Byron Thompson's Reviews > The Year of the Knife

The Year of the Knife by G.D. Penman
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Nov 23, 2017

really liked it
Read from November 22 to 23, 2017

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 protagonist ✓

Sully is one of my favorite new characters. She’s got personality without being a caricature or cliche. She is powerful, but she has too many flaws to be labeled a Mary Sue. Sully isn’t a private investigator and isn’t a clone of Harry Dresden clone or Toby Day. I want more books featuring her.

Fights with magic ✓

Holy moly, are there fights with magic. Big fights, little fights, cool fights, fast fights, LOTS of fights!

Fast pace ✓

The book starts in medias res and doesn’t let up.

Intriguing mystery ✓

Yep, see the above-quoted description.

Interesting worldbuilding ✓

As the above-quoted description points out, the book is set in the modern day, America is still a British colony, and there’s magic. There’s more – a lot more – but I’ll let the author introduce you to those elements (except to say that I think demons are inherently cooler than fairies).

This book ain’t high Literature; it’s a pulp urban fantasy. And that’s fine! It’s a fun, fast, thrilling book that I hope gets made into a videogame. I can’t say that about Lolita.

Is the book perfect? No. It’s a little overstuffed. An entire trilogy’s worth of ideas is basically jammed into this little book. While that’s awesome, some of those ideas are not as fleshed out as they could have been. I appreciate the ambition of “go big or go home” though!

I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
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11/23 marked as: read
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