Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Conductors” as Want to Read:
The Conductors
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Conductors

(Murder and Magic #1)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  1,148 ratings  ·  518 reviews
A compelling debut by a new voice in fantasy fiction, The Conductors features the magic and mystery of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files written with the sensibility and historical setting of Octavia Butler’s Kindred: 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
Paperback, 422 pages
Published March 2nd 2021 by John Joseph Adams/Mariner Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Conductors, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,148 ratings  ·  518 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Conductors
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!

You can find me on
Youtube | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Website
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
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
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
charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)
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
Feb 10, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: black-authors
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
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
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
Ms. Woc Reader
Mar 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
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 (
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,
Sheena ☆ Oh, the 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
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
Sep 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, fantasy, 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
Mar 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
Spoiler Free Video Review:

Thank you NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC of this book.

This was an incredibly fun murder mystery fantasy story. When I read detective stories the thing that really helps me enjoy it is less about the mystery but more about the character interactions. My favorite thing is to have a team of people working together and Hetty and Benji are an amazing duo. They are up there with some of my favorite tv drama detective pairs
Seema Rao
Jun 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
So enjoyable and engrossing. This is the type of “historical” mystery I love; one that reimagines reality and history. Plus it plays with conceptions of race. A thoroughly enjoyable read.

Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
Literary Redhead
A totally unique historical fantasy about a husband and wife team, former conductors on the Underground Railroad, who use celestial magic to solve murders after the Civil War. I loved Hetty and Benjy and their growing close marriage, how they work as one to support each other and their besieged community. And the way author Nicole Glover weaves magic into the narrative is completely addictive. A stellar debut, highly recommended! Out now.

5 of 5 Stars
#TheConductors #NetGalley

Thanks to the author
Mar 17, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio2021
The story alternates chapters from the past 1858-1865, with the present (1871). Most of the story takes place in Post-Civil War Philadelphia after the Emancipation Proclamation was enacted. This fantasy was rich with stories of the Underground railroad (with a magical twist) and the story of Hetty and her husband Benjy as they solve cases for the black folk in their neighborhood. This time they are dealing with a series of murders.

The magical elements were interesting and the more I learned, the
Jan 18, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs, 2021
Actual rating is a 2.5

There are a lot of interesting elements to The Conductors. We have a murder mystery, an alternate history setting in the 1800s, and interesting magic systems. The main characters Hetty and Benjy used to be conductors on the Underground Railroad and now investigate mysteries for clients who often have nowhere else to turn. The narrative balances their current investigations in the 1870s with flashbacks of their days as conductors, which serve to provide background on some of
Elizabeth Turnbull
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
On the Same Page
ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

I enjoyed the premise of the book. Having two different magic systems with racial prejudices and discrimination attached was interesting. I enjoyed the descriptions of celestial magic, although I do think it was kept a bit too vague. I have no idea if certain constellations always have the same magic effect or if they do different things. Sorcery isn't fleshed out much at all, and all we get told is that they use w
Lauren Stoolfire
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Conductors (Murder and Magic #1) by Nicole Glover is a solid historical fantasy debut. I really liked the concept when it comes to the magic system and the post-Civil War setting. I liked the idea of Underground Railroad conductors having magical powers. The story starts off strong and held my attention. However, the book is a little overlong and it drags too much in several point half way through. I also wish we had more deta
Jul 02, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Genre blending is much like fusion cuisine, you have to really do it well and even then it won’t be to everyone’s liking, depending on ingredients. This book’s author decided to take a mystery set in the post emancipation, post war US and infuse it with magic. Specifically, fantasy style magic of spells and such. And I am quantifying this because I love all things related to the other kind of magic…the prestidigitation kind. But when it comes to magic with spells and magic wands, no thank you. I ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Please correct page number - The Conductors 3 12 Mar 09, 2021 04:42PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Long Way Down
  • The Unbroken (Magic of the Lost, #1)
  • Cracked Up to Be
  • Spinning
  • Kingdom of Ashes (Nightfall, #1)
  • Men and Monsters (Nightfall, #2)
  • Midnight Sun (Twilight, #5)
  • The Mask of Mirrors (Rook & Rose, #1)
  • One to Watch
  • The Bone Maker
  • Exciting Times
  • Zero Sum Game (Cas Russell, #1)
  • 東京喰種トーキョーグール 2 (Tokyo Ghoul, #2)
  • Infinity Son (Infinity Cycle #1)
  • The Great Offshore Grounds
  • Real Life
  • The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss
  • Superman Smashes the Klan
See similar books…
See top shelves…

Other books in the series

Murder and Magic (2 books)
  • The Undertakers (Murder & Magic #2)

Articles featuring this book

Happy Black History Month! Literary fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, fantasy, sci-fi, short stories, and young adult novels: This...
187 likes · 31 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“Friends," Penelope concluded for Hetty, "they may stay in your life always, but there may come times for them to go separate ways.” 1 likes
“Have you note heard the gossip? I 'm always difficult.” 0 likes
More quotes…