I read this book as Lynn from Lynn’s Book Blog recommended it and I very much liked the look of the cover. I was also in the mood for an entertaining urban fantasy with a twist.
Pax is one rent cheque away from the unforgiving streets of Ordshaw. After her stash is stolen, her hunt for the thief unearths a book of nightmares and a string of killers, and she stands to lose much more than her home. There’s something lurking under her city. Knowing it’s there could get you killed.
I’m not going to claim that the premise is anything particularly original – it isn’t. Ordshaw is a city with a dark underbelly where lethal creatures inhabit the network of tunnels hidden beneath the streets. Most people, particularly those who are out and about during the day, don’t have any inkling about the battle going on between the creatures and humanity – but those who are largely out at night have more of an idea that something isn’t quite right. Pax falls into this category, given she is a card player who spends most of her time working at night.
However, for me she isn’t the most interesting character in this book. Cano Casaria, an agent for the Ministry of Environmental Energy, in theory should be one of the good guys. In fact, the character seemed very familiar to me – driven by a desire to keep humanity safe; possessing a fanatical loathing of the terrible creatures wreaking havoc; determined to ensure that their agenda doesn’t prevail. In many other hands, Casaria would be the protagonist. But he’s not. While it’s his efforts that initially involve Pax in the whole business, his brutal methods characterised by the end absolutely justifying any means repel her, particularly after she encounters Letty the tiny fairy, whom Casaria cripples.
It is the interplay between these characters that had me turning the pages wanting to know what would happen next. While some of the monsters are definitely unpleasant and there is a great deal we don’t yet know about them, it wasn’t the battle between them and humanity that powered the story, but the rivalries and relationships formed between those who were trying to stop them.
In making this the focus of the story, Williams has succeeded in giving this urban fantasy a fresh twist so that while it started quite slowly, as it gathered pace I found it difficult to put down. Recommended for fans of well-written urban fantasy, who’d appreciate something a little different. While I obtained a review copy of Under Ordshaw from the author, the views I have expressed are my honest opinion of the book.
So glad you loved this. If I wasn’t so bogged down with books, I’d definitely make time to read it 😊
Great review! This one looks intriguing…
Thank you, Helen. I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading the next book in the series:)
That’s a lovely review – I’m glad that you liked this.
Thank you, Lynn – I really enjoyed it – I understand the second book has recently been released, too…
Wonderful review! I want to read them all!
Thank you, Anne:). It’s an intriguing read and I’m looking forward to reading the second book in the series…
You’re perfectly right! The oh-so-difficult relationships between the characters are the driving power of this novel, while the monsters take second fiddle. And… Letty rules!!!! 😀
Yay for Letty:))
I’ve just started reading the sequel, Blue Angel, and she’s as feisty and loudmouthed as ever 🙂
Yay! I’ve rather overdosed on Netgalley arcs for April, so I can’t take on anything new for a while – but it is definitely on my TBR list:)
Lynn’s feature made me curious about it as well! And the premise reminds a little of Neverwhere, which I loved, so I’m definitely going to give it a try sometime! And Cano sounds utterly fascinating!
Yes – it’s a refreshing twist on a familiar trope – I’m looking forward to seeing where Williams takes the series next.
This does sound quite unique. You have me very curious about the monsters living in the tunnels.
The monsters are intriguing – but they aren’t the focus of the story. It’s the tensions between the folks fighting the monsters that power the story forward, which I really like.