Brhi Stokes’s Caligation uses a common trope that one of my all-time favorite fiction series uses: suddenly waking up in different reality. It immediately made me think of Ted Dekker’s Circle Trilogy (Black, the first book, is in my top 5 reads). Of course, poor Ripley doesn’t have the luxury of returning to the real world every time he sleeps. He awakens in some kind of alternate reality and things keep going from bad to worse as he tries to make sense of it all.
There’s a fair amount of mystery going on that unravels as Ripley’s life unravels, and the characters are memorable (partly due to the interesting descriptions and names that help them really stick, like Zero Demon) and an added dimension of culture with some of the dialects and accents (made me think of the gypsy boxers in Snatch) as Ripley meets Aspectors, Sanguinars, and Feranthropes. This is definitely an Urban Fantasy, but one that is wholly original and with a mobster twist.
I did have mixed feelings about the ending—but don’t want to drop any spoilers. Everything is buttoned up neatly… I just didn’t get the ending that I wanted—which is great, actually! Too many stories are predictable and begin with such obvious outcomes that they are almost not worth readying, so Stokes’ ability to keep you surprised is a strength of her writing.
If you are looking for an original Urban Fantasy with a hint of darkness and paranormal (but without all the glittery vampires and tired, rehashed genre elements,) then this could be your next great read!
I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review at Inside the Inkwell Blog. You can get a copy of Caligation by clicking here.