Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books
Publication Date – 9 August 2018
One of the very best authors of Australian crime fantasy returns with another outstanding release in her fast-paced and exceedingly entertaining Verity Fassbinder series.
In a world where the magical beings known as the Weyrd remain hidden from the Normal, non-magical population, Verity Fassbinder is a half-Weyrd, half-human agent for Brisbane’s Weyrd Council and is charged with policing the city’s Weyrd population. However, following an adventure to the underworld, Verity has been forced into the employ of a crazed fallen angel, and must take up his quest to find two secretive artefacts hidden in Brisbane. In order to protect those she loves from her murderous new employer, Verity has sent her family away and resigned her position with the Weyrd Council. Saddled with a murderous Kitsune, Joyce, as a driver and spy, Verity must find a way to recover these mysterious two items without giving ultimate power to the creature holding everything she love hostage.
As if her involuntary quest wasn’t hard enough, Verity is also forced to contend with a myriad of other problems from Brisbane’s Weyrd population. The vengeful sorceress Dusana Nadasy is back in town, determined to kill Verity for the role she played in the death of her family. The angel Tobit is refusing to take Verity’s calls, Weyrd Council politics is seriously starting to annoy her, literal ghosts from her past are haunting her and her friends the Norns have developed strange new powers. Finally, her contact in the Brisbane police, Inspector McIntyre, needs her help investigating a series of desecrated corpses of Normal women found around Brisbane whose bodies show the distinctive impact of Weyrd magic. What Verity does not know is that all of these strange occurrences will play a part in her quest for the fallen angel’s prize and will change her life forever.
Restoration is the third book from Australian author Angela Slatter and represents the third book in her Verity Fassbinder series. Restoration is an exceptional example of the benefits of combining two genres, and contains incredible fantasy and mystery elements blended together into a powerful final narrative set in modern day Brisbane.
Throughout Restoration, Slatter has surrounded her central storyline with an elaborate series of smaller mysteries and adventures, all of which cleverly tie into the protagonist’s hunt for the artefacts. Each of the smaller plot lines and investigations is very interesting, and readers will be amazed about how interlocked the story really is. Those who have read the previous books in the Verity Fassbinder series will also enjoy how Slatter expertly utilises elements and plot lines from the earlier books in the series throughout Restoration. This is a fun feature, and really shows off how much planning and foreshadowing Slatter included in her first two books, as even minor observations and actions from the earlier books have some big impacts in the latest volume. Despite this, Restoration is still an excellent book to come into this series with. The author makes sure all the relevant details of the last two books are fully explained and explored. As a result, new readers will be able to follow everything that is happening within Restoration, while also being tempted to check out the earlier books in this fabulous series. Fans will enjoy how the storylines and side quests come together in the end of the book for a big and exciting confrontation sequence that serves as an epic conclusion to the first three books in the Verity Fassbinder series.
In addition to the book’s strong mysteries, the author has also included a range of enticing fantasy elements for the readers to enjoy. The huge variety of fantasy aspects included within Restoration have been pulled together from a range of different cultural backgrounds. As a result, the book’s protagonist interacts with creatures that have their origins in Greek, Germanic, Norse and Japanese mythologies and culture, as well as the usual ghosts, magic users and generally powered individuals. There are also strong components from the Judeo-Christian religion that play a significant part in the story and which tie in well with the other fantasy elements. The great mystery elements mentioned above work in conjunction with these fantasy features to create an amazing story. Slatter comes up with some terrific fantasy based motives, plots and suspects for the reader to enjoy, and this helps create an intriguing and entertaining overall narrative. The protagonist’s hunt for the artefacts, the “grail” and the “tyrant”, leads to a greater insight into this universe’s magical and religious roots, and turn into some intriguing pieces of this universe’s lore. In addition, the protagonist’s curiosity about her Weyrd ancestors leads to her finding out some fascinating facts about their history, as well as a detailed bit of fictional mythology from Slatter. This focus on the family she is descended from also hints at these characters being involved in future additions of this series, and will no doubt prove to be excellent antagonists. Overall, the book’s fantasy elements are highly enjoyable and add sufficient wonder and enhancement to an already outstanding book.
Restoration is mostly set within the Australian city of Brisbane and its local environs. Slatter, a Brisbane local, has created a detailed and personal depiction of her city and it serves as a fun location for this book’s plot. People familiar with Brisbane will appreciate the descriptions of city and enjoy the concept of a hidden and chaotic fantasy world lying just below its surface. Special note should be given about the inclusion of the University of Queensland, Slatter’s alma mater, as a setting within the book, and it is always fascinating to see a location that the author is familiar with and passionate about.
Slatter has continued to use the humour-laden tone of writing that was such a standout of the first two books in the Verity Fassbinder series. The protagonist is a remarkable character who does not care who she annoys or who gets in her way as she tries to achieve her goals. This nonconformist attitude and general disregard for the rules for the Weyrd Council has a great way of getting the reader to support her, and as a result she has always been a very likable main character. The jokes and humour that inhabit the narrative as she encounters a range of strange and dangerous situations help lighten the tone of the dark investigations she is involved with. Things get serious towards the end, especially when the protagonist’s family gets involved and this helps raise the stakes in the readers mind, although some humour is still involved. Audiences will love the sass and humorous observations that inhabit this whole book, and it fits in well with the overarching urban fantasy crime narrative that Slatter has cultivated.
Restoration is another superb read from Angela Slatter and an outstanding addition to one of the best fantasy crime series in the world today. The books in this series are up there with The Dresden Files and the Peter Grant series, and are fantastic examples of this combination of genres. The third book in this Australian series makes full use of its elaborate mystery, intriguing fantasy elements, exciting Brisbane setting and distinctive humour to create an extraordinary read that comes highly recommended.