This book was sent to me by the publisher, Jo Fletcher Books, at no cost. It was launched just a week or so ago – hooray!
I’m going to be smug and say this is actually the second time I’ve read this, because Slatter sent me a very early version which, as I say, makes me feel very smug indeed. I’ve loved Verity since I first came across her many years ago in the Twelfth Planet Press anthology Sprawl; that short story, “Brisneyland by Night,” morphed into the first book in this trilogy.
This post will contain spoilers for Vigil and Corpselight (which apparently I didn’t review?? What even, PastMe??). If you like urban fantasy, if you like banter, if you like angels and sirens and Weyrd and weird things, you really should just go and get them. Also it’s set in Brisbane, and I don’t know Brisbane but it seems to make an excellent backdrop for these shenanigans.
So. Verity has made a deal with a broken angel in order to save her mother, newly back from the apparently dead, and the rest of her newly created family. She has had to give up her job working as the go-between for the Weyrd and the normal, there are several Weyrd who loathe her, and the angel has stuck her with a sidekick-cum-informant who has been responsible for several atrocities in Verity’s life. So we just know that it’s going to be a bumpy ride, and of course that’s the case. Not that I was able to predict any of the narrative beats; it all took weird and wonderful turns, for Verity and for Brisbane and for the whole set really.
I continue to adore McIntyre. Also her police sidekick. And Ziggi. Also the sirens in general. … ok, so I just really like this whole crew, and I want to eat the food served by the Norns. But I do not want to actually live with any of them because that just seems like a recipe for disaster.
This is a fine end to the trilogy, if it has to only be a trilogy. Because delightfully there are definitely signs that there could be a book four, which I HEARTILY APPROVE. Also there is looots of room for short stories to fill in a whole bunch of back story. JUST SAYING.
Highly, and happily, recommended.
I have known Kate Smith for a very long time, and I’ve been reading bits of her fiction for nearly that long. The thing about Smith’s writing is that she is often quite opaque – if you don’t get her song lyric references or her film references, you might be a bit lost. But she writes with a lot of passion and a lot of quirky description – which sometimes gets away from her but sometimes really works nicely.
Illume is set in Paris, and focusses on Thane, who works for the equivalent of UNIT or Shadow Unit or all the other not-really-police-branches who deal with the things that go bump in the night. This time, it’s about lovers who think they can make their love immortal, dangerous mirrors, and vampires. You never really get to the bottom of the characters who make the narrative tick; they’re surface, trading witty repartee and dangerous allusions and making intuitive links. That’s not to say they’re superficial – I don’t think they are – but Smith doesn’t really show us what makes even Thane tick, let alone his partner Mal or his crime-partner Genetta or any of the other odd bods who rock up. And I don’t think this is an oversight on Smith’s part; I think it’s quite deliberate. She seems more interested in the glitz and suggestive shadows than in deep psychological questions. So if you’re up for something light-hearted and fast-paced and quirky – definitely quirky – in the urban fantasy vein, this is your thing.