The Year of the Knife
Agent -Sully- Sullivan is one of the top cops in the Imperial Bureau of Investigation. A veteran witch of the British Empire who isn't afraid to use her magical skills to crack a case. But Sully might need more than a good education and raw power to stop the string of grisly murders that have been springing up across the American Colonies. Every one of them marked by the same chilling calling card, a warning in the form of a legion of voices screaming out through the killers' mouths: -It IS tHe YEAr oF the KNife.-Sully's investigation will drag her away from the comforts of home in New Amsterdam, the beautiful but useless hyacinth macaw that used to be her boss, and the loving arms of her undead girlfriend, in a thrilling race against time, demonic forces and a shadowy conspiracy that will do anything to keep its hold on power and ensure that Sully takes their secrets to her grave, as soon as possible.G.D. Penman's imaginative The Year of the Knife is a fun, fast-paced urban fantasy mystery with an engaging set of characters, most notably Agent Sully of the Imperial Bureau of Investigation.

The Year of the Knife Details

TitleThe Year of the Knife
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseNov 28th, 2017
PublisherMeerkat Press, LLC
ISBN-139780996626286
Rating
GenreFantasy, Mystery, Urban Fantasy, Lgbt, Paranormal, Magic

The Year of the Knife Review

  • Lex Kent
    January 1, 1970
    With it being almost Halloween, I have been craving some paranormal stories. When I saw this ARC, I was instantly interested. This is available as a Read Now option on Netgalley, so I grabbed it immediately. I am not familiar with this author, so I was not sure what to expect. Luckily, he writes well and I enjoyed this more than I hoped. Sully is a powerfully witch that works for the IBI (Imperial Bureau of investigation) for the British Empire. It is her job to deal with the worst paranormal at With it being almost Halloween, I have been craving some paranormal stories. When I saw this ARC, I was instantly interested. This is available as a Read Now option on Netgalley, so I grabbed it immediately. I am not familiar with this author, so I was not sure what to expect. Luckily, he writes well and I enjoyed this more than I hoped. Sully is a powerfully witch that works for the IBI (Imperial Bureau of investigation) for the British Empire. It is her job to deal with the worst paranormal attacks in the American colonies. When a string of mass murders continues to happen, it is up to Sully find and stop the killer. But soon Sully realizes she may be dealing with a magic never seen before. Can Sully crack the case before it is too late? This book has a ton of supernaturals which I loved. Witches, vamps, skin walkers, demons, it was a great mix and they fit into this world in ways you would not expect. For one, vampires are considered very lowly. They are banished, killed, hunted and at best ignored, pending what part of the world you are in. Humans know they are living with things that go bump in the night but the witches and other magic users keep them in line. I really got immersed in this world and thought it was well done. I don’t remember ever quite reading a book like this before, and considering all the paranormal books I have read, I’m pretty impressed.Sully has to be the biggest badass witch I have ever read about. I just loved her character. She is awesomely powerful but she is not invincible. I liked that even with all her power, her life was still on the line, it made the story more exciting.There is not really a romance in this book. Sully’s ex-girlfriend is still in the picture. They have a very complicate relationship after her ex left her at the aisle for a man. Now that Sully’s ex has “changed” they are back in each other’s life. Feelings are still involved but hurts run deep, will they be able work it out? I do have to mention one small complaint; we don’t know why Sully’s ex “changed”. It is glossed over but never explained, I hope if there is a sequel, we can find out why and how it happened.This book had a ton of paranormal action, and I ate it up. I also liked how the mystery of who the killer was evolved. Talk about a big twist. I did not ever expect who was behind all the killing. I loved how the story played out, thought it was great. This book absolutely leaves an opening for a sequel. It does not end on a cliffhanger, but you want and need to know what happens to Sully next.I am pleasantly surprised and happy how much I enjoyed this book. I easily recommend it to paranormal and urban fantasy fans. Also, there is a giveaway for this book until Nov 20, if you are in the USA. Penman, if you are reading this review, please write a book 2. I don’t want this story to be over and I need more with Sully.An ARC was given to me by Netgalley, for a honest review.
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  • Lexxi Kitty
    January 1, 1970
    Book received from both Netgalley and Meerkat Press for an honest reviewGenres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Mystery, Lesbian Fiction, Alt History.I've read roughly 656 works that are lesbian fiction. 810 mysteries; 89 alt-histories; 667 fantasy; and 128 urban fantasy works. Why do I mention this? Because of those 656 lesbian fiction works I've read, the vast majority are contemporary romances, and when the books are fantasy (108 of those), they tend to be paranormal romances. You know how many tend Book received from both Netgalley and Meerkat Press for an honest reviewGenres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Mystery, Lesbian Fiction, Alt History.I've read roughly 656 works that are lesbian fiction. 810 mysteries; 89 alt-histories; 667 fantasy; and 128 urban fantasy works. Why do I mention this? Because of those 656 lesbian fiction works I've read, the vast majority are contemporary romances, and when the books are fantasy (108 of those), they tend to be paranormal romances. You know how many tend to be urban fantasies? So few I have to do an off the top of my head guess . . . and come up with about five (depending on definitions of urban fantasy/paranormal fantasy), this book, two Alexis Hall books, and two Brey Willows books (actually, I also put Jae's Shape-shifter series on the urban fantasy shelf, though I'm not sure it really fits there - see, definitions are hard). Alt history? As noted, I've read 89 works in that genre. How many of them were Lesbian fiction? Two. This book here, and one by Gail Carriger (the character who is in a lesbian romance in 'Romancing the Inventor' does turn up in other Carriger books, but as a background character ). And I'd actually forgotten to put that other one on the alt history shelf.The point of all of this rambling is just that this book, from my own experience, is something of an odd ball genre wise. Though, admittedly, just because I've read 656 lesbian fiction works doesn't mean I've read them all (of course), so, for all I know, alt-history and urban fantasy might be huge in lesbian fiction.Setting: New Amsterdam (for the most part, though brief 'pop-ins' elsewhere, like Nashville).Not sure why it's 'New Amsterdam', since the city is in British control, and it got renamed in 'our' time line to New York in 1664 when the British got control of the place.story: Isobella 'Sully' Sullivan (and don't call her by her first name or she'll act all shocked you actually know it) is an Irish immigrant to 21st century New Amsterdam. New Amsterdam, in turn, is in the American Colonies, and a part of the British Empire. Sully is a Senior Agent with the IBI (think FBI, but with magic users, and agents dressing in whatever they want to dress in - so don't think FBI, since FBI agents out of a suit would probably be instantly fired) - the IBI being the Imperial Bureau of Investigation. Wait, I think Sully's title is Superior Agent? Well, whatever it is, Sully is a high level agent for the IBI.Sully has been given a case to investigate suspicious deaths - deaths where it appears someone has taken over people, and had those people commit brutal and fatal crimes. The book then proceeds to tell an interesting story. Until about 75% to 85% (or was it 91%?) when the last part of the book became an information dump. As alternate history, it's not clear what the 'pivot point' would be (since that's important in alternate history stories - pinpointing when a timeline diverged from our own), and there are certain odd things tossed in there that do not really make sense - see New Amsterdam's name (or, you know, above where I mentioned that New Amsterdam instantly became New York when taken over by the British in 1664). Sure, there's that information dump at the end of the book that 'helps' pinpoint the 'pivot point' but things were already different at that point in time. As a mystery . . . well, if you are reading the book because you like mysteries, and only for that reason, you might not specifically like this book. There is a mystery, and it is interesting, and Sully does investigate it but . . . things kind of unravel in non-mystery book like ways.As a fantasy it is good. As an urban fantasy, ditto. As a romance . . . well, there is a romance, but there's a reason I haven't even mentioned it yet - it's an urban fantasy type romance - as in, the main character vaguely feels some attraction to one of the characters in the story, they are something of a couple, and . . . stuff, but there's no real romance between the two - it's just there as a sub-plot (there were hints that a real capital R romance might break out, but no, this is just a romance sub-plot, not a Romance book). Despite what some of what I've written might suggest, I did rather enjoy this book, and if not for the information dump at the end, I'd probably have rated this a high 4.5 or so stars. Instead I rate it a solid . . . hmm . . . 3.88 stars.Rating: 3.88October 26 2017
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  • Leona Carstairs
    January 1, 1970
    **3.5 stars**HEY EVERYONE! This is my first ARC off of Netgalley, so I am super excited about that. This review is my honest opinion. I'm so glad I really enjoyed my first ARC, it would have sucked indeed if I hated it. It was not perfect but it was definitely an enjoyable, fast paced paranormal novel. Let me start off with the positives aka things that I liked about this book. 1. Honestly, my favorite part of this novel were the Eugene the Sailor Doll (a doll possessed by a demon) parts. I. Lov **3.5 stars**HEY EVERYONE! This is my first ARC off of Netgalley, so I am super excited about that. This review is my honest opinion. I'm so glad I really enjoyed my first ARC, it would have sucked indeed if I hated it. It was not perfect but it was definitely an enjoyable, fast paced paranormal novel. Let me start off with the positives aka things that I liked about this book. 1. Honestly, my favorite part of this novel were the Eugene the Sailor Doll (a doll possessed by a demon) parts. I. Loved. Them. So. Much. They were gold and definitely the best part for me. haha. I do not know why I loved them so much but I did. They were perfect xD.2.Sully's badassery, her attitude, and just her in general. She was kickass and irritable, and I really liked her as a MC.3. The world being ours but not quite, sort of like an alternate present? idk, I am still a little confused about that but I thought it was clever how the author used some names for the Magi (from the past) from actual history. Like Magus Lafayette, Magus Madison, Magus Burr. I liked that.Things that I did not like now:1. Info dumpiness. It felt like there was a lot of info dumping in this book, especially concerning magic or spells. Sometimes this made it hard to read. 2. No backstory for Sully. I feel like we could have used a backstory for her. 3. A little more clarity on the world would have been fine. Like what is the Empire? Who is the Empress? Just a little more explanation of how this stuff worked would have been wonderful.I definitely enjoyed this book, more over the 2nd half (it got more exciting then) and would recommend to anyone who likes kickass MCs, paranormal novels, and lesbianism mixed in with the lot.
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  • Devann
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest reviewThis was actually a really interesting book and way better than I was expecting. It's set in an alternate version of America where we never gained independence from Britain so the British Empire is still the major controlling force in the world. I really enjoyed all the little details about the world and how things had changed because of this, it was very well-thought-out. The other half of the world-building area I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest reviewThis was actually a really interesting book and way better than I was expecting. It's set in an alternate version of America where we never gained independence from Britain so the British Empire is still the major controlling force in the world. I really enjoyed all the little details about the world and how things had changed because of this, it was very well-thought-out. The other half of the world-building area of this is that humans have magic and have apparently also been aware of / in contact with demons for several centuries. I really enjoyed the magic system in this because the magic users have to do calculations and things for their spells to work properly and it's always nice to see something more complicated than like 'point at something and say a word'. The whole thing was just really fun. I loved Sully and it was also nice to see her relationship with Marie. I enjoyed that while there was romance present it didn't completely take over the book. I would definitely classify this primarily as urban fantasy but there is an F/F romance on the side, it's just not the main focus. My only complaint is that I think things moved a little too quickly after the big reveal at the end and I'm honestly surprised the author chose to wrap everything up instead of going for a sequel because there could EASILY be an entire other book for all of that. But I would still definite recommend it for urban fantasy lovers who are looking for something a little bit different.
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  • Ruthie Jones
    January 1, 1970
    The Year of the Knife is definitely a unique, fun, and fast-paced urban fantasy that will have you falling madly in love with Agent Sully. She has a certain spark that has nothing to do with her mad magic skills, although those are wickedly awesome. She does come across as completely abrasive and detached at times, but perhaps her in-your-face attitude is an attempt to compensate for her apparent small stature. Either way, she is feisty, quick witted, confident, and totally fearless. And she get The Year of the Knife is definitely a unique, fun, and fast-paced urban fantasy that will have you falling madly in love with Agent Sully. She has a certain spark that has nothing to do with her mad magic skills, although those are wickedly awesome. She does come across as completely abrasive and detached at times, but perhaps her in-your-face attitude is an attempt to compensate for her apparent small stature. Either way, she is feisty, quick witted, confident, and totally fearless. And she gets the job done, no matter who gets in the way.All of the characters are completely engaging, and while The Year of the Knife has plenty of magical gore and gruesome mystery, it has has quite a bit of humor as well. Sully is quick with her snappy answers and retorts, and she has an abundance of bravado. The entire story is gripping and full of non-stop action!The Year of the Knife has plenty of plot twists, but hold on to your seat as the story unfolds into its dramatic climax. You don't want to miss it!
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  • K. Aten
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 rounded up.From the very beginning I could see that this book was not going to be your typical urban fantasy, or alternate history novel. Agent Sullivan is a hard-case with a big heart when it comes to her city and the people in it. Her job is not easy, investigating a string of murders whose clues only lead to more questions. And there is a conspiracy afoot and she's never quite sure who to trust. Sully's world is different enough to be intriguing, yet familiar enough to avoid confusion whi 4.5 rounded up.From the very beginning I could see that this book was not going to be your typical urban fantasy, or alternate history novel. Agent Sullivan is a hard-case with a big heart when it comes to her city and the people in it. Her job is not easy, investigating a string of murders whose clues only lead to more questions. And there is a conspiracy afoot and she's never quite sure who to trust. Sully's world is different enough to be intriguing, yet familiar enough to avoid confusion while I was reading. And though I'm not normally one for mysteries, this book with it's science-based magic and fast-paced action left me pleasantly surprised.I was given this ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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  • Cheryl Whitty
    January 1, 1970
    Reviewed on behalf of http://bookaddict.live,Sully is a powerfully witch that works for the IBI (Imperial Bureau of investigation) for the British Empire. It is her job to deal with the worst paranormal attacks in the American colonies. When a string of mass murders continues to happen, it is up to Sully find and stop the killer. But soon Sully realizes she may be dealing with someone with magic never seen before. Can Sully crack the case before it is too late?I devoured this book, it was full o Reviewed on behalf of http://bookaddict.live,Sully is a powerfully witch that works for the IBI (Imperial Bureau of investigation) for the British Empire. It is her job to deal with the worst paranormal attacks in the American colonies. When a string of mass murders continues to happen, it is up to Sully find and stop the killer. But soon Sully realizes she may be dealing with someone with magic never seen before. Can Sully crack the case before it is too late?I devoured this book, it was full of so many different paranormals which I loved. Witches, vamps, skin walkers, demons, it was a great mix and they fit into this world in ways you would not expect. For one, vampires are considered very lowly. They are banished, killed, hunted and at best ignored, pending what part of the world you are in. Humans know they are living with things that go bump in the night but the witches and other magic users keep them in line. I really got immersed in this world and thought it was well done. I don’t remember ever quite reading a book like this before, and considering all the paranormal books I have read, I’m pretty impressed.Sully has to be the biggest badass witch I have ever read about. I just loved her character. She is awesomely powerful but she is not invincible. I liked that even with all her power, her life was still on the line, it made the story more exciting. I am not going to give anything more away, but I would love a sequel please Mr Penman. This has so many different elements in this story, that I think will appeal to a lot of readers.
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  • Christa
    January 1, 1970
    The world in, The Year Of The Knife, is one that the good guys and the bad guys are apt to be magicians with contingencies in place if the bad guy happens to be a demon to boot. Female protagonist, Agent "Sully" Sullivan, is a witch in the, male dominated, Imperial Bureau of Investigation. But in the field, being a power house of magic, it's Sully and her, not solely book learned, spell casting abilities that dominate. For that reason she is tasked with averting who or what is responsible for th The world in, The Year Of The Knife, is one that the good guys and the bad guys are apt to be magicians with contingencies in place if the bad guy happens to be a demon to boot. Female protagonist, Agent "Sully" Sullivan, is a witch in the, male dominated, Imperial Bureau of Investigation. But in the field, being a power house of magic, it's Sully and her, not solely book learned, spell casting abilities that dominate. For that reason she is tasked with averting who or what is responsible for the escalating number of murders, not only in New Amsterdam, but also dotting the American Colonies. Author G.D. Penman crafted a storyline that is immediately intriguing and the intrigue builds momentum as events unfold to a culmination you don't see coming! Personally, I think Penman has a gift for story telling. It's purely subjective, of course, but I rarely come across a book that the characters, surroundings, and action comes to mind so vividly. I remember thinking that thought specifically from the start. I could see the tunnel, Sully's eyes in the darkness, the sigils and best of all, the magic flowing! Recalling The Year Of The Knife has been like recalling scenes in a movie (I think it'd be a great movie!) I definitely recommend seeing it, I mean, reading it!
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  • Anie
    January 1, 1970
    Received from Expresso Book Tour in exchange for honest reviewI was hooked after first few paragraphs, this book is soo good. The story starts in the middle of the action. She is called in to investigate weird case - Agent Sully works for IBI, she is magic practitioner and uses her skills to catch bad people. When people all over all murdered in weird way, she will have to use all she got, to solve it. She is one my favourite female characters in urban fantasy. Sully is the definition of kick-as Received from Expresso Book Tour in exchange for honest reviewI was hooked after first few paragraphs, this book is soo good. The story starts in the middle of the action. She is called in to investigate weird case - Agent Sully works for IBI, she is magic practitioner and uses her skills to catch bad people. When people all over all murdered in weird way, she will have to use all she got, to solve it. She is one my favourite female characters in urban fantasy. Sully is the definition of kick-ass heroin. She is funny and powerful. [ I imagine her going about as female version of Blade or Neo (from Matrix). :) ]Sully gave her a gentle kiss on the neck, just below her ear and then whispered one of the few words of Spanish that she knew, “No. Not police. Brujah. Witch.” Sully pulled back from the girl, who stood stock still, staring at her with big eyes, now clouded with doubt. With a tiny thunderclap, Sully vanished.The book is set in kind of alternative world. She lives in New Amsterdam (New York) and the Americas are colonies of British Empire. The story is fast paced, there is no dull moments, non stop action and writing is really good. Story grabs you from the first moment and you can't put the book down till the very last pages.
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  • Fangs for the Fantasy
    January 1, 1970
    Oh wow there is such a lot here. So very much here.We have a completely amazingly different alternate world. A modern day British Empire - with all the issues of Imperialism and Colonialism attached and examined. This isn’t some excuse to just play with the aesthetics - the Empire is not a benevolent force by any means (though there is some fascinating complexity there. I love how while definitely an issue, it also stands out as one of the few nations that don’t brutally persecute vampires). But Oh wow there is such a lot here. So very much here.We have a completely amazingly different alternate world. A modern day British Empire - with all the issues of Imperialism and Colonialism attached and examined. This isn’t some excuse to just play with the aesthetics - the Empire is not a benevolent force by any means (though there is some fascinating complexity there. I love how while definitely an issue, it also stands out as one of the few nations that don’t brutally persecute vampires). But also with magic and demons equally drastically changing the shape of the world. From the United Nations of Native Americans who most certainly have not been conquered, to mainland Europe badly overrun by demons. On top of this we have a definitely steampunk aesthetic which is always beautiful and fascinatingWe have a complex and fascinating magic system with so many possibilities and implications - from how magic is used in the Industrial Revolution to how powerful mages are treated, to the maths and formula talented and skilled magic users perform while at the same time having some excellent takes on how magic is treated in different regions, different talents and how they can certainly match or surpass more formal training.I can’t stress enough, the breadth and fascination of the world building, the different nations, the different branches of the government and forces, theTo that we have some awesome action scenes, lots of exciting and dramatic magic, a brutal and terrifying police investigation with lots of mystery, lots of battles and some generally excellent, fast paced writing (generally, I’ll get to that) and some really genuine creepiness as well.And my gods there was a definite twist there. A truly excellent twist that brought all the myriad plot points together truly awesomely.Our main character, Sully, is powerful, intelligent and capable both as a magic user and as an investigator. She doesn’t have any real respect for authority - but that doesn’t make her a mouthy rebel without purpose. She’s passionate, excellent fun and a definite force to be reckoned with. She’s an excellent protagonist. And she’s a lesbian, and she’s sexual - both casually and with a long term albeit fraught relationship with another woman. And there are definitely issues with their tumultuous relationship it is nothing to do with their sexuality and far more to do with vampirism and commitment issues and previous bad experiences.The pathologist is a fascinating and eternally curious Indian man, her main conspirator and fellow researcher into the murders is a deeply academic, ferociously intelligent and amazingly well connected, politically astute Black man. One of her fellow cops and one she most relies on is a definite Man of Colour and we have a presence from the United Nations - of Native Americans. It’s a definite diverse book with clear depictions of minorities, all alongside ongoing examinations of persecution, imperialism and even how, for example, Sully can awkwardly fit in the system as an IBI officer and give people a heads up who may be hurt by the systemRead More
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  • Danika at The Lesbrary
    January 1, 1970
    Sully has not been having a good summer. She works for IBI, the investigation bureau of the British empire, and despite the strikes against her--woman, Irish, gay--she has managed to gain some respect by being the best in the field. She may have learned from a hedge witch, but she can hold her own against any university-educated magic user. But she may officially be in over her head: every day, a new person, seemingly possessed, has been acting out public, grisly murders. That's impossible, thou Sully has not been having a good summer. She works for IBI, the investigation bureau of the British empire, and despite the strikes against her--woman, Irish, gay--she has managed to gain some respect by being the best in the field. She may have learned from a hedge witch, but she can hold her own against any university-educated magic user. But she may officially be in over her head: every day, a new person, seemingly possessed, has been acting out public, grisly murders. That's impossible, though: demons can't possess living people. The body count is climbing higher, and her boss being stuck as a parrot isn't helping any. Can she end the reign of what the killers keep calling "The Year of the Knife"?The Year of the Knife is a grungy, gory urban fantasy. While the plot focuses on Sully attempting to solve this string of crimes, most of them gruesome mass stabbings, there are a lot of balls in the air: in this world, the British empire still rules much of the world, including New Amsterdam (which seems to be near Brooklyn), where Sully lives. There is an undercurrent of tension around this: in Ireland, for instance, hedge witches with borrowed power have attempted revolution many times, each time getting cracked down on by imperial power, which causes more resentment, fueling the next rebellion.On top of the mystery and alternative history elements, of course, there's the magic system. I was impressed by how complex this world is, and I appreciated that the magic system seemed to be cohesive and clearly defined: magic users have to speak spells, draw glyphs in the air, and often work out mathematical equations (if you fudge the numbers in a travel spell, you might find yourself lodged in a wall when you arrive). Whenever I'm reading about a world that has magic, I want to know that the author has thought it out. Specifically, there needs to be clear limits to magic, or else there can never be believable tension. This world comes with a magic system that makes sense to me. In case there wasn't enough going on, there are also demons in this world, pushing through from another plane of existence. And those might not be the only dimensions at play!While I was intrigued by the world, I had trouble connecting with the main character. I'm all for a gruff, unlikeable female character, but Sully takes it to another level. She cackles as people die under her use of magic--seeming to take pleasure in it even when the person being killed deserved, at the very least, some pity. At the same time, she can't handle being in charge because she can't deal with deaths of her colleagues on her conscience. She has her own resentment of the British empire, but she seems to judge other groups who speak out against it. What really got to me, though, was the multiple times when Sully mentions seeking out young, possibly underage women to have sex with. She goes to student nights at bars to take home "presumably legal" experimental college students. She wakes up with a girl and wonders if she was a teenager after all. That is not cute. Sully is nowhere near these women's ages, and it's skeezy at best and illegal at worst.Sully does have a girlfriend--sort of. She has a tumultuous relationship with her ex. At one point, they were engaged, but after her girlfriend left her at the alter, things have been tense. They still sleep together occasionally, usually when her ex needs some blood. (Did I mention that she's a vampire?) They punish each other while still not being able to let each other go. I was interested in their relationship, but it felt like there was something missing. I didn't quite understand why they had the dynamic they did, and they seemed to quickly fall back into a loving relationship, so I didn't feel like I really understood them as a couple.I did have a couple of concerns, the most major of which was the racism. I understand that the idea is that with the empire still ruling most of the world, racism is even more entrenched than it is now, but having, for instance, Chinese people described as "Oriental" and an Egyptian guy as "swarthy"--while apparently all Native Americans Sully has ever known have been breathtakingly beautiful, though for some reasons they're all deeply bigoted against vampires--pulled me out of the story. There are a lot of instances like these: casual racism scattered throughout the text. It was jarring enough for me as a white reader. I can imagine many readers of colour wouldn't find it worth pushing through them.My other major complaint was with the specific focus of the book. Maybe it's the Canadian in me, but focusing on New York in this alternate timeline of continued British occupation felt like the most uninteresting take on the idea. I would have liked to see pretty much anywhere else in this world: Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and India, to name a few. (view spoiler)[ Near the very end of the book, the plot ground to a halt with an extended flashback to 1775. Flashbacks during the climax of the plot are dicey at the best of times, but personally, I find the American Independence setting deeply boring. If there had been some way to incorporate this flashback into smaller ones throughout the book (if they were made vague) would have worked better for me. Even if it was condensed into a smaller amount of exposition, I would have felt less whiplash. Going from the most dramatic part of the book to the slowest section is not the best reading experience.  (hide spoiler)]This sure was an interesting reading experience! I will be watching to see if this is spun into a series, because the world definitely could support it.Review originally posted at The Lesbrary
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  • Ry Herman
    January 1, 1970
    This one sounded like it should have been right in my wheelhouse, story-wise, but somehow it never completely gelled for me. Maybe it was because, despite some very interesting world-building, the implications of all the magic floating around never seemed well thought out in terms of how it affected the society. Maybe it was because the protagonist, whom everyone considered highly intelligent, occasionally did suicidally stupid things for no very good reason. Parts of it were fun, but I ended by This one sounded like it should have been right in my wheelhouse, story-wise, but somehow it never completely gelled for me. Maybe it was because, despite some very interesting world-building, the implications of all the magic floating around never seemed well thought out in terms of how it affected the society. Maybe it was because the protagonist, whom everyone considered highly intelligent, occasionally did suicidally stupid things for no very good reason. Parts of it were fun, but I ended by wishing that the great concept had a more solid story to go with it.
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    It was an entertaining ride, but I was disappointed with the resolution.The heroine was very likable and I would probably read another book with the main character. I enjoyed the mystery. However, it seems like there was no way to have predicted the solution -- key information is withheld from the reader until the end. Essentially, a new character just appears and explains everything. Even that explanation had holes in it; it's impossible to explain without spoiling the story.There was also a cl It was an entertaining ride, but I was disappointed with the resolution.The heroine was very likable and I would probably read another book with the main character. I enjoyed the mystery. However, it seems like there was no way to have predicted the solution -- key information is withheld from the reader until the end. Essentially, a new character just appears and explains everything. Even that explanation had holes in it; it's impossible to explain without spoiling the story.There was also a clear shift in tone right about the 50% mark, and I much preferred the first half. The second half felt rather rushed and had several grammatical errors. I would have preferred a longer book (or even a part 2) to resolve this.If it sounds like I'm being too harsh on this book, I probably am. Overall, it was a fun read.ARC received via Netgalley
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  • Maddison
    January 1, 1970
    I saw this book a few months ago, and was excited by the premise of the book, and ready to spend my hard-earned cash on it – but, boy, am I glad that I didn’t spend money on this book. Sully is an unsympathetic, and in my mind, often unredeemable character. The book opens with Sully liquefying a perpetrator who she has tracked into the subway, cackling the entire time. Even when she accidentally kills possessed civilians she shows no remorse for her behaviours. And veering away from the issues I I saw this book a few months ago, and was excited by the premise of the book, and ready to spend my hard-earned cash on it – but, boy, am I glad that I didn’t spend money on this book. Sully is an unsympathetic, and in my mind, often unredeemable character. The book opens with Sully liquefying a perpetrator who she has tracked into the subway, cackling the entire time. Even when she accidentally kills possessed civilians she shows no remorse for her behaviours. And veering away from the issues I take with the protagonist of the book, the author inserts some racist, classist, sexist, and otherwise problematic elements.For one, Sully is treated as if she is the most oppressed character in the book because she is Irish. This is despite the fact that we meet multiple characters from India and Africa, who are arguably worse off in this British imperialist alternate reality. Some prize quotes that further the issues of racism include “in all of Sully’s limited dealing with the Native Americans, she had never met one that wasn’t beautiful”, and “He was a tiny Oriental man, known as the Eternal Emperor.” And as if describing the man as ‘oriental’ wasn’t bad enough, the man’s translator was previously a sumo wrestler – because, you know, what else do Japanese people do?Despite Sully being one of the poor and oppressed in this book, and one who hates the British Empire and what it stands for, we still never see her having sympathy for other oppressed parties. In fact, the author gives us this gem, “Malcontent poor people who blamed the empire for every tiny problem in their life,” which entirely ignores and dismisses the problems that poor and oppressed peoples struggle with. And finally, on to the sexism. Sully is an almost forty year old woman who the author refers to as a “not bad for a girl pushy forty.” This unfortunate turn of phrase that infantilizes women, is only one example of issues with sexism in this book. Many of these also operate within the intersection of her being a woman and a lesbian. Sully is presented as the predatory lesbian stereotype, with this quote really exemplifying the stereotype “Thursday night was student night at many of the nightclubs in the city, and Sully had always had her pick of the presumably legal and fairly experimental art students. She liked to think of herself as a formative experience for a lot of girls out there in the world.”I also take issue with the way the antagonist is forgiven for his acts. The antagonist possesses and kills hundreds of innocent civilians, but because he was doing it for a greater cause, his actions are forgiven and he is rewarded for them. I can’t go into too many details, without majorly spoiling the plot. I wish I had only taken issues with these elements of the book, but the writing, and plot are both amateur. There are references to past cases, and past events that are never explained as if this were a latter book in a series, which it is not. When demons shout, their speech is written in all capital letters, which I am blaming the editor for because that should have been changed. The plot is convoluted and uninspiring. The ending is rushed and unrealistic within the canon of the story, and the romance between Sully and Marie leaves a lot to be desired. Would I recommend The Year of The Knife? No.
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  • Claire
    January 1, 1970
    This review originally appeared on BrizzleLass Books.The Year of the Knife puts Sully, an Agent at the Imperial Bureau of Investigation (IBI) at the centre of a story involving magic, a world which is unrecognisable to our eyes with the British Empire ruling strong, Europe a quivering wreck over run with demons and strange and unusual murders happening at an increasing frequency.I will admit to struggling with this book initially, it took me a while to get used to Penman’s style of writing and t This review originally appeared on BrizzleLass Books.The Year of the Knife puts Sully, an Agent at the Imperial Bureau of Investigation (IBI) at the centre of a story involving magic, a world which is unrecognisable to our eyes with the British Empire ruling strong, Europe a quivering wreck over run with demons and strange and unusual murders happening at an increasing frequency.I will admit to struggling with this book initially, it took me a while to get used to Penman’s style of writing and to get comfortable with the story. That said, once I settled into the story I was hooked and Sully is a fantastic character. Her witty repertoire had me chuckling my way through some tense moments and her confident approach to her sexuality was refreshing.Skilled at magic, and investigating crimes Sully leads the investigation into The Year of the Knife crimes and I could never in a million years have guessed where this was going to lead, it was cleverly orchestrated so that only at the last minute does it surprise you with the outcome.There are some wonderful battle scenes, with magic vs hand to hand combat. Vampires vs Demons vs Humans making a true mix up of the supernatural in a world that is not so different from ours yet completely different.I am truly glad I pursued this and didn’t give up near the beginning when I was struggling a little, the effort paid off and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Sully through to the end of this fantastic urban fantasy.Sending huge thanks to G.D. Penman, Meerkat Press and Xpresso Book Tours for the eARC so that I could read and honestly review this novel.
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  • Ying
    January 1, 1970
    I would describe this book as a mystery novel set in a magical alternate Earth. You could say it is magical realism. The Earth that this book is set in is not quite our Earth. Even though the book is set in 2015, in this world the city of New Amsterdam is a colony of the British Empire, and the main character is an agent of that government. It still has phones and computers. I liked this parallel world. My main complaint about the world is that (view spoiler)[the Native Americans have this very I would describe this book as a mystery novel set in a magical alternate Earth. You could say it is magical realism. The Earth that this book is set in is not quite our Earth. Even though the book is set in 2015, in this world the city of New Amsterdam is a colony of the British Empire, and the main character is an agent of that government. It still has phones and computers. I liked this parallel world. My main complaint about the world is that (view spoiler)[the Native Americans have this very stereotypical ability of shapeshifting. This seems to be one of the go-tos for indigenous people??? (hide spoiler)]I liked how the novel threw you right into the universe. No slowpaced build up where the rules of the universe are explained to us. Instead we learn tidbits about the world throughout the novel, which I loved. The main character Sully was the typical reluctant badass lone wolf agent of the government. She has the typical vices of these kinds of characters in that she loves alcohol and loves women. Sully could easily have been a male character, but the author has evidently chosen to write a female lead, which I think was a good choice. I think of all the other side characters in the novel were great additions. They were good characters for Sully to bounce off. I enjoyed Eugene, the creepiest demon doll ever, and Raavi.. Probably of the the creepiest but kind hearted doctors ever. I do wish that (view spoiler)[Marie had a bigger role. I would have liked to know if she had any powers or special knowledge. Surely Marie could have helped Sully a bit more? (hide spoiler)]The ending of the novel was definitely unexpected. It kind of came out of no where but in a way that eventually made sense. (view spoiler)[I liked that this book solved the mystery of the Year of the Knife, but left enough stuff open for a sequel. (hide spoiler)]I'm very happy to read a sequel. I also think this would make a great TV show.. Maybe like a Jessica Jones with magic kind of show. I obtained a copy of this book through Netgalley.com
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  • Jill Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    This was an EXCELLENT find... It vaguely reminded me in bits of Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London series, with a mystery at the heart of a magical alt-world - but the mystery in this one was handled even better than Aaronovitch's often are (and I *really* like his books), which made it even more enjoyable a read for me. There was a serial killer manhunt that felt a little like early Jim Butcher Dresden Files murder mysteries - and anyone who knows me knows that's a MAJOR compliment. And there w This was an EXCELLENT find... It vaguely reminded me in bits of Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London series, with a mystery at the heart of a magical alt-world - but the mystery in this one was handled even better than Aaronovitch's often are (and I *really* like his books), which made it even more enjoyable a read for me. There was a serial killer manhunt that felt a little like early Jim Butcher Dresden Files murder mysteries - and anyone who knows me knows that's a MAJOR compliment. And there was alt-history ala the best of Guns of the South-era Harry Turtledove - but with a fun slant that made it feel fresh and edgy. While TYOTK reminded me, faintly, of all of those books that I love - it was also a wholly original tale, and so much more than the sum of its parts... There is a LOT going on here, and it's hard to describe it adequately without giving too much away. I'm not only talking about spoilers; I'm talking about the sheer enjoyment of reading a well-written tale. The characters are fascinating - layered and nuanced even when they proclaim not to be (Hello, Sully!). The mystery is mysterious, and there is a twist I never saw coming - despite a hint that clued me in to the general vicinity of the twist, its actual contours were wholly unexpected and an absolute delight to unfold. My only criticism is that said unfolding felt a little rushed. The build up here is slow - deliciously, tortuously slow. Not in a bad way. Merciful heavens no. In a teasing, pleasurable, drawn-out-to-extend-its-possibilities way - one that Sully herself would have wholeheartedly approved of... Which made the rather abrupt Big Reveal at the end feel a bit, well, abrupt. Again, not in a bad way, just in an off-kilter, unsettling way. But maybe that was the point. Sully is, after all, nothing if not unpredictable, and that's one of the things I loved most about her. She's tough and logical, except when she's not. But its never a contradiction or out of character when she veers sharply left - you get the sense that it's all a part of a master plan, even if she hasn't consciously figured all the bits out yet. It makes her a delight to read and I truly hope this is not the last we've seen of her - she's simply too spot-on of a character to be a one-and-done!My review copy was provided by NetGalley.
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  • Byron Thompson
    January 1, 1970
    This is an urban fantasy novel set in the present day. Except that America is still a British colony and magic is totally a thing. Agent Sully is an Imperial Bureau of Investigation agent. She's a witch. She's got to solve the mystery of who or what is causing a series of murders. I haven’t read a lot of urban fantasy – a smattering of Harry Dresden here, some Neverwhere there – so I am far from an expert on that subgenre. But I know what i like. What do I want in my urban fantasy?A cool protago This is an urban fantasy novel set in the present day. Except that America is still a British colony and magic is totally a thing. Agent Sully is an Imperial Bureau of Investigation agent. She's a witch. She's got to solve the mystery of who or what is causing a series of murders. I haven’t read a lot of urban fantasy – a smattering of Harry Dresden here, some Neverwhere there – so I am far from an expert on that subgenre. But I know what i like. What do I want in my urban fantasy?A cool protagonist ✓Sully is one of my favorite new characters. She’s got personality without being a caricature or cliche. She is powerful, but she has too many flaws to be labeled a Mary Sue. Sully isn’t a private investigator and isn’t a clone of Harry Dresden clone or Toby Day. I want more books featuring her.Fights with magic ✓Holy moly, are there fights with magic. Big fights, little fights, cool fights, fast fights, LOTS of fights!Fast pace ✓The book starts in medias res and doesn’t let up.Intriguing mystery ✓Yep, see the above-quoted description.Interesting worldbuilding ✓As the above-quoted description points out, the book is set in the modern day, America is still a British colony, and there’s magic. There’s more – a lot more – but I’ll let the author introduce you to those elements (except to say that I think demons are inherently cooler than fairies).This book ain’t high Literature; it’s a pulp urban fantasy. And that’s fine! It’s a fun, fast, thrilling book that I hope gets made into a videogame. I can’t say that about Lolita.Is the book perfect? No. It’s a little overstuffed. An entire trilogy’s worth of ideas is basically jammed into this little book. While that’s awesome, some of those ideas are not as fleshed out as they could have been. I appreciate the ambition of “go big or go home” though!I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Camilla
    January 1, 1970
    If you want to read about a ruthless sapphic witch verbally spar with demons, pine after her Southern Belle ex (who also happens to be a vampire) and solve grisly, gorey murder cases, look no further. The Year of the Knife is an odd mix of alt history and urban fantasy, taking place in a city called New Amsterdam which is part of the British Empire. I really liked some parts of this story -- the idea of the taboo word magic, the demon doll Eugene, the (attempt at) critique of colonialism, and th If you want to read about a ruthless sapphic witch verbally spar with demons, pine after her Southern Belle ex (who also happens to be a vampire) and solve grisly, gorey murder cases, look no further. The Year of the Knife is an odd mix of alt history and urban fantasy, taking place in a city called New Amsterdam which is part of the British Empire. I really liked some parts of this story -- the idea of the taboo word magic, the demon doll Eugene, the (attempt at) critique of colonialism, and the witty fit-for-screen dialogue. I really disliked other parts, like the occasional racist and sexist stereotypes, the info dumping towards the end, and the huge gaps in backstory and world-building. (How is the Empire governed? What badass voodoo bog witch taught the MC her magic?) Even so, it was an amusing read. 2.5 stars.Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers of Meerkat Press who provided me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • SUZAN C.
    January 1, 1970
    Set somewhere in a mystical world, The Year of the Knife, by author G.D. Penman weaves an intricate and gripping tale about magic, aliens, and the macabre. British Agent Sullivan of the Imperial Bureau of Investigation investigates anything of the paranormal and supernatural. Going about her usual business of catching bad guys, she inadvertently gets thrust into the biggest mystery of the century. As one of the best agents of the Bureau, Agent Sully suddenly finds herself using her magical abili Set somewhere in a mystical world, The Year of the Knife, by author G.D. Penman weaves an intricate and gripping tale about magic, aliens, and the macabre. British Agent Sullivan of the Imperial Bureau of Investigation investigates anything of the paranormal and supernatural. Going about her usual business of catching bad guys, she inadvertently gets thrust into the biggest mystery of the century. As one of the best agents of the Bureau, Agent Sully suddenly finds herself using her magical abilities to the limit all the while playing a dangerous cat and mouse game with the constant phrase of "It is The Year of the Knife" taunting her. Does she eventually catch this bad guy (or guys) who is hell bent on getting revenge and killing anyone who gets in the way? You'll have to pick up the book to find out what the surprise ending has in tail for you.The Year of the Knife is a compelling tale of magic and monsters and a hold-onto-your-seat kind of story. The book isn't for the faint of heart and each descriptive scenario is well thought out. Full of magic and comical moments, The Year of the Knife is fun and compelling read with a very surprise twist at the climatic ending.
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  • Cassandra
    January 1, 1970
    Agent Sully works for the IBI, the Imperial Beaure of Investigation in New Amsterdam. Based on what I gathered, New Amsterdam is in an alternate reality? I found this part of the storyline hard to figure out which made the entire story a bit difficult for me to read and enjoy. She uses her magic to help her solve IBI cases. Currently, she is trying to murders in which the killers seem to be possessed by something, but she is not sure if that something is a demon or something else. Along the way, Agent Sully works for the IBI, the Imperial Beaure of Investigation in New Amsterdam. Based on what I gathered, New Amsterdam is in an alternate reality? I found this part of the storyline hard to figure out which made the entire story a bit difficult for me to read and enjoy. She uses her magic to help her solve IBI cases. Currently, she is trying to murders in which the killers seem to be possessed by something, but she is not sure if that something is a demon or something else. Along the way, we meet her past/current lover and vampire, Marie. We also meet her superior IBI agents, one who has been turned into a bird and resides in a cage in his previous office. I found this book easy to put down, mostly because it was difficult for me to follow. I am giving it a 2,5 star rounding up to 3.
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  • CorrieGM
    January 1, 1970
    A beautiful heroine, lots of blood, lesbian sex thrown in, lots of magic and strange, strange surroundings.I liked the book very much. For a long time it is not clear what is happening, so you keep thinking of all sorts of solutions.I did not like the solution in the end.But before that, I just kept on reading.
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  • Barb Fischer
    January 1, 1970
    Here is the first line of the book:"New Amsterdam was a city the way decapitation was a paper cut."I mean, what a first line, right? If that doesn't grab your attention then I don't know what will.I really enjoyed this book. A LOT. It starts from that stunning first line, grabs you and does not let you go. I could not put it down.This is a fantasy mystery novel. So if you aren't into that sort of thing, then this might not be your bag. However, if you like Neil Gaiman, David Mitchell - then I th Here is the first line of the book:"New Amsterdam was a city the way decapitation was a paper cut."I mean, what a first line, right? If that doesn't grab your attention then I don't know what will.I really enjoyed this book. A LOT. It starts from that stunning first line, grabs you and does not let you go. I could not put it down.This is a fantasy mystery novel. So if you aren't into that sort of thing, then this might not be your bag. However, if you like Neil Gaiman, David Mitchell - then I think you will really enjoy this.The story focuses on Agent "Sully" Sullivan, of Imperial Bureau of Investigation. She is basically trying to solve the mystery as to what is behind the mass killings known by 'The Year of the Knife". I am 100% underselling it here because I don't want to spoil it for you.I am always in awe of authors who create a universe and build on things that already exist. This book focuses on magic - Sully is of the able to perform magic persuasion. In the book, the author makes it about math and formulas and not just something one is born with.Sully is also a lesbian. I mention it because I think it actually makes the book more interesting. She is a complex character - who happens to be in a relationship with a vampire. This adds a layer to the book and makes it not your run-of-the-mill fantasy type story.The author did a great job of keeping the suspense up. There are lots of twists and turns, and you really can't figure out 'whodunit'.It was a highly enjoyable book, and I am very glad that I read it.Full disclosure: I received this eARC from NetGalley for a fair and honest review. (Thanks NetGalley!)
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  • J.D. Dehart
    January 1, 1970
    Writing like Philip K. Dick in the fantasy genre, Penman provides a story that grips from the beginning and features a fantasy world. The writing does not shy away from some vivid details, and the book is descriptive to point of being literary.I was interested both by the cover and synopsis of this book, and was not disappointed in what I found. Recommended for fantasy and science fiction readers.
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  • Debbie
    January 1, 1970
    Independent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian, I was gifted my copy of this book.I'm not writing blurby bit, jumping straight in with this one.My overwhelming feeling I'm left with (and you know how much I need to share my feelings!) is WTF did I just read??Like, seriously?? I cannot figure out what the whole point of the book is?? I was following, until about two thirds a way through then it all went a bit nuts and I literally lost the plot with it. Totally, when the demons managed to voice what wa Independent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian, I was gifted my copy of this book.I'm not writing blurby bit, jumping straight in with this one.My overwhelming feeling I'm left with (and you know how much I need to share my feelings!) is WTF did I just read??Like, seriously?? I cannot figure out what the whole point of the book is?? I was following, until about two thirds a way through then it all went a bit nuts and I literally lost the plot with it. Totally, when the demons managed to voice what was happening, that's when it all went wrong for me.Told mostly from Sully's point of a view, a couple of other characters have a say, which is the primary reason I kept reading: to see who else might have a say.It get bloody in places, but blowing up demons the size of a small house was never gonna result in a nice clean job, was it?? There are some witty one liners, near the beginning, but these felt forced towards the end, or maybe that was when I started to lose it.It's billed as a lesbian romance. And I *think* that's what drew me to this book in the first place BUT bar some kissing, it is clean.It also has some editing errors, mostly correctly spelt words that spell check wouldn't pick up, but in the wrong place.I did promise myself if I managed to finish a book, I would give it 3 stars, even if I hated it but because I cannot figure out when the hell I read, I can't do that here.2 stars**same worded review will appear elsewhere**
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  • TheReadingLawyer
    January 1, 1970
    Sully is book smart and street smart, but her street smarts save her more than once in The Year of the Knife. G.D. Penman has provided us with a plot that is instantly captivating. The story slowly unfolds as Sully narrowly escapes with her life, seeks out demons for advice and fights till the death when need be. Penman has a knack for speculative fiction, especially involving certain aspets of magic, necromany and colonialism. The characters are well-developed and have a life to them, whether t Sully is book smart and street smart, but her street smarts save her more than once in The Year of the Knife. G.D. Penman has provided us with a plot that is instantly captivating. The story slowly unfolds as Sully narrowly escapes with her life, seeks out demons for advice and fights till the death when need be. Penman has a knack for speculative fiction, especially involving certain aspets of magic, necromany and colonialism. The characters are well-developed and have a life to them, whether they be the undead, like vampires or demons, or a commonplace witch like Sully. I enjoyed the juxtaposition of a magical universe intertwined with one that involves the "history" of the United States and British colonialism. There's a lot to enjoy about this book and it's one of those reads that can appeal to many different readers.
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  • Alexis
    January 1, 1970
    The world building in this book is impressive, and does take a bit of adjusting to. It is a modern day world with gay marriage, magic, swords, demons, vampires, colonialism, and an Empress of the British Empire. I'm a little confused as to when the universe broke off from ours, as we have never had an Empress of Britain, except for Victoria's additional title of Empress of India. And protests are met with violent oppression, so how did gay marriage pass without protestors to kick start the movem The world building in this book is impressive, and does take a bit of adjusting to. It is a modern day world with gay marriage, magic, swords, demons, vampires, colonialism, and an Empress of the British Empire. I'm a little confused as to when the universe broke off from ours, as we have never had an Empress of Britain, except for Victoria's additional title of Empress of India. And protests are met with violent oppression, so how did gay marriage pass without protestors to kick start the movement? Was it always legal? When did vampires make themselves known and why don't they simply bite any one who oppresses them and take away their magic? The magic itself functions logically and makes a certain sense when it is explained. It is not given complex names or spells like Harry Potter, which I can get behind. I'm okay with just "she said a spell" so I don't have to remember Latin or something complicated. The plot was decent; I liked the main character and her open flirting with anything female. I liked that her ex-fiancee was bisexual, and they both admitted that it had little to do with their breakup, as they both like casual relationships. I especially liked the haunted doll trope being used to benefit the plot and our understanding of demons. I kept expecting angels to show up, but I think demons are non-biblical in this universe, and more of an inter-dimensional being?A lot of interesting ideas are floated, such as bird transfiguration, and counter curses, and a world where the British Empire only continued to expand.It was a little frustrating that the characters kept focusing on whether the problems were demonic, when they find out early on that they aren't. If someone keeps telling you that they are coming back, and getting revenge for when they disappeared, maybe don't keep looking at demons or a rogue Magus, look for something that disappeared!Overall, it was a fun read, and I enjoyed the world building, even if I had my questions.
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    It’s been a minute since I’ve read a book all the way through and I’m so pleased that this is the one I picked up to get me out of my funk. Sully, the magical leading lesbian, is simultaneously a delight and a frustration to read. She’s mean and ruthless and doesn’t back down from a fight. But she’s also soft. She hates that about herself and won’t willingly admit it but she absolutely is. She cares for few people but those she does care for are deeply important to her and ultimately, her weakne It’s been a minute since I’ve read a book all the way through and I’m so pleased that this is the one I picked up to get me out of my funk. Sully, the magical leading lesbian, is simultaneously a delight and a frustration to read. She’s mean and ruthless and doesn’t back down from a fight. But she’s also soft. She hates that about herself and won’t willingly admit it but she absolutely is. She cares for few people but those she does care for are deeply important to her and ultimately, her weakness.Outside of Sully, The Year of the Knife has a lot of cool elements that I really enjoyed:-A rekindled romance steeped in redemption and forgiveness-A contemporary “New York” setting that’s made unique by it being influenced by magic and how it’s still part of the British Empire-MAGICAL HISTORY DIVERGENCE!!! I absolutely loved how Penman took general pieces of history and used them to shape his new, but slightly familiar, world. The way he wove the political frustration, the conflict between the surrounding nations, the exploits of the British, and the attitudes toward them so seamlessly into his narrative made the world feel much richer and more authentic. It was a great backdrop for something so fantastical to take place.-DEMONS!!!!!!!! Honestly, what a surprising DELIGHT these demons were. First, this take on demonogly was something I hadn’t seen before which was a really cool addition to an urban fantasy setting. Second, Eugene the Sailor Doll was by far my favorite character in the whole book. A cranky, captive, demon who is constantly yelling. I probably wasn’t supposed to love a demon so much but here I am.So, if you like lesbians who fall in love with vampires, agents for the government fighting off demons and murderers with magic, and elements of historical fiction then this book is for you. And yes, there is a sequel in the works for all you series lovers out there.
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  • Nadine
    January 1, 1970
    I am really excited about The Year of the Knife, because I can tell you after the last few weeks reading horror and steamy romances, this was a most welcome change!So here we have a fantasy with Witches, Mages, Vampires and of course Demons! Our main girl Sully is a witch pretty much and a badass agent! She gets assigned to a weird case of people going on murder rampages out of the blue and the plot thickens my friends!I love Sully, she is pretty awesome and her somewhat bad attitude was pretty I am really excited about The Year of the Knife, because I can tell you after the last few weeks reading horror and steamy romances, this was a most welcome change!So here we have a fantasy with Witches, Mages, Vampires and of course Demons! Our main girl Sully is a witch pretty much and a badass agent! She gets assigned to a weird case of people going on murder rampages out of the blue and the plot thickens my friends!I love Sully, she is pretty awesome and her somewhat bad attitude was pretty much what made fall head over heels for the book! There are a lot of very interesting secondary characters as well and I thought that all of people were really a fantastic group.The Year of the Knife was truly an entertaining read, unexpected plot twists and it was really fun! Honestly, I hope to get to see Sully on more adventures again, because the woman attracts trouble and for me as the reader that was pure joy!I am going to highly recommend The Year of the Knife and encourage you guys to give it a go. Frankly, I do not think you will regret it!Can we expect a series and a book 2? Pretty please?!!!!
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  • Annette Jordan
    January 1, 1970
    This is one for fans of urban fantasy, especially if they like it with a dash of alternative history.It's 2015 in New Amsterdam, and Sully, or Agent Sullivan, a witch of the Imperial Bureau of Investigaton as she is more formally known, finds herself at the heart of a mystery. Why are ordinary citizens committing grisly murders , and what is the Year of the Knife they all seem to be heralding? Will her training with a hedge witch in Ireland be enough to figure out if this is demonic or some othe This is one for fans of urban fantasy, especially if they like it with a dash of alternative history.It's 2015 in New Amsterdam, and Sully, or Agent Sullivan, a witch of the Imperial Bureau of Investigaton as she is more formally known, finds herself at the heart of a mystery. Why are ordinary citizens committing grisly murders , and what is the Year of the Knife they all seem to be heralding? Will her training with a hedge witch in Ireland be enough to figure out if this is demonic or some other form of magic? This book is a great introduction into a ready built world of magic, with a history that is just different enough from our own to be intriguing, New York is New Amsterdam, the British Empire is still in existence and much of Europe has been lost to dark magic. While the reader enters in the thick of the action, the background information needed to understand what is going on is cleverly woven into the story for the reader to pick up as the story continues apace. The real highlight of the book is Sully herself, unapologetically powerful and strong willed, with a strong streak of "divilment" as her hedge witch trainer might say, she likes to be in the thick of the action, but is also determined to protect and stand up for those she cares about, including her vampire girlfriend. My only slight, and it is slight, gripe about the book was that the ending felt just a little rushed, the pacing in the rest of the book was so good that I was slightly surprised by how quickly it was resolved. Overall I enjoyed this book immensely and look forward to more adventures with Sully, hopefully in the near future!I read an ARC courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher, all opinions are my own.
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