks to, Hachette Audio, and the author for an advance listening copy of The Last Smile in Sunder City (The Fetch Phillips Archives #1) in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this ALC did not influence my thoughts or opinions.

The Last Smile in Sunder City is a splendid debut; one that is a breath of stale air, grit, and blood in a city where the magic is all gone and the drinks cant come quick enough. What we end up with is an entertaining urban fantasy romp through
keikii Eats Books
To read more of my reviews, check out my blog at keikii Eats Books!

I hadn't changed his mind; I'd just made his whole vigilante act a lot less fun. Fetch Phillips: professional party pooper. If there's a thing he can't ruin; buddy, we ain't found it yet.

The world sucks, and everyone hates it. And it wasn't always this way. War happened, and the result was that magic left the world in an instant. Creatures that lived for centuries lay dying or were dead soon after magic left.
Feb 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, reviewed, adult-sff
[This review can also be found on my BLOG]

**I was gifted a copy by Orbit Books UK in exchange for an honest review**

The Last Smile in Sunder City follows Fetch Phillips, a "Man for Hire" who spends his days doing the odd jobs for those who call upon his services. That is, as long as you're not human. You see Sunder City is a place where all sorts of magical creatures live - vampires, werewolves, witches, goblins, elves, fae...

It was once a thriving place full of magic, but a few years prior an
Rachel Bridgeman
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: february-20
Hugest of thanks to the awesome Nazia at Orbit Books for my gifted review copy of 'The Last Smile In Sunder City' by Luke Arnold, which is hopefully the first in a series. As well as a cracking debut novel, it sets up the world of Archetellos so vividly that I want to go back there.

Some kind of alchemy must be involved in the creation of a novel such as this, in just 316 pages Luke has managed to create an entire world, a mythology, a quest and a solid  central character in Fetch Phillips
Joana Morais
A man might falter but his words, once written, will hold.

*3.5 Stars

The Last Smile in Sunder City is a mystery set in a post-apocalyptic fantasy world. Admittedly, that sounds like a little much, so let's break it down:

In Luke Arnold's debut we follow Fetch Williams, a cynical man-for-hire tasked with uncovering the truth behind the disappearance of a vampire. This plot is set to the backdrop of a world that recently lost all its magic in an event called Coda, leaving all magical beings to deal
Tim Hicks
Mar 10, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I'll make the usual allowance for this being a first novel. As others noted, now that the world-building and background are done, we can move ahead.

Niven and others have done magic-going-away, but it's good to see someone try magic-suddenly-gone, although I can't quite buy the idea of magic as a river, and did I miss the answer to WHERE DID IT GO?

Noir is OK I guess, the hard-drinking detective etc., but I'm more and more ready for a detective who's just a detective, goes around solving stuff
✰  BJ's Book Blog ✰Janeane ✰
ARC received from Hachette Australia for an honest review

I was excited to start reading The Last Smile In Sunder City after I read the blurb. It is not really a genre that I usually read, however I was intrigued.

Unfortunately, the book did not hit the expectations that I had for it.

It started off with a great noir feel to it, and I could kind of picture our main man Fetch Phillips walking the dystopian, post magic world in a trench coat, cigarette hanging from his mouth and a hat slouched over
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“So, you’re a Man for Hire?” “That’s right.” “Why don’t you just call yourself a detective?” “I was worried that might make me sound intelligent.” 2 likes
“I was only in my thirties but I was old. You don’t measure age in years, you measure it in lessons learned and repeated mistakes and how hard it is to force a little hope into your heart. Old just means jaded and cynical and tired. And boy, was I tired.” 2 likes
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