I first came across TL Huchu on a recommendation by one of my favourite authors Ben Aaronovitch, author of the excellent Rivers of London books. I, then watched a talk between the two of them and purchased the first book in the Edinburgh Nights series The Library of the Dead and very much enjoyed it.

This has been sitting in my TBR pile for a while and with the release of the next book in the series imminent I decided it was time to get round to it.

The book follows the adventures of Ghost Talker Ropa Moyo as she looks to earn money for her sister and grandmother in a near future Edinburgh which has been blighted by an unnamed catastrophe. For those, like me, familiar with Edinburgh there’s those fun moments of recognition when Ropa visits some places, some the same, and some changed by the unnamed event which includes the flooding of Princes Street Gardens.

Ropa, having discovered the Library of the Dead in the last book becomes an unpaid (much to her disgust) intern to Sir Callander. Desperate to earn money she takes a side job her friend Priya offers her at Our Lady of Mysterious Maladies, a special hospital, where a new illness is resisting magical and medical remedies alike. The book centres on Ropa and her friends investigation into the cause of the strange affliction, all the while hinting at a larger story thats slowly unfolding over the series.

This is the kind of book I’m pre-disposed to like, I love urban fantasy and I find some of the African culture that Huchu adds in to be quite fascinating, and as I said I’m a sucker for things set in places I know well. It’s a good read, in that it barrels along and never feels slow, and the writing feels fresh. I felt in the first book that some of the world building happened at the expense of the characterisations, in this sequel he spends a lot of time on the characters and I think we learn more about all of them, the events of the past book and the mysterious event are really only mentioned in passing and aren’t a major plot point, though you would get much more from this if you’ve read the first book.

As with a lot of urban fantasy it also maintains a sense of humour, and I enjoy some of the references to current things being seen through the lens of someone in the future in a different landscape. The Rivers of London books feel like a natural comparison in many ways but whereas Peter Grant loves what he does and it’s often through the prism of that, these books have the reluctance that Ropa often feels about where she finds herself.


If you enjoy urban fantasy and the likes of Daniel O’Malley and Ben Aaronovitch I think you could do a lot worse that to give these a shot, but I would look at starting the series from Library of the Dead!


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