Title: The Angel of the Crows
Author: Katherine Addison
Genre/s and Tags: Adult, Urban Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Murder Mystery, Lowkey LGBTQ+ rep
Content Warnings: Murders, graphic details about wounds/corpses/murder scenes, crimes
Publication date: June 23, 2020
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 public building, and vampires and werewolves walk the streets with human beings under a well-regulated truce. A fantastic utopia, except for a few things: Angels can Fall, and that Fall is like a nuclear bomb in both the physical and metaphysical worlds. And human beings remain human, with all their kindness and greed and passions and murderous intent.
Jack the Ripper stalks the streets of this London too. But this London has an Angel. The Angel of the Crows.
I received an e-arc of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much Tor Books!
The moment I found out about this book, I was so pumped! It just seemed like a book made for me: supernatural fantasy, serial killers, alternate London?! I wanted to read it already! Fortunately, I had the pleasure of reading the e-arc!
Though I feel like it lacked in plot and world-building, The Angel of the Crows is entertaining enough to get you invested.
My thoughts on The Angel of the Crows
The Angel of the Crows is a good read! Did it blow me away as I hoped it would? No. Was it entertaining? Definitely! Did I get invested with the characters? Oh, yes.
As a whole, the story was entertaining. But I’m going to be honest and say that it has no real or main plot. Maybe the part about Jack the Ripper was supposed to be the bigger picture in the story, but it felt disjointed. It also wasn’t fleshed out for me (or maybe I was just looking for closure since Jack the Ripper was never caught in real life and I wanted to see how the author will go about it). The whole book is a series of different cases taken by Doyle and Crow, and we see them meet various people and creatures and solve one problem after another. For me, this allowed the book to be character-focused. It’s not exactly character-driven per se (since there were various sub-plots that moved the story forward), but as a reader, I was able to focus on the characters and get to know them. I adored Doyle and Crow as individual characters, and I also loved their tandem!
(I also keep seeing gay subtext between, but that could just be me.)
As for the world-building, oh how I craved for it. It was good, but I wanted more! Details about the other creatures are vague and lacking. There was enough background about angels, but as for the others, no.
To my surprise, there’s also LGBTQ+ rep in The Angel of the Crows. (Watch out for spoilers, highlight/select the following texts to see it!) Doyle was assigned female at birth, and said he’s neither a man or a woman in the later part of the book (I presume this is in regards to his gender identity). Crow is also an asexual being, considering he is an angel and angels feel no sexual attractions. It was also stated that angels can be both male and female. Though it was nice to see these representations, I feel like the author could have expounded more on it.
The author also said in the Author’s Note, that this story began as a Sherlock wingfic. Now, I’m not a fan of Sherlock Holmes (because I’ve never read the book, watched the movies, or anything), but I am very familiar with fanfics (as a fanfic reader myself!) and it was another pleasant surprise for me! Wingfics are fanfictions where characters (usually human) are reimagined with wings. I thought it was great that the author managed to create this story from what was once a fanfic. On the other hand, this also made me understand others’ sentiments about this book being a Sherlock “retelling”.
Overall, The Angel of the Crows is wonderful read. And if you feel like this book will suck you in, please read it!
Quotes from the book
“You cannot keep faith with the faithless.”
“If you don’t feel sexual desire and someone coerces you into having sexual relations with them, I don’t see how it’s anything other than rape.”
“Curiosity trumps most things.”
*Note that these quotes were taken from an advance reader’s copy and may differ from the final copy.
Buy The Angel of the Crows
Y’all, this is my last read for May! I can’t believe I actually finished it despite me being so busy these past few weeks. But anyway. How did your May reading go?