Ahoy there me mateys! I received this historical fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Here be me honest musings. . .
Title: the conductors
Author: Nicole Glover
Publication Date: TODAY!!! (paperback/e-book)
This debut novel has really fun concepts that weren’t developed to their full potential though I would be willing to try another of the author’s books in the future. I think there were too many pathways in this book and so everything got muddled.
This book follows Hetty and her husband Benjy, former slaves who are in a marriage of convenience. They used to be members of the underground railroad helping others find freedom. The Civil War is over and the duo help solve crimes in Philadelphia. With magic. But one one of their friends is killed, it becomes personal.
- The Characters: Hetty was by far the best character. She has a hard exterior but still is caring and lovely. I also loved Benjy and many of the secondary characters as well. Penelope being one of them.
- The Magic: There is zodiac slave magic that is super cool. Herbal remedies also play a fun role at times as well.
- The Magic: I loved the Zodiac slave magic but how it works is not described enough. There is also Sorcery of the white people that really doesn’t make sense at all and was a lackluster plot point.
- The Murder Mysteries: For being such good investigators, the duo goes about solving crimes in a very ill conceived manner. Plus I found everything around the murders to be rather boring.
- The Love Story: The marriage of convenience turns into something else. That was just fine. The problem was the lack of communication between the two. So much could have been solved in many ways if the two weren’t hiding things from each other and just talked. I hate that.
- Too Many Plotlines: The love story. The murders. Missing sister one. Missing sister two. Grave robbers. Boxing. Gambling debts. Secret societies. Friendship issues. A women who is passing. Grudges. People peddling snake oil charms. Underground sorcery training.
- The World Building: This element just felt underdeveloped and flat. Hetty manages to go all over Philadelphia with no real issues. There were some interesting looks into the issues of race and privilege but not enough depth.
- The Pace: Uneven. With flashbacks and switching plot lines, the overall story was bogged down. And there were lots of plot holes and unrealistic incidents.
While this was an okay read, I found the characters to be compelling. I do think the author has talent and I look forward to seeing what else she writes.
So lastly . . .
Thank you John Joseph Adams / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt!
Side Note: This is apparently the first book in a series. Arrr!
Goodread’s website has this to say about the novel:
As a conductor on the Underground Railroad, Hetty Rhodes helped usher dozens of people north with her wits and magic. Now that the Civil War is over, Hetty and her husband Benjy have settled in Philadelphia, solving murders and mysteries that the white authorities won’t touch. When they find one of their friends slain in an alley, Hetty and Benjy bury the body and set off to find answers. But the secrets and intricate lies of the elites of Black Philadelphia only serve to dredge up more questions. To solve this mystery, they will have to face ugly truths all around them, including the ones about each other
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