I took ages to read this book, despite being really eager for it, because… well, I didn’t think I’d love it as much as The Goblin Emperor, which holds a pretty special place in my heart, and also because I heard some bad things about the portrayal of some of the characters which made me a little wary. In the end, though, I ate it up — I read it in a few hours flat, and it was very compulsive.
It’s essentially a retelling of Sherlock Holmes, only what if Sherlock was an angel and Watson was… well, there are a lot of things about the Watson character, which I shouldn’t share too much about for fear of spoiling the surprise. Sometimes the retelling is fairly close, and you’ll recognise a lot of the Sherlock Holmes stories if you’re familiar with them, but twisted into a new shape by the changes to Crow (Sherlock) and Doyle (Watson), and the world around them.
If you’re not a fan of Sherlock Holmes (or Sherlock Holmes derivatives), in the end this isn’t going to bring you joy. I’m lukewarm on Holmes as a character and a phenomenon, though I loved the movies with Robert Downey Jr, and ended up loving this, so it’s not that you have to be a Holmes superfan in order to enjoy it. The context helps, I think, though sometimes the story was so close to the familiar one that I kind of wished I wasn’t as familiar with the source.
That said, by the end I just wanted more, more of these characters and their bond, and more of the worldbuilding surrounding them.