4 stars (release date 8-25-2020)
This is a creative, funny, action-packed fantasy about an elderly sigil agent that can craft magical spells using special inks and symbols.
I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t yet read any of the The Iron Druid Chronicles. I have them all and intend to do so, I just haven’t had the time. That said, if you have not read them either, you can still read and enjoy this book. I’m sure that I perhaps didn’t fully appreciate certain references because I had not read them, but I didn’t feel lost while reading this book.
Al MacBharrais is blessed with a fantastic white moustache. He also has a curse on his head that anyone that his hears voice long enough will developed a deep-seated hatred for him. He must therefore communicate in writing or by using a phone app. Al is a sigil agent – one of only five in the world. Al has tried to train a new sigil agent to take his position for when he can no longer perform his duties, but his apprentices have a habit of dying in freak accidents. His latest apprentice, Gordie, recently died, leaving Al in a predicament.
Al discovers that Gordie had been participating in a secret life of crime and it’s up to Al to get to the bottom of it while avoiding detectives that wonder why Al’s apprentices keep dying. He is aided in his investigation by his office manager/ enforcer and a wisecracking, mischief-making hobgoblin named Buck Foi.
The book is set in Glasgow, and the characters speak in wonderful Scottish accents that make it fun to imagine what they would sound like while you read. (Sadly, my Scottish accent is atrocious) As always, the author does a wonderful job of worldbuilding and the characters jump off the page. I could picture each one in my mind’s eye, and imagine their expressions as they interact with each other.
I’m not a huge fan of urban fantasies, but because of the superb writing, I didn’t mind it here. The story was entertaining and there was just enough of “other worldliness” that balanced out the urban setting. Having only read the author’s The Seven Kennings book series, it was fun to read something a bit lighter from him. I just hope that this new series doesn’t prevent him from writing more Seven Kennings books, because I have GOT to know what happens next!
Kevin Hearne is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend you read it.
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley and Del Rey in exchange for an honest review.