*I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This has not influenced my review.*
Every time I read a book in this series, I feel the need to bring up how much I absolutely love what a unique combination of elements it has. Fae, Catholic saints, the Prohibition Era, reincarnation—it even has a dragon! It’s such a strange and unexpected combination, but one that the author really makes work. Plus there was another interesting mystery to solve, another nefarious villain to beat, and the same group of characters I’ve come to really root for.
Nick was his usual hard-boiled self, Claryce was her usual feisty self, and both were stubborn as mules. Almost every dangerous situation they went into, Nick would tell her to stay put outside or attempt to keep her away, and then she’d show up anyway, just in time to save him. But I’m not complaining. They both have a lot of strength and don’t back down from things, so they make a good pair. And Nick seemed a little less hard-boiled and disenchanted this time. I think having Claryce around has been good for him. He seems like he might be subtly changing over the course of the series, but he still has the occasional quip of dry humor born of exasperation/resignation. Of course there was Fetch too, who was sometimes more dog than… whatever he is. He’s frustrated me at times in the past, but he’s grown on me. You gotta love him, despite his constant use of slang and his attempts to eat everything in the Kelvinator. Even Diocles and Kravayik got in on the action a bit more this time.
And there was more dragon in this one! Not just his snide remarks, though I do love those, but also Nick actually letting him out, using his powers, letting his body transform. And, I mean, who doesn’t like reading about dragons? I always like it a little too much when Nick and the dragon work together because I’m like, “Awww, they’re buddies!” but then the dragon goes and says something terrible or tries to take over, and I’m like, “Oh yeah, that’s why they’re not buddies.” But really, the dragon is so interesting to me. Also I think he’s starting to rub off on me because there was one point during the story when Nick was trying to figure out a solution for something, and my immediate idea was to burn. Turns out that was actually not the right solution. I guess that’s why Nick is the saint and the guardian of the gate to Feirie and not me.
This book also had some twists that I really did not see coming. I wonder now if there were hints of one of them before and I just hadn’t realized.
I’ll admit that the details while Nick is trying to piece everything together and figure out what’s going on sometimes elude me, but that never makes me enjoy the books any less. I trust that I’ll understand the important parts and the actual stuff that happens, and I always do. I can appreciate how complex the plots of these books are and how, despite having separate plots for each book, there are still bits and pieces that connect. It makes me wonder where the series is headed.
Overall, this was another highly enjoyable, complexly plotted book in a great 1920s urban fantasy series!
Fans of Books 1 and 2 in Richard A. Knaak's Black City Saint series. Anyone who likes urban fantasy, fae, dragons, Catholicism, the Prohibition Era, and complex relationships.