25 September 2023


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Reviewed by Robert Goodman.

By Angela Slatter, Hachette.

Restoration is the third in what Angela Slatter describes as “the first Verity Fassbinder trilogy”. For fans of this series this means that, firstly, some hanging plot elements are likely to be resolved. But secondly, that there are likely to be more Verity Fassbinder books after this one. And that can only be a good thing. This noir-infused, wryly observational urban fantasy series about an investigator/enforcer for the Weyrd community of Brisbane has been a bright spot on the fantasy scene for the last few years.

Restoration opens with Verity at a low point. At the end of Corpselight she made a deal with the self-styled ‘Guardian of the Underworld’ for the return of her mother. She had to give up her family and her position and work with Joyce, a kitsune (were-fox) assassin who has an axe to grind, to find a “grail and a tyrant”. But Joyce is only one of a long line of people who are seeking revenge on Verity. At the same time, the police still call on Verity to help them solve a string of strange deaths and there is a coup in the offing in the Weyrd society of Brisbane.

While it takes a little while to find its feet and get all of its plot strands lined up, Restoration gears up as another great entry in this series. Verity’s real family concerns and her world weary narration ground a story full of angels, harpies, werebeings, fallen gods and other assorted weyrdness. And the weyrd-backwater of Brisneyland (relative to Europe) is again well used as the backdrop. While a few mysteries hanging over from previous books are explained and the major points are wrapped up, an ongoing prophecy and plenty of unfinished business promise plenty more Verity in the future.

This review first appeared in Aurealis #114, Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazine, www.aurealis.com.au.

This and over 300 more reviews can be found at www.pilebythebed.com.

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