If alchemy classes had taught her professors anything it was that there were certain substances that reacted violently under pressure, and one of those substances was Sully.
I was surfing around Netgalley looking for ARCs, and I stumbled upon The Year of the Knife by G.D. Penman.
Agent “Sully” Sullivan is one of the top cops in the Imperial Bureau of Investigation. A veteran witch of the British Empire who isn’t afraid to use her magical skills to crack a case. But Sully might need more than a good education and raw power to stop the string of grisly murders that have been springing up across the American Colonies. Every one of them marked by the same chilling calling card, a warning in the form of a legion of voices screaming out through the killers’ mouths: It IS tHe YEAr oF the KNife.
Sully’s investigation will drag her away from the comforts of home in New Amsterdam, the beautiful but useless hyacinth macaw that used to be her boss, and the loving arms of her undead girlfriend, in a thrilling race against time, demonic forces and a shadowy conspiracy that will do anything to keep its hold on power and ensure that Sully takes their secrets to her grave, as soon as possible.
G.D. Penman’s imaginative The Year of the Knife is a fun, fast-paced urban fantasy mystery with an engaging set of characters, most notably Agent Sully of the Imperial Bureau of Investigation.
That description was so batshit crazy I couldn’t NOT try it out. I’m glad I did! It was a lot of fun.
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 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.
My rating: 4 stars