I found it a bit unfortunate that the cover design for this book was so reminiscent of the Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch. Maybe a tad more unfortunate again that he actually blurbed it, bringing the comparison even more forcibly to mind. There’s much that is different, of course, from the location (Edinburgh) and the setting (a future in which the divisions between rich and poor are even greater, a world where magic is a known thing, etc)… but there were some similarities that just wouldn’t stop getting between me and the story.
It didn’t help, too, that I found the narrative voice a little unconvincing as that of a fifteen-year-old. Sure, people grow up fast in adversity, but I could never picture her the way she kept describing herself. I mean, not that I “picture” anything anyway, but what I mean is that things just didn’t quite add up for me, and it was really distracting.
There were some parts I loved, like pretty much every interaction between Ropa and her grandmother, and the idea of the hidden Library of the Dead, and the badass wheelchair-user who gets involved to help Ropa solve the mystery. I was intrigued by the world as well, how things came to be the way they are: it never over-explains that, leaving you to glean it from the details, and that was kind of frustrating at first because I didn’t know, going in, whether this was “real” Edinburgh or not… but it’s always an interesting reading experience.
I don’t know if it’s an experience I’d care to repeat with more books in the same series, which is obviously where things are going with the repeated mention of the Tall Man. Meh? Maybe I’ll pick it up if this first book sticks with me more than I expected — that happens, sometimes.