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The Last Smile in Sunder City, by Luke Arnold

2 reviews

anjasfairylights's review against another edition

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dark funny mysterious reflective sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


This was a relaxing and unagitated read. I enjoyed following the protagonist through the storyline - I don‘t often read books about antiheroes, but this one just hit the right spot. There‘s no big ending, no happy and all-embracing resolution, just a crime a detective decides to put up with.

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azrah786's review

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[This review can also be found on my BLOG]

**I was gifted a copy by Orbit Books UK in exchange for an honest review**

The Last Smile in Sunder City follows Fetch Phillips, a "Man for Hire" who spends his days doing the odd jobs for those who call upon his services. That is, as long as you're not human. You see Sunder City is a place where all sorts of magical creatures live - vampires, werewolves, witches, goblins, elves, fae...

It was once a thriving place full of magic, but a few years prior an incident known as The Coda resulted in all magic disappearing from the world. In the blink of an eye magical folk lost their powers and in a lot of cases their immortality. Industries that ran on magic came to a halt. Now the city lives on in a state of bleakness and it holds humanity to blame.

This book is on the short side and doesn’t involve as many action-heavy scenes as you might expect from a crime/fantasy mashup but I enjoyed it either way.

Fetch Phillips’ situation in the story is his way of atoning for his former sins. His most recent case involves a missing vampire however, I feel like this storyline took a back seat for the most part. The ongoing happenings of the city collectively took centre stage and the book as a whole can be taken as Arnold introducing us to the world from his imagination. The narrative follows Fetch's day to day escapades and we really get to see how the diverse communities around him are faring post-Coda.

A number of flashbacks are threaded in throughout, slowly feeding us in on the secrets and events of Fetch's past and I was captivated by the various details and history of the world. The storytelling overall is wonderfully immersive and entertaining however, does feel a bit info dumpy towards the beginning. Also though Arnold voiced him well, the most interesting part with regards to our cynical and quite often intoxicated protagonist is definitely his past.

All in all, this was a great debut and the urban fantasy setting is refreshing, setting up a brilliant foundation for the future adventures of Fetch Phillips. I'm looking forward to reading them!
Final Rating - 4/5 Stars

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