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The Angel of the Crows

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  4,436 ratings  ·  623 reviews
Katherine Addison, author of The Goblin Emperor, returns with The Angel of the Crows, a fantasy novel of alternate 1880s London, where killers stalk the night and the ultimate power is naming.

This is not the story you think it is. These are not the characters you think they are. This is not the book you are expecting.

In an alternate 1880s London, angels inhabit every publi
ebook, 432 pages
Published June 23rd 2020 by Tor Books
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Alianoraree The angels in this book don't seem to be particularly connected with religion. They're an interesting supernatural race, but as likely to be guarding …moreThe angels in this book don't seem to be particularly connected with religion. They're an interesting supernatural race, but as likely to be guarding a hotel as a church.(less)

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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
On sale June 23! Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature:

The Angel of the Crows is Sherlock Holmes fanfic … if Sherlock were an outcast angel called Crow, Dr. Watson (here named Dr. Doyle) had a paranormal affliction caused by an injury given him by an Afghani fallen angel, and Victorian England were filled with vampires, werewolves and other paranormal beings. In fact, Katherine Addison states in an author’s note at the end that The Angel of the Crows originated as Sherlock wingfic, a
Apr 16, 2020 rated it liked it
A curious mesh of Victorian steampunk, angel-fantasy and Sherlock retelling with guest-appearance by Jack the Ripper.
If you are a fan of any or all of these, you will probably love this book.

Many thanks to the Publisher Macmillan-Tor/Forge and Netgalley for the ARC.

After finishing this book it was hard for me to decide what to think about it.

Maybe the problem was that I started reading it with EXPECTATIONS, not because of the cover blurb, but because the author's other book, The Goblin Empe
Apr 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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Thank you NetGalley and Tor Books for this ARC. All thoughts and opinions are mine.

"I don't think human beings understand
how dangerous names are."

Welcome, to a Sherlock Holmes and John Watson-inspired mystery with vampires. And angels. And werewolves. Oh my!

Despite my great love for mystery novels, I've never read an original Holmes' story, much to my chagrin. And no matter how often I tell myself to remedy this set-back, new books continue
Apr 14, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
This was one of those books that promised much, but was shaky on the delivery. Firstly, the blurb. It gives the setting well enough but this... ‘This is not the story you think it is. These are not the characters you think they are. This is not the book you are expecting’. No. We’re not expecting these things because you didn’t tell us about them. Otherwise, once you find out what the story is really about, then it’s exactly what you think it is. The potential grandness and the possibility of so ...more
Apr 28, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, net-galley, arc
It's probably first important to point out: The Angel of the Crows first started as a Sherlock wingfic. For anyone unfamiliar with the term, wingfic is a fairly common sub-genre in the fanfiction community for stories where the characters are given wings. How/why they have wings is unspecified. They can be angels/devils/some other supernatural creature, humanity as a whole has evolutionarily evolved to have wings, they were the result of human experimentation, etc. In this world, there exists a ...more
Para (wanderer)
ARC received from the publisher (Tor) in exchange for an honest review.

Well. I certainly had high expectations for this book. I loved The Goblin Emperor and the concept seemed amazing – a retelling of Sherlock Holmes with magic and “This is not the story you think it is. These are not the characters you think they are. This is not the book you are expecting.” as the tagline, so presumably a fresh approach and some giant twist? Gimme. Now.

Unfortunately, it didn’t come close to living up to it
Jul 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 2020-shelf
I'm torn on this one.

As a fan of Sherlock Holmes in general and having been a rabid purveyor of delightful Victorian mashups with supernatural elements in general, I should have been all over Angel of the Crows. I should have been whooping it up. I enjoyed the author's Goblin Emperor, too, so I know she has the writing chops to pull it off.

So what happened?

First, I enjoyed the worldbuilding. There are several types of angels and they are locked into certain rules. There are werewolves in Londo
May 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book from the publisher (Tor) and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Angel of the Crows is basically Sherlock fan-fiction. I can’t even say it’s thinly veiled, because it isn’t veiled at all. And I am completely okay with that.
“I may be on the side of the angels, but don’t think for a second that I am one of them.”

There were a couple of pretty big twists here and there, but for the most part this book is a collection of faithful retellings of some of Doyle’
Jan 22, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a fantasy reimagining of Sherlock Holmes and set against the backdrop of London in the midst of its dance with Jack the Ripper, this book certainly seems to have it all. I did really enjoy this book, I think it was fun and interesting and the characters were fantastic. Unfortunately, murder mysteries don't hold my attention very well, hence the rating. However, I think anyone who likes Sherlock Holmes would absolutely love this and I highly recommend it.

*thank you to the publisher for sending
Charlie Marie
Many thanks to Netgalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for sending me an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review!

First things first, it is important to know that The Angel of Crows started life as a Sherlock Holmes fanfic, specifically wingfic (fanfiction where characters are reimagined with wings)(thank you, author note for explaining this to me).

Second, it is important to know that I loved it!

I am not a die-hard Holmes fan, but have encountered many a Holmes retelling, and have enjoyed
Apr 15, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
That premise is too good to be true.
If I end up not liking this I'm retiring from reading.

Many thanks to NetGalley for the ARC and the opportunity!
"The Angel of Crows" began as a piece of fan fiction, reimagining the Sherlock Holmes saga. Those familiar with those stories will immediately recognize them as their origins are certainly not hidden. Not only is this originally fanfic, but a specific sub-genre of fanfic known as "wingfic," which considers what would happen if characters had wings. So we get a late 1800's sort of steampunk London with airships and Angels, many of who are geographically inclined. Thus, there would be the Angel of ...more
3.5 stars. I was ready to dismiss The Angel of the Crows as fanfiction for people who get off on imagining Benedict Cumberbatch with wings. The first part, a blow-by-blow recap of Arthur Conan Doyle's first Sherlock story (A Study in Scarlet), was not promising. I'm not sure exactly when this book started to win me over, but at some point on Sunday evening, I was reading well into the if-I-don't-go-to-bed-NOW-Monday-at-work-is-going-to-suck time zone. (I didn't, and it did.)

This book shouldn't w
Mel (Epic Reading)
Dec 03, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
DNF @ 32%
Just not enough here to keep me going. Let's delve into the specifics below.

Holmes Mysteries
I came to a realization as I was reading this, and investigated it in other reviews to see if I was correct (which I was), all the mysteries (except for Jack the Ripper) are all well known Sherlock Holmes cases. They all resolve the same as the originals. For someone like me who is familiar with many of the original Holmes stories and knows how most of them are solved this took away a lot of appe

Let’s start by saying that if you’re expecting something groundbreaking and new, especially after having read the author's previous book, you will be disappointed. Addison instead offers us a re-telling of Sherlock Holmes's most famous adventures - with a few differences, naturally.

If you approach this novel aware of this fact and do not expect anything else, you will enjoy it, quite a bit. I did :O) The changes made were actually pretty good and I appreciated some of the ways this new vers
TS Chan
Jun 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc-review-copy
ARC received from the publisher, Tor, in exchange for an honest review.

The Angel of the Crows was a decent and pretty fun read, though not at all what I was expecting from the blurb. This book is Sherlock Holmes fan-fiction written in the subgenre of wingfic, where some of the characters have wings (in this case, they are angels).

I should somewhat have guessed Sherlock from the mention of Jack the Ripper. But then again, plenty of fiction has been written around the one of the most infamous ser
*deep breath*

I did not know that you could actually publish fanfiction. I did not know that this book was, in fact, fanfiction until I reached the author's note at the end. I did not know that I could be so blase about a book by an author I love so much which seems to intersect the worlds of Sherlock and Supernatural.

But I was not amused. Or entertained. And I am SO SO SAD ABOUT IT.


The characters are so flat and lifeless, and I really didn't care much about them. The "world" is apparently prebui
Jul 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
I read many, if not most, of the Sherlock Holmes stories when I was in high school, over one interminable summer. I inhaled these stories, and fell in love with the idea of Holmes and Watson. So, it was natural that I’d pick this book up by Katherine Addison, though her The Goblin Emperor was the second reason I looked forward to this story.
This book wasn’t riveting, but I still enjoyed her version of several Doyle stories*, along with her Victorian London filled with a variety of supernatural c
Jul 17, 2020 rated it it was ok
This review and others can be read on my blog, Black Forest Basilisks.


* Sherlock Holmes wingfic retelling! but with no real wingfic tropes
* Deep platonic friendships! that pretty much should have been romantic
* Pining, sort of? except not really I guess*
* Queer main characters! only it's not really relevant to, uh, anything

*it SHOULD have been proper pining and I'm grumpy it wasn't

Full review!

After having read and loved The Goblin Emperor, I was incredibly excited to see that Kathe
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
I received this book from NetGalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge free of charge in exchange for a review and I wish to thank them for this opportunity.

In Author's Note at the end of The Angel of the Crows, Katherine Addison wrote that "this book started as Sherlock wing-fic"- a subgenre of fanfic where characters have wings.
On paper, you couldn't have found a better fit for me.
I love The Goblin Emperor.
I am huge fan of classic mysteries.
I am an ever bigger fan of Sherlock Holmes, both original and va
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3.5 of 5 stars at The BibliboSanctum

Sherlock Holmes with angels—which is pretty much The Angel of the Crows in a nutshell. It certainly wasn’t the book I thought it was going to be, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially since it was so very obvious a pet project for Katherine Addison, who explained in her author’s note the concept of “wingfic” and the impetus behind this novel. Its unique provenance resulted in some hiccups, it’s true; but on th
DNF 50%

I was so excited when I got approved for this fantasy as it seemed to have such an original combination of things that I haven't seen before. Who wouldn't want to read a fantasy about an alternate reality 19th century London in which there were supernatural shifters, angels, and Jack the Ripper?? Although I knew ahead of time that there would be some level of mystery involved, I had no idea that this was going to be a Sherlock Holmes retelling. That is essentially what this is, and I have
A well composed story with an interesting plot. The characters were instantly like-able and had a dry sense of humor which I appreciated. However, I am just the type of person who does not really enjoy whodunnits as much as I enjoy mystery/thrillers. I thought the fantasy aspect would sway a little more in my favour but unfortunately not.

Additionally, I was slightly irked that the different sects of angels (i.e. nameless and fallen) were not well explained? I remained confused why these were in
May 10, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
DNF at 52%

Thank you NetGalley for sending me this ARC!

I started The Angel of the Crows with high expectations due to an apparently amazing plot and an interesting setting. Unfortunatelly for me, it wasn't my cup of tea at all. I couldn't relate with the characters, nor with Crow and neither Doyle, and the more I read the more I found them flat. Maybe it's just me, but I couldn't empathize with them, nor I was interested in their lives and what happened to them. Plus, the plot twists were predict
Yogaa Lakshmi
The Angel of the Crows is a wingfic (fan fiction which imagines one character with wings) of Sherlock Holmes with a supernatural twist where Sherlock (Crow) is an angel and Dr. Watson (Dr. Doyle) is a hell-hound.

Crow is an angel with only a piece of his habitat in his pocket because if angels loose their habitat entirely, they fall. And this fall is like when a dead bird falls off a tree. Instead, it is more like a nuclear bomb.

One such fall of an angel while tending to soldiers in Afghan, inju
Aug 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
The latest from Katherine Addison introduces us to Dr. J. H. Doyle as he returns to London from Afghanistan, pensioned off because of a war wound. There he meets a consulting detective, an angel name Crow, and the two become first housemates and then partners in investigation through a series of bizarre cases that involve a wide range of supernatural creatures and gruesome murders all while they hunt for Jack the Ripper.

This is an entertaining riff on the Sherlock Holmes mythos that imagines a f
Aug 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Katherine Addison’s last book, the highly beloved The Goblin Emperor, was an unexpected hit, featuring a shy, quiet distant heir to the goblin throne elevated into a world well past his own understanding. It was also a rather slow book, about character and description and world building more than plot. Her new book, The Angel of the Crows, marries that love of character study with a much faster-paced set of interconnected stories.

Welcome to late Victorian London, and a Sherlock Holmes story unli
Read all my reviews on

The Angel of the Crows was everywhere and it got me bit hyped before I started reading, I have to admit. A Sherlock based Victorian story but in a fantasy setting, what about that would not sound like it was going to be a great read.

In the beginning I liked it a lot, it was basically a retelling of A Study in Scarlet, and I thought the story would move from there to its own case, but this didn't happen and I am not quite sure how I fel
elizabeth jovena
3.5 stars

this was fun! but i honestly had no idea this was a sherlock wingfic when i started reading this, and so i was very surprised when it stuck really close to the original plots. because i knew the stories so well already, i didn’t enjoy it as much as i might have, but katherine addison wrote in some sweet supernatural elements, as well as a jack the ripper storyline (which was clearly well researched). however, i do wish there were more world building around the angels/fallen because her
Astrid - The Bookish Sweet Tooth

The blurb sounded so good. So good. The execution...nope. Not only was the language stilted English from the Victorian era which makes it super slow to read, but the author threw concepts into the story without explaining them.
Furthermore - a Sherlock Holmes retelling (not mentioned in the blurb) that was just that, a retelling without any novel ideas. The supernatural beings are just thrown in there like furniture, not really giving the story a spin. I'm so bummed.
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A pseudonym of Sarah Monette. Both Sarah and Katherine are on Twitter as @pennyvixen. Katherine reviews nonfiction. Sarah reviews fiction. Fair warning: I read very little fiction these days.

Sarah/Katherine was born and raised in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, one of the three secret cities of the Manhattan Project.

She got her B.A. from Case Western Reserve University, her M.A. and Ph.D. from the Universi

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“had scarcely closed the street door behind me when Crow came barreling down the stairs and enveloped me in a hug that seemed like a combination of entanglement in a deck chair and assault by a pack of feather-dusters.” 1 likes
“Birds aren’t actually an awfully good analogy. You’d do better to think of us as bees.” “Bees?” said I, taken aback. “Well, we’ve too many limbs to be mammals,” he said reasonably. “And our social structure is much better represented by a hive than by a warren—or even by a rookery. And bees do sing, in a way.” 0 likes
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