Book Review: The Last Smile in Sunder City by Luke Arnold

Posted 09/13/2022 by Charli in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

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Book Review: The Last Smile in Sunder City by Luke ArnoldThe Last Smile in Sunder City by Luke Arnold
Series: The Fetch Phillips Archives #1
Published by Orbit on 02/25/2020
Genres: Fiction / Fantasy / Action & Adventure, Fiction / Fantasy / Dragons & Mythical Creatures, Fiction / Fantasy / Urban, Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Private Investigators
Pages: 368
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on: Amazon CA // Amazon UK // Amazon US // Author Direct

In a world that's lost its magic, a former soldier turned PI solves cases for the fantasy creatures whose lives he ruined in an imaginative debut fantasy by Black Sails actor Luke Arnold.

Welcome to Sunder City. The magic is gone but the monsters remain.

I'm Fetch Phillips, just like it says on the window. There are a few things you should know before you hire me:

1. Sobriety costs extra.
2. My services are confidential.
3. I don't work for humans.

It's nothing personal--I'm human myself. But after what happened to the magic, it's not the humans who need my help.

Walk the streets of Sunder City and meet Fetch, his magical clients, and a darkly imagined world perfect for readers of Ben Aaronovitch and Jim Butcher.

Praise for The Last Smile in Sunder City:

"A richly imagined world...Winningly combining the grit of Chinatown with the quirky charm of Harry Potter, this series opener is sure to have readers coming back for more." ―Publishers Weekly

"A marvelous noir voice; Arnold has captured the spirit of the genre perfectly and wrapped it around a fantasy setting with consummate skill." ―Peter McLean, author of Priest of Bones

Fetch Phillips Novels
The Last Smile in Sunder City
Dead Man in a Ditch
One Foot in the Fade


It took me a bit to read this one, but I finally got it finished. This marks the 3rd of 6 books I’d determined to finish before starting anything else, so I’m halfway finished with my September TBR. Now, on to the review.

I’d heard about The Fetch Phillips Archives from Witty and Sarcastic Book Club‘s review of the 3rd book in the trilogy. It sounded like something I’d like, so I found all three books through the Libby app and checked them out. While it did take me a bit to read it, I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

We don’t get too many books from the perspective of a world that has lost its magic. Yes, I know, there are others, but not from the standpoint of humans were the cause of the world losing its magic. Usually there’s been some great curse or something that is just blocking the magic. In this case, the magic is just plain gone. Killed off by the humans who felt they were outnumbered1Technically they were… and treated like second-class citizens2Again… technically they were….

Enter Fetch Phillips, Man for Hire. He carries a lot of guilt over the fact that magic is no longer a thing and does his best to try to make up for his part in that. I like Fetch. He’s an interesting fellow – he wears his guilt like a shield around himself, using it as an excuse for basically everything he does now. I like that he has the tendency of a bulldog to not let things go when he gets his teeth into them. I also like that he doesn’t let others scare him off.

I liked the plot of this one – being asked by a client to find a dear friend/coworker who has gone missing, only to find that there is much more than meets the eye. We get some background on Fetch, some background on what happened to the world, and we also get some interesting action scenes as well. The mystery took a bit to solve and I have to say, I had no clue what was going on or what would happen next – which is a good thing. It means that this book wasn’t at all predictable. I mean, yes, in parts it is, but I think that’s because it’s supposed to be. You’re supposed to draw conclusions from what you’ve just learned.

I found the ending to be satisfying. We covered all the bases, found out what we needed to, and are now ready for the next case. I can’t wait to see if the next case connects with this one or if it’s a totally separate thing.

I’d recommend this to people who aren’t too heavily into fantasy, but what a mystery that is a little bit on the different side. Four stars to this amazing book.


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