Review: The Ripper Affair by Lilith Saintcrow

the ripper affairTitle: The Ripper Affair

Author: Lilith Saintcrow

Series: Bannon and Clare #3

Genre: Alternative History Fantasy

Summary (from Goodreads)

Sorcery. Treason. Madness. And, of course, murder most foul…

Archibald Clare, mentath in the service of Britannia, is about his usual business–solving crimes and restoring public order until a shattering accident places him in the care of Emma Bannon, sorceress Prime, who once served…and now simply remains at home, tending her solarium in reasonably quiet contentment. What Clare needs now is time to recover, and not so incidentally, a measure of calm to repair his faculties of Logic and Reason. Without them, he is not his best. One could even say that without them, he is not even properly a mentath at all.

Unfortunately, calm and rest will not be found. There is a killer hiding in the sorcerous steam-hells of Londinium, stalking the Eastron End and unseaming poor women of a certain reputation. A handful of drabs murdered on cold autumn nights would make no difference…but the killings echo in the highest circles possible, and threaten to bring the entire edifice of Empire down in smoking ruins.

Now Emma Bannon, once more, is pressed into service and Archibald Clare, once more, is determined to aid her. The secrets between these two old friends may give an ambitious sorcerer the means to bring down the Crown. And there is still no way to reliably find a hansom when one needs it most.

Britannia is threatened. Londinium quakes. Sorcery births an unholy monster.

The game is afoot…


I don’t know why I haven’t posted reviews of the previous instalments of this series on here. They were some of my favourite reads in the past couple of years.

What I love about this series is the vision of alternative London – dangerous, murky, but alive with so much imagination, magic and invention that it’s hard not to wish you could visit it.

Funny that it became something of a frustration in this novel – not so much so that I didn’t like it, but I just really wanted the pace to slow down at times so I could spend a little more time with the mean streets, getting to know their inhabitants. The plot rattled ahead at such a pace, sometimes we only got the barest glimpses of sorcery enhancing opium dens, mysterious skeletal creatures serving a strange magical entity, sorcerous duels. I just wished there had been a bit more time given to background detail, although I acknowledge it would have been to the detriment of the pacing – a difficult balance to strike.

I continue to love the complex, but sparely drawn characters. Saintcrow isn’t afraid to let readers work at figuring out the characters, and what the characters have figured out. The relationships between the characters are all the more tantalising for it, though I am starting to get a little antsy for information on certain characters – things that have been increasingly more alluded to as the series goes on. I have confidence that the eventual reveals will be incredibly satisfying, but I’m just itching to have the complete series right now so I can satisfy my need to know more.

Which, I suppose, is very high praise in a round about sort of way.

Rating: 4.5/5


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