Hey all, Dani here.
I’m back with another early review on a book I received at BookExpo/BookCon. Of course, I was also approved for an e-galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. Obviously this is where I state that receiving a copy did not influence my opinion on this book. Oh, and when I received the ARC at BookCon I had waited in line and was able to get it signed by Vivian Shaw.
Meet Greta Helsing, fast-talking doctor to the undead. Keeping the supernatural community not-alive and well in London has been her family’s specialty for generations.
Greta Helsing inherited the family’s highly specialized, and highly peculiar, medical practice. In her consulting rooms, Dr. Helsing treats the undead for a host of ills – vocal strain in banshees, arthritis in barrow-wights, and entropy in mummies. Although barely making ends meet, this is just the quiet, supernatural-adjacent life Greta’s been groomed for since childhood.
Until a sect of murderous monks emerges, killing human and undead Londoners alike. As terror takes hold of the city, Greta must use her unusual skills to stop the cult if she hopes to save her practice, and her life.
Rating: 4.5 stars
I’ll just start off with why this book was not a 5 star rating for me. It took about 15-20 pages for me to get used to the writing style, and I didn’t really start getting invested in the story until around page 30. After that, I was eagerly following all of the characters in trying to figure out this murderous cult and stopping them.
The reason why it took a little bit to adjust to the story is that the phrasing and description feel more like something I would read in a classic piece of literature or a historical type novel, but it is actually set in modern day. Fairly early on we see Greta driving her Mini, and there’s also use of fancy coffee machines and cell phones, oh and mass spectrometers. So it’s a modern tale that feels a bit old fashioned. Considering the number of mummies, vampires, demon-ish creatures, etc., that actually felt appropriate to me…after I got used to it anyway.
I didn’t mind Greta as the protagonist, but the standout characters had to be the friends and patients she has. Ruthven and Fastitocalon and Dez and Cranswell…they were just so interesting. Some of them were members of the supernatural community and some of them were humans who were aware of the existence of such creatures. Either way, I enjoyed learning about them and would actually be glad to read more tales following them.
I also loved that there’s nice connection to literary mentions of vampires and such in this book. Also, with the setting of the story being in London, and the book starting after a series of murders in the Whitechapel area, that there are references to Jack the Ripper and such, though these current murders also involve cheap rosaries and therefore people are referring to the culprit as the Rosary Ripper. I like that those details help to ground this series firmly as an urban fantasy.
So I am glad I was granted the opportunity to read this book early, and I look forward to reading Dr. Greta Helsing’s next adventure.