The Angel of the Crows

paperback, 448 pages

Published May 11, 2021 by Tor Books.

ISBN:
978-0-7653-8740-0
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OCLC Number:
1114453962

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4 stars (10 reviews)

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.

5 editions

Review of 'The Angel of the Crows' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

3.5 stars.

This is Sherlock Holmes fanfic, and with fanfic as the baseline for judgment, it's delightful. Crow, the Holmes character, makes so much more sense as a non-human who is puzzled by the basics of human life. Whereas Holmes (at least in my memory of the original) might be offputtingly brusque, Crow has an alien-like curiosity and interest in people. It's a nice change from the anti-hero House-type main characters that are currently popular.

[Spoilers below]


Putting fan-fic aside, I don't think there's enough framing of why Crow is an angel. There's a hint of an overarching narrative that could be neatly tied up, but it never really happens. A lot of questions go unanswered.

Review of 'The Angel of the Crows' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

Addison/Monette is an excellent writer of friendships, and in particular of scenes where awkward and traumatized people find that they have built up enough trust that they can risk having honest conversations about what they mean to one another and how to be good to one another. That's one of the things I'm hoping to find when I pick up her books, and The Angel of the Crows does deliver it. On the other hand, it's a novel about the Jack the Ripper murders in which (to my recollection) no sex worker gets any dialogue, and the sympathetic characters who talk about the victims and their community all do so with a tutting, dismissive pity that gets startlingly ugly in places.

I liked this enough to finish it, but it left a sour taste in my mouth.

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