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The Conductors

(Murder and Magic #1)

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  2,753 ratings  ·  844 reviews
Introducing Hetty Rhodes, a magic-user and former conductor on the Underground Railroad who now solves crimes in post–Civil War Philadelphia.

As a conductor on the Underground Railroad, Hetty Rhodes helped usher dozens of people north with her wits and magic. Now that the Civil War is over, Hetty and her husband Benjy have settled in Philadelphia, solving murders and myster
Paperback, 422 pages
Published March 2nd 2021 by John Joseph Adams/Mariner Books
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Leigh McF That part also confused me. I don’t think they were guilty of leaving someone behind. Maybe he just needed someone to blame. I hope that this reply me…moreThat part also confused me. I don’t think they were guilty of leaving someone behind. Maybe he just needed someone to blame. I hope that this reply means if someone else comments I will be notified because I am curious about this too. (less)

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Average rating 3.71  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,753 ratings  ·  844 reviews

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Chelsea Humphrey
Oct 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

"Who are you people?" Elle stammered. "You summon birds, walk into gunfire with little pause, and make people vanish into the air."

Hetty held out a hand to the girl, much as she'd done many times before, and said, "Someone here to help."

The Conductors is a debut novel from Nicole Glover full of substance and emotion, and I am in awe of her creative prowess. Combining the history of the Underground Railroad with a magic system is both unique and inventive, especially due to the fact tha
Feb 04, 2021 rated it liked it
1858. Boykin Farm, South Carolina. Hetty (soon to be Hetty Rhodes) was the best seamstress in the county. Her Mistress gained favor by lending her out to neighbors. Hetty was forced to wear a collar around her neck, a sign that she could perform magic. "The night she broke and removed her collar, she escaped with Esther [her sister] using a map and song she had memorized...Going North...We follow the stars...their luck ran out...Esther was caught. Benjy was never supposed to board the transport ...more
Aug 07, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2020
DNF at 30%

A big thank you to the publishers and Netgalley for providing me with an uncorrected proof of this book, in exchange for an honest review.

Unfortunately, I didn’t like this book. I can’t say I hated it because there might be a slight hope for this book. I just hope that it gets polished a bit before the release date.

Reasons why I didn’t like this book:

The magic system. When you start reading it, it becomes clear that only POC can access magic and because of that they were punished and e
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘

CW - (view spoiler)

Have you ever read a more fantastic premise than this : the year is 1871. Hetty and her husband, magic users and former conductors on the Underground Railroad, are swept into a gruesome murder investigation that will force them to question the friendships they nurtured since the end of slavery. I dare you not to ac
This novel has an interesting fantasy element in the story of two ex-slaves who act as conductors for the Underground Railway in the 1860s, helping other slaves escape to the North. They are able to use a system of magic to help them evade those hunting for them.

Following the abolition of slavery in the US in 1865, conductors Hetty and Benjy are now living and working in Philadelphia. Hetty as a seamstress and Benjy as a blacksmith. They also help those who escaped slavery look for their relativ
Thistle & Verse
With a witty and opinionated protagonist, creative magical system, and historical references, there's a lot to love about The Conductors. Full review here: ...more
The Artisan Geek
Nov 29, 2019 marked it as to-read
So intrigues by the premise! A black murder mystery set after the civil war, about former conductors of the underground railroad, featuring black elites AND it's fantasy?! Wild. Going to have to read this one!

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Feb 07, 2021 rated it liked it
This is a hard one to rate for me, because there are a lot of interesting elements going on in this book that intrigued me and I thought were successful. The premise (murder mystery in post-Civil War American following a Black couple with magic who solve crimes) was really intriguing and had moments of delivering me what I wanted. I think this book ultimately didn't fully come together for me, as I thought the pacing was just all over the place and it kept me from fully connecting with the chara ...more
Jan 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Check out more reviews on my blog

This was one of my very anticipated releases for 2021 and my spidey sense were right, because I loved it. It’s a mystery novel starring a married couple, who used to be conductors on the Underground Railway. While the book does a lot of things, it’s a mystery novel, then there’s the story of Hetty looking for her sister, the relationship between Hetty and Benjy, the magic that exists in the world, I think the mystery is the main focus. I noticed
Mel (Epic Reading)
Sep 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
Really well written for a debut novel. Let's jump right into the details today:

Our characters are adults whom are in committed relationships. No weird love triangles, first time love, or overdone romance. It's so rare to have a married couple (whom we didn't see meet one another at first) be the focus of a first book in a series. I love how their relationship grows and changes over the course of the book. As someone in a relationship of 13+ years their interactions, nuances, and treat
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Jan 25, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
Hetty and Benjy Rhodes were once Underground Railroad conductors, using courage and a touch of magic to bring dozens of people to safety in the north.
With the Civil War over, Hetty is still focused on locating her sister Esther from her new home base in Philadelphia. Hetty works as a dressmaker while Benjy is a blacksmith but together the couple solve crimes in their community that white authorities have zero interest in. When their friend Charlie is found dead in an alley, Hetty and Benjy sear
On my blog.

Actual rating 4.5

Rep: Black cast, gay characters, trans side character

CWs: period typical racism, descriptions of slavery, murder, gore

Galley provided by publisher

You know when you make the mistake of reading an ARC a full seven months early and so you can’t really discuss-slash-yell-about it except obliquely? Well, that’s the case with this book. By the time this review goes out, it will, obviously, be released or closer to release date, so you’ll just have to take on trust just
Fadwa (Word Wonders)
Thank you to an the publisher for providing me with an early listening copy

hmm...hMMM...I had high expectations for this book that weren't quite met, because it took me over the halfway mark to truly get into it but I ended up overall enjoying it.

The things I liked:
- The concept of magic. I loved that in the world Glover created, anyone could do magic in some capacity, it just had to be harnessed and depending on every person's beliefs, this magic took a different shape and form. Cele
Bethany (Beautifully Bookish Bethany)
This is a complicated book to review. The things that it does well are great and the concept is very original. I am definitely interested in reading on in the series. However, it's painfully obvious that this is a debut and there are some issues (which we will get into) with the writing and the pacing. That said, I hope people will give this a chance (with measured expectations) and that the author gets to hone her writing in what could be a very cool series.

The Conductors is a historical fanta
Thanks to Librofm for the Advanced Listening Copy in exchange of an honest review.

4 stars

The Conductors by Nicole Glover is an alternative historical-fantasy set in post-Civil War America following Hetty and Benji, slaves turned conductors, who use their celestial magic to free other slaves.

Hetty held out a hand to the girl, much as she'd done many times before, and said, "Someone here to help."

The magic system is what makes the book stand out. Even though the original magical world was a hit,
This is such a fun historical fantasy adventure, with a fantastically real-feeling cast of characters full of rich personal histories, a beautiful magical system, and a husband-and-wife crime-solving team that is only too horrified to realize they're actually falling in love (several years after their very practical marriage)! I hope there are lots more books to come in this series. ...more
The Captain
Mar 02, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
Ahoy there mateys! This debut novel has really fun concepts that weren't developed to their full potential though I would be willing to try another of the author's books in the future.  I think there were too many pathways in this book and so everything got muddled.

This book follows Hetty and her husband Benjy, former slaves who are in a marriage of convenience.  They used to be members of the underground railroad helping others find freedom.  The Civil War is over and the duo help solve crimes
Amanda Hupe
Mar 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, 2021-reads
Thank you to NetGalley, Nicole Glover, and Mariner Books for the opportunity to read this book!

The Conductors by Nicole Glover is not only the first book in the Murder and Magic series but it is also a DEBUT novel. The book begins by introducing Hetty Rhodes. She was once a conductor for the Underground Railroad. She used her celestial magic to bring many to safety and freedom. But now The Civil War is over. They have settled in Philadelphia, but just because the war is over doesn’t mean the dan
Dec 30, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: wom-22, 3500-2022, jan-22
The Conductors by Nicole Glover is the 1st book in her "Murder and Magic" series.
While I love the premise of a murder mystery with magical elements set after the Civil War, I found the many characters (except for the two main protagonists) to be confusing.
Hetty and her husband Benjy used to work as conductors on the Underground Railroad. They used their magic to help people escape slavery. Once the Civil War was over and slavery abolished they used their magic to solve crimes in their Philadelp
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
3.5 Stars
I loved the premise of this historical fantasy a little more than the actual execution. The story was very slow and not particularly suspenseful. This book reminded me a bit of Dread Nation, but just not as good. The plot and narrative was just unfortunately very weak. However, I did like the couple at the centre of the story. I would recommend listening to the audiobook version because the narration really uplifted the story for me. 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this audiobook via L
Ms. Woc Reader
Mar 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
It's important to note I listened to the audiobook which I received via Libro FM for this while reading alongside an advance copy that I was sent by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Nothing really changes between them outside of some grammar and sentence structures. While I usually don't like Bahni Turpin's narration I thought it flowed steadily here.

As the first book in the series we are introduced to a lot of characters. And like many fantasy stories you're thrown into the world rather than eased in
laurel [the suspected bibliophile]
Hetty Rhodes and her husband Benjy were celebrated conductors on the Underground Railroad, famous for their prowess in magic and for never losing a person. The war has ended, and both are making ends meet in Philadelphia, solving murders and mysteries the white authorities won't touch. But when a friend is murdered, all signs point towards something nefarious in their inner circle of friends, particularly among the elites of Black Philadelphia.

I really, really enjoyed this.

A bit messy at first (
Rosava Doshchyk
Jun 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

It was a quite good debut. 3.7 stars from me.

The novel is designed as a town mystery in historical settings with some fantasy elements. Married couple Hetty and Benjy are solving a crime of their friend’s murder. It’s post Civil War times and police wouldn’t be very interested in the Black people cases so they took responsibility for helping their community with major and lesser problems. The strange death of the respected tho
Lou (nonfiction fiend)
Mar 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
The Conductors is the first instalment in the Magic and Murder historical fantasy series, set in post-Civil War Philadelphia. It introduces married couple Henrietta “Hetty” and Benjamin “Benjy” Rhodes, former conductors for the Vigilance Society, a group ferrying dozens of Black slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad. Settling in Reconstruction-era Pennsylvania, both Hetty and Benjy are famed for their daring and cunning chaperoning of the enslaved from the South to the freedom and rel ...more
Jun 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
Nicole Glover's The Conductors takes readers to a post-Civil War America divided not only by race, but also by magic.

A few of the "rules" governing this world—

1. Whites can use wands to do magic, called "sorcery," and which has all the negatives that name implies.

2. Any white with a wand had the power they need to engage in sorcery.

3. Some, but not all, Blacks are able to engage in celestial magic, which doesn't require a wand, and instead uses "sigils" representing different star constellations
2021-10: Decided to listen to this to remind myself of what the characters and their best friends are like. Of course, Bahni Turpin's narration was terrific.

2021-02: Escaped slaves and former Conductors in the Underground Railroad, Hetty and Benjy Rhodes used their magic and wits to help slaves escape and evade pursuit by sorcery-wielding hunters. The Rhodes’ Celestial magic, and those of many other slaves) is spell-based and is invoked through sigils, and is forbidden and punished by slave owne
Sep 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, historical, arc
3.5 stars

Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

This was a great historical fantasy book that I really enjoyed reading. I loved the magic system; I love how the author integrated both sorcery and celestial-based magic. It felt very fresh and original, and not something I’ve read about before. This book is a captivating blend of genres; traditional fantasy elements mixed with a murder mystery, all in a historical setting. The premise was certainly fasc
Jun 23, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2022, lgbtq
FINALLY an enjoyable fantasy fiction for young adults that was engaging, yet hard hitting at the same time.
Elizabeth (Plant Based Bride)
The Conductors is a unique fantasy whodunnit with a historical setting and a whole lot of heart!

Hetty is a marvelous protagonist to spend a book with. Strong, yet vulnerable, caring, yet guarded, independent, yet willing to admit when she needs help and to accept that help graciously. Benji, her husband, was more mysterious to the reader as we don't get his point of view. And yet, I found myself grinning at their dynamic by the final chapters. As much as this book is about solving a murder myste
Sheena ☆ Book Sheenanigans

‘The Conductors’ is a truly compelling debut that did at first have a rough start but page by page, I become engrossed in Hetty and Benjy, infamous duo that now solves crimes in post-Civil War Philadelphia, journey in discovering who were committing the horrific murders while they dealt with the bubbling feelings and well guarded secrets neither one expected during the course of their marriage of convenience.

It was a perfect blend of an historical novel with fantasy and mystery e
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“Friends," Penelope concluded for Hetty, "they may stay in your life always, but there may come times for them to go separate ways.” 2 likes
“Life rolls on.' Benjy shrugged. 'It's too big to slow down or to pause over something as commonplace as death.” 1 likes
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