The Last Smile in Sunder City by Luke Arnold – Review

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Adult
Publication Date: 6th February 2020
Pages: 352 
Series: The Fetch Phillips Archives
My Rating: 4.5/5

Synopsis (1)

A former soldier turned PI tries to help the fantasy creatures whose lives he ruined in a world that’s lost its magic in a compelling debut fantasy by Black Sails actor Luke Arnold.

Welcome to Sunder City. The magic is gone but the monsters remain.I’m Fetch Phillips, just like it says on the window. There are a few things you should know before you hire me:

1. Sobriety costs extra.
2. My services are confidential.
3. I don’t work for humans.

It’s nothing personal–I’m human myself. But after what happened, to the magic, it’s not the humans who need my help.

Walk the streets of Sunder City and meet Fetch, his magical clients, and a darkly imagined world perfect for readers of Ben Aaronovitch and Jim Butcher


Disclaimer: I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

I have a confession to make. Every book I’ve read in e-book format was barely a 3-star rating and I struggled to get through them. So much so that I started thinking that maybe e-books are just not for me. But I  was wrong! I can actually enjoy e-books and this one is proof.

I really, really had a blast reading this story and I flew through it!

Think I liked:

  • The Last Smile in Sunder is an urban fantasy with a very noir atmosphere. Luke Arnold writing really immerses you into this world and makes it come to life. As a rule, I don’t like lengthy descriptions in my stories, but all descriptions in this book were exactly the right amount and the way they were written grab my interest and didn’t let it go.
  • I liked the concept of a world where magic disappeared and seeing how that affected all magical beings was something I haven’t seen before.
  • Fecht personally had some issues but his back story was so interesting. As a was reading about Fetch past I kept thinking that his back story deserved a book on its own. But on the other hand, it was so nicely tied into the main story that by the end I was sold on all those lengthy flashbacks on his past.
  • They are so many magical beings, all living in the same world and it was very interesting seeing Arnold’s take on them and what back story it gave them.
  • Everyone in this story is a grey character. There are not good or bad people/magical beings, it all depends on which version of the story you are listening and we unusually get both sides and I really like that.
  • [Spoiler] I liked how Fetch didn’t get to save the girl he was looking for. He did kind of did save the day but he did fail to save the Siren which is something I wasn’t expecting and I do like bittersweet endings and when the MC is not achieving everything he was supposed to.

Things I didn’t like:

  • So this one is not something that I  didn’t like but more like something that some readers might not like. It has some tropes that we’ve seen a lot. Fecht is your very classic alcoholic and painkiller addict detective that doesn’t care about anything and spends his time self pitting because of all the crap he’s done in the past and also the love of his life is dead because of him. We’ve seen that a lot and I can see how other readers might be tired of that trope. Personally, I didn’t mind.
  • It took me more than 60% to make peace with the fact that the main plot is more like a device for us to get to know the world and Fetch. Yes, everything does come together at the end in a really nice way but at around 50% of the book I knew almost everything about the world and Fetch’s backstory but nothing had really happened regarding the investigation. Once I made peace with that fact the slow-moving main stopped bothering me.
  • I got an advance copy some maybe it won’t be the case with the final version, but I wish there was a map to better understand what is going where.

In conclusion, I personally had a fantastic time reading this story. I will definitely keep an eye on the rest of the series, and I’ve already ordered my physical copy because I need it on my shelf!

Published by Natacha

Hello and Wellcome! My name is Natacha. I'm a book and travel blogger.

5 thoughts on “The Last Smile in Sunder City by Luke Arnold – Review

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: