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Publisher's Summary

2021 Locus Awards - Nominee

Katherine Addison, author of The Goblin Emperor, returns with The Angel of the Crows, a fantasy 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 audiobook you are expecting.

In an alternate 1880s London, angels inhabit every public building, and vampires and werewolves walk the streets with human beings in 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.

A Macmillan Audio production from Tor Books 

©2020 Katherine Addison (P)2020 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about The Angel of the Crows

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

This is not the story you think it is.

Well. At least that part of the synopsis was accurate. I don’t think I’ve been this let down about a book i had been looking forward to in a good long while. Goblin emperor was, and still is, one of my favorite books I’ve ever read, pressed into my hands by a kindly Toronto bookseller, and I gifted copies to many of my friends. And so I may have come to this book with too-high expectations.

Angel of the crows is written well enough, don’t get me wrong. It has some vague, not terribly well explored queer representation, the dialogue is crisp, there’s some discussion of women’s sufferage.

But the problem is that the plots are ripped wholesale from Arthur Conan Doyle’s Holmes series, which I read when I was 13 and thus there is nothing new here for me. It is published fanfic, and many of those crisp lines of dialogue are from a book series a hundred and thirty years old. To make matters worse, the fic is wingfic- a trope I often block when perusing archiveofourown, because I’ve been around since its heyday in the LOTR fandoms and it’s essentially the supernatural equivalent of coffeeshop alternate universe. It adds absolutely nothing new to the dynamic between Holmes and Watson, here named Crow and Doyle, and despite teasing some world-building elements of fallen angels, the Hound of Baskerville, the Speckled Band, and the Study in Scarlet trudge onwards without much deviation.

To be fair to the author, Sherlock Holmes has been in the public domain for some good time, and there are many authors who have tried their hand at the characters, sometimes even with some queer readings- see My Dearest Holmes by Rohase Piercy. But they were at least upfront about it in their synopsis. There is no way to know that you are in for Sherlock Holmes wingfic before purchasing this- which I did, without reading reviews, since I wanted to avoid spoilers. It wasn’t until half an hour in when we meet a character named Stamford who mentions a roommate that I felt the floor begin to give.

The reader was slow, but clear and enunciated things clearly. Played at 1.25x, she helped the story move along well enough for me to actually get to the end. I would not have managed to finish this without it being read at me like this.

If you really love wingfic and Sherlock Holmes fanfic and werewolf angst, congrats because you’ve just struck gold. If you’re a little tired of authors not committing fully to a trans character in 2020, then maybe give this one a miss.

Please read Goblin Emperor. It’s subtle, gratifying and lovely, somewhere between Swordspoint and Queen’s Thief. I really look forward to The Witness for the Dead, the sequel, and hope the next fanfic this author writes, is published on ao3 and tagged appropriately.

21 people found this helpful

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Disappointing story, bad narrator

The pre-release description says this is "not the story you think it is re." Too right. I was expecting a great story with professional narration. There are more than enough low grade Sherlock Holmes spin-offs without this mess, which includes elements of A Study In Scarlet, the Jack the Ripper murders, and a variety of clumsy supernatural elements (the Holmes equivalent here is a large black-winged angel named Crow and the Dr. Watson equivalent is suffering from something closer to lycanthropy than to a wayward bullet wound). And airships. And a gender "surprise" that can be seen looming on the horizon even more obviously than the airships themselves ( this is Katherine Addison, of course). Addison is inspired as much by the wonderful Sherlock series on BBC as by the original stories, but this is far from a success. Things are made infinitely worse by the narrator, who seems to try to make up for lack of vocal talent by adding excessive emphasis to random beats in nearly every sentence. I have been eagerly awaiting this release while in lockdown. It was not worth the wait.

15 people found this helpful

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Fantastic

I absolutely loved this book & didn’t think I would as I am not a fan of the author but this book changed that a bit as I was really blown away & transferred out of my head long enough to help me get through today.

9 people found this helpful

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So good!

My adoration of The Goblin Emperor made me snatch this book up as soon as possible. I am in no way disappointed!

6 people found this helpful

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Exceptional!

I thoroughly loved this book in every way. It was a clever, twisting retelling of Sherlock Holmes and I dearly hope there will be more someday.

5 people found this helpful

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Does not deliver on original story

A retelling of Sherlock Holmes. Sadly the good writing and supernatural creatures do not change the fact that it is nearly a verbatim retelling of Sherlock Holmes greatest hits. The promised reveals are underwhelming.

5 people found this helpful

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In Love with This World!

Great choice. Great voice. Great story. I’m looking forward to hearing many many more tales with these characters. Eventually obtaining the life story of almost every major character would be worth while for me. I really NEED more of Dr Doyle and Crow. Soon please!!!

4 people found this helpful

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underwhelming

I went into this with such high hopes, and was sorely disappointed. The "plot" is just a mish-mash of Conan Doyle's Holmes' cases with supernatural bits thrown into. Honestly, it only made me want to read Conan Doyle again. Moreover the narrator is too emphatic and it get quickly annoying. I could not even finish it, it was that bad.

3 people found this helpful

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eh

At first the Sherlock Holms rip came off as an homage, and it had a different take with the Angels & Hell hounds, & was well read. Mostly enjoyable. Then there was the gender bending, which was at least a bit of a surprise, but didn't seem to serve any real purpose, so it came off as enforced. Though I admit I didn't make it to the end. Around the Hounds of the Baskerville it all just became a bit annoying, in a lack of substance sort of way.

2 people found this helpful

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I love the characters

It’s an imaginative retelling of some well-known stories. The story flows as one might expect if you are at all familiar with the source material, but where it shines is the characters.

I love the dynamics between the author’s version of Holmes and Watson. It has a few surprises and ultimately I enjoyed it from start to finish. The narrator is superb.

Normally I judge a book on my ability to re-listen to it later - this one will get future play time in my library.

1 person found this helpful