Review: The Last Smile in Sunder City by Luke Arnold

41910151._sy475_I stumbled upon this one as I was browsing NetGalley to see what was new. It sounded awesome. Love me some Urban Fantasy, and so I obviously couldn’t resist hitting that request button.

So, thanks to the author, as well as Orbit via NetGalley for the review copy!

I’m Fetch Phillips, just like it says on the window. There are a few things you should know before you hire me:
1. Sobriety costs extra.
2. My services are confidential – the cops can never make me talk.
3. I don’t work for humans.

It’s nothing personal – I’m human myself. But after what happened, Humans don’t need my help. Not like every other creature who had the magic ripped out of them when the Coda came…
I just want one real case. One chance to do something good.
Because it’s my fault the magic is never coming back.

The Human Army had won their war, but their victory destroyed the spoils. The magic they’d hoped to harness was gone, so they changed their name and moved their focus. The generals became managers and the soldiers became salesmen. They only waited a courteous couple of months after breaking the world before offering to sell their products to it.

This story takes place in Sunder City, which is a city not so much unlike our own at one time or another. Well, kind of anyway. The world is peopled with all kinds of magical beings. Vampires, Werewolves, Wizards, Banshee, Sirens, and so on, but the magic is gone. Humans killed it. So we see a city of magical beings learning to live without the magic that sustains them. Vampires are slowly dying. Banshee are mute. Werewolves are very much half human and half wolf. That sort of thing.

Fetch Phillips is a Man for Hire. He’s more or less a private detective. Or he does odd jobs. Whatever pays the bills, really. He’s pretty much at rock bottom, trying to atone for his part in the Coda, the event that destroyed the magic. He’s hired to find a Vampire who has gone missing, and as he investigates, he finds a whole bunch of shenanigans happening, and something that nobody can really explain.

This book is told in first person from Fetch’s point of view, but follows two timelines to tell the entire story. First and foremost, we have the story presently happening, where Fetch is looking into the disappearance of a teacher (who happens to be a Vampire) from a local school. The second is the story of Fetch. Where he comes from, and more or less how he ended up where he ended up at the time of the Coda.

I don’t always love it when present day story weaves with a past one in flashbacks, but I find that I didn’t mind so much here. It wasn’t confusing at all, and the narratives didn’t interrupt each other at very inopportune moments, as can happen with this sort of storytelling. I found that I was equally interested to see what happened in each side of the story, so that was very well done.

It was well written and always kept me interested in the story. I liked Fetch as a character and I wanted to see him succeed in his task. Seeing how other characters interacted with him, knowing who and what he is, was interesting. There were a couple of really interesting background characters I really liked. Especially one named Baxter.

All told, I quite liked it. This book has a host of interesting characters living in an interesting world, and I hope to explore more of it in the next volume! 4/5 stars!~

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