Title: The Fiend in the Fog
Author: Jess Faraday
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Length: 237 Pages
Category: Gaslamp Fantasy, Lesbian Romance
Rating: 4 Stars
At a Glance: The ambiance, the way Jess Faraday immerses readers in the scenery to the point it feels as cloying and uncomfortable as it’s supposed to, and the happiness these characters found after adversity hit so right. There was nothing I didn’t like about this book.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: 1885, East London
Abigail and Gideon are under siege. Noxious fogs have been bringing their clinic waves of indigent patients with inexplicable symptoms, telling wild tales of a demonic presence in the fog. If that’s not enough, someone wants the clinic for themselves, and they’re using the force of law to get it.
On the other side of town, heiress Meg Eisenstadt and her brother Nat live a life of well-intentioned aimless luxury. She dabbles in social justice causes and he pursues alchemy. And in a secret lab in the depths of Whitechapel, disgraced physician Jin Wylie attempts to rebuild his shattered life by performing dubious research for a shadowy cabal.
They live in separate worlds on different trajectories until the mysterious fiend in the fog brings them together.
Abigail and Meg discover a shared passion for social justice, and for one another. But where does that leave her plans with Gideon? And what of the future of the clinic? Gideon has his own monster. Can he keep it in check without Abigail’s constant presence? Does Dr. Wylie’s research hold the solution to Gideon’s problems, or is it the cause of them? And could Nat’s own dabblings be the key to defeating the vicious killer in the fog?
Review: A mere few years before Jack the Ripper began his brief but brutal reign of terror over the Whitechapel district in East London, something sinister and dangerous lurked in a heavy fog blanketing its streets. More than one thing, truth be told. Amidst the fetid stench and coal-greyed skies, filth whipped on a violent wind and glowing eyes pierced the darkness, striking a paralyzing fear in the hearts of those who encountered the entity known only as the Fiend. This is their story.
The Fiend in the Fog is the eighth book I’ve read by Jess Faraday, and she’s such a gripping storyteller (that number shouldn’t be as low as it is, really). The ambiance, the way she grounds readers in the setting, and, in this case, capitalizing on the fascination with the occult in the Victorian era all work together to offer readers a fantastical story steeped in legend and lore. Every bit as impressive is that this story is told from multiple points of view, by a cast of diverse characters whose lives become intertwined around the entity that’s attacking some people while inexplicably leaving others unharmed, which makes it read almost like a play/movie with scenes being recounted from various points of view, all of which lead up, eventually, to the cast banding together to unravel the mystery.
Beyond even that, however, is a shadowy organization and the underground research being done in the name of furthering supernatural studies which serves as both an obstacle and a catalyst for these characters and adds a sinister tone of a very different, human nature to the story. The Fiend’s origins, who controls it, and how to dispense of it makes adversaries then unexpected allies of this cast, and even allows for romantic connections to form as well as making a found family of sorts for a group of street kids who were savvy and courageous, and honestly, I would’ve gladly spent more time getting to know them.
There was nothing I didn’t like about this book. The characters are fleshed out just enough to captivate, an impressive accomplishment considering their number; the origins of the mysterious Fiend introduced a supernatural element I haven’t encountered much before in my reading, so thumbs-up for taking things one step beyond the usual; the scenery is robustly described to the point it feels as cloying and uncomfortable as it’s supposed to; a Gaslamp Fantasy—yes, please, always; and, in the end, it was the happiness these characters found after adversity that hit so right.
You can buy The Fiend in the Fog here:
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