The Angel of the Crows | Book Review
Thank you NetGalley and TOR for the eARC of The Angel of the Crows, by Katherine Addison in exchange of my honest review.
I was browsing through NetGalley to see the upcoming releases and when I saw The Angel of the Crows I had to request it immediately. I knew nothing about the author but the cover was beautiful and after I read the description I was fascinated.
This book is a Sherlock Holmes retelling/fanfiction meets Jack the Ripper, with all the fantastical creatures we love, such as angels, demons, werewolves and vampires, in 19th Century London. So basically everything I love thrown together into a novel.
This year I've finally been reading the Sherlock Holmes stories, after only being familiar with them through BBC's Sherlock and reading a reimagining so close after reading the real thing was fascinating to me.
This story follows Crow, the Angel of London, as he tries to solve his client's mysteries/problems with the aid of his new roommate, Dr. J. H. Doyle, whilst trying to piece together everything he can about the Whitechapel murderer (a.k.a Jack the Ripper).
I think the world Katherine Addison crafted is brilliant, seeing the cases being mixed up with supernatural beings (both in happening and during their resolution) and the idea that we could've had Sherlock Holmes investigating Jack the Ripper seems incredible to me. I adored the characters, Crow is the perfectly intriguing-but-actual-sweetheart Sherlock, with all the things I love about him, and Doyle is the ever so innocent and adoring Watson.
I loved the tiny mysteries between the solving of the big one and adored Crow and Doyle's friendship, something I feel like I've been wanting more of in the original SH stories. However, there were some things that didn't quite hit the mark for me.
Essentially, I've felt like the cases are too similar to the original Arthur Conan Doyle's and I think that they could've been changed a bit to leave the reader wondering, instead of just having us know how the tiny cases would be solved. Another thing that I felt was that I wanted more from the world, specifically the Angel dynamics, how they Fall or become Nameless and have this be a bigger thing in the story than it actually is (it's talked about it but we don't see it, meaning we can't get close to it). I was also very intrigued by many of the side characters and was hoping they would become much bigger in the story than they did, specially Moriarty who has always fascinated me.
Overall, my reading experience was great, I just feel like the story fell a bit flat. I left it with the sense of wanting more. More mystery, more on the workings of the world and the dynamics between all the supernatural creatures, more side characters and to feel intrigued and desperate to know what's gonna happen.
I didn't know any of Addison's works but her writing is beautiful. I had no problem to jump straight into this and will definitely look into her other book, The Goblin Emperor. You could tell she loves the original stories and that they're very dear to her, as well as be intrigued by the way she crafted this London.
I would love it if this ended up becoming a series, I think we would be able to get more of the world that I felt the need of and maybe some mysteries we don't already know. I think if you love Sherlock and fantasy you'll really enjoy this.
I ended up giving this book 3.25/5 ⭐️. As I said, I thought it was a bit underdeveloped but it was really intriguing and entertaining. I think if anything, the fact that I wanted more just goes to show how great the world is and it's unfortunate that we didn't get to see that much of it.