Sunday 26 January 2020


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.

I love urban fantasy. I enjoy reading PI stories. I'm also a fan of noir. So, when I found out about this book, I was very interested in checking it out.

Fetch lives in Sunder City. He's a Man for Hire who doesn't work with humans, in a place that's barely surviving. A city where magical beings and supernatural creatures are struggling with their existence.

Since the humans destroyed the magic river, the magical community have lost what made them special, beautiful and powerful. And those are the ones who survived.

Now, Fetch is looking for a lost vampire. That's if he can stay away from the bottle long enough to concentrate on the task, ignore the dark past threatening to drown him, and stay out of trouble so he can chase the clues...

I had such a blast reading this book!

This kind of story is the reason why I love urban fantasy so much. This dark tale combines some of my most favourite storytelling elements, and it's very unique.

The worldbuilding is detailed and unfolds at a nice pace. I loved how all the relevant pieces are revealed through two different timelines. So the events of pre-and-post Coda start to take shape, until everything becomes clear enough to understand why Sunder City is so screwed up and in total ruin.

Now, let's talk about Fetch Phillips, the reckless and defeated narrator of this tale. I really liked his imperfect and often problematic ways. On the surface, Fetch appears to be a typical noir detective--broody, struggles with money, hardly eats, has a dark past, is a troublemaker, has a problem with drinking--but he's so much more.

For a lot of the book, he's haunted by the mysterious shadow of his past. But we're mostly kept in the dark, and catch enough glimpses of the puzzle to start putting it together.

I was mostly sympathetic to his plight and felt sorry for him. But there were other times when I was frustrated, and even angry with some of his decisions. Sometimes, I even wanted to slap some sense into him. But mostly, I really wanted things to work out because he was trying so hard to be decent and make up for his past sins.

Fetch is a great character, and was enhanced by the awesome storytelling style, vivid details and the cast of fascinating characters.

The Last Smile in Sunder City is a melancholy and highly imaginative urban fantasy story set in an original and intriguing world familiar to ours, yet so very different. I loved the vivid descriptions and the amazing locations, the interesting history, as well as the awesome and broken characters trying to get on with their lives years after the downfall that destroyed so much.

There's a lot to love within the pages of this book with such a cool cover, and meaningful title.

I'm not sure if this is a series or a stand-alone, but I enjoyed this book so much I'm looking forward to reading more from this great author.

Thank you Hachette Australia for sending me a copy!

The Last Smile in Sunder City, February 2020, ISBN 9780356512884, Orbit

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