Title: The Hanged Man (Her Majesty’s Psychic Service #1)
Author: P.N. Elrod
Genre: Science Fiction, Steampunk, Fantasy, Mystery, Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Historical, Alternate History
Publisher: Tor Books
Published: May 19, 2015
Page Amount: 336 pages
Goodreads Summary: On a freezing Christmas Eve in 1879, a forensic psychic reader is summoned from her Baker Street lodgings to the scene of a questionable death. Alexandrina Victoria Pendlebury (named after her godmother, the current Queen of England) is adamant that the death in question is a magically compromised murder and not a suicide, as the police had assumed, after the shocking revelation contained by the body in question, Alex must put her personal loss aside to uncover the deeper issues at stake, before more bodies turn up.
Why Read: If someone screamed ‘Victorian Urban Fantasy’ at me in the streets, I would immediately go over and offer them my soul, life and my body for a look at the book. I adore everything about that genre – add in a slice of alternate history, and I am enthralled. Give me the Steampunk! Romance! Magical beings! Sign me up for intrigue – and I’m there.
Review: There’s something undeniably attractive in reading a book about London, particularly about one that has the London of the past – a mysterious and darkly drifting city. It’s one of my favourite genres, as I mentioned above and that alone, made it an easy choice for me. Add in a sassy female character who has no time for the barriers that genre represents, and I was sold.
Elrod has this fantastic way of describing each new plot twist and exciting new development that absolutely enthralled me. I’m not sure what great combination of verbs and adjectives she used, but it was potent. The main character, Alex, is probably one of my more favourite female characters that I’ve encountered in fantasy. She’s independent, full of sass and has no time for being told that she can’t do something. Her past is… let’s just simplify and say messy.
I shall try to spoil nothing and leave it by saying that her life as a part of the Psychic Service (a fantastic play on Her Majesty’s Secret Service for the win) is chaotic, especially so in this book. The assisting characters are a mx of the comedic and outrageous, reminding me of the HBO show Penny Dreadful. This book is a mischievous mix of horror, comedy, mystery and fun. I really enjoyed reading it and before I knew how little time had passed, it was over.
Each page leads straight into the next page – at a speed that I was hesitant to stop reading on the subway and began to run into telephone poles (yes – it was that good). Nothing too serious, but every once in a while – you need a lighter read to balance out all of that American nerdism and political banter. I’d suggest this one.
Rating: 4.8/5 Stars