Friday, August 13, 2021

You NEED to Read the City Between Series If . . .

 G'day, all! So, this week, I have learned two very important things. One, it is, in fact, possible to drink too much tea. Two, W.R. Gingell's City Between series is MAGNIFICENT, and I wish I'd read it sooner. I mean, I did read the first two books a while back, but then I just . . . stalled? For some reason? (Probably because something else was higher-priority when it came to spending my book money.) But then I binge read the entire eight-novels-and-two-novellas lot over the course of the last week, and so now I'm here to ensure that you don't make my mistake — by telling you all the reasons why you might need to pick up the City Betweenbooks as soon as possible.


You NEED to Read the City Between Series If . . .

  1. You loved The Werewolf of Whitechapel, JackabyThe Invisible Library, The Dresden Files, or The Midnight Show and you're looking for your next urban fantasy mystery fix. Alternately, if you wanted to read The Dresden Files but you were scared off by the level of Questionable Content, these are an excellent, arguably more enjoyable, alternative. The City Between series follows the adventures of two fae, a vampire, and one rather unique human girl as they solve the more magical mysteries that crop up around Hobart, Australia — both on the human side and in city Behind and Between. If you remember me raving about Masque, you know that Gingell knows how to write a good mystery . . . and she proves it again and again in this series, with stories that I literally could not put down. (I had to go to bed early more than a few nights just so I could make sure I wouldn't miss out on too much sleep when I inevitably got caught up!)
  2. You can't get enough of narrative voices with character or clever, sarcastic leads with more courage than is probably good for them. The series is narrated by Pet — a function, not a name, but she adopts it as her moniker early in the first book. After all, when you're dealing with the fae, handing out real names is a dangerous thing. And while I love a lot of characters from this series, it's not a stretch to say that Pet is my favorite. She's spunky and sarcastic and clever (which makes her voice a delightful one for telling the story), quick to care for others and quick to stand up for those who she sees are lacking a voice — in this case, the humans who get caught up in the machinations and murders of the fae and other Behindkind. You can't help loving her . . . and, quite frankly, neither can a lot of the other characters (often against their better judgement).
  3. You love a colorful setting and wish reality had a lot more magic to it. I'm reasonably certain that Hobart, Australia is either the author's hometown or somewhere she lived and loved for quite some time, because the city comes alive under her pen — both the human side and the magical side. As we learn in the first book, there's the human world, and the magical world, and there's the bit where the two merge together — the bit that curls into reality in the corners of your eye. The three "worlds" are distinct, and yet they're one almost living thing, and the story slips between magical and mundane as seamlessly as the fae themselves do. 
  4. You want stories and characters that can make you laugh . . . but will also stab you in the feels. We already talked about Pet, but there's so many characters to love here, from the overly dramatic Korean vampire JinYeong to mysterious, morally grey fae like the deceptively-genteel, tea-loving Athelas (arguably my second-favorite after Pet, though it's a close race) and the stoic Zero to the in-over-his-head, why-do-I-keep-getting-dragged-into-this Detective Tuata and more (who I can't mention because spoilers). The characters all, if you'll excuse the cliche, seem to leap off the page, sharp-edged and broken in ways they're slow to admit, becoming friends and family in ways they're equally slow to admit — honestly, it's kind of funny how reluctant they are to allow any affection. Or, that is, it's funny until you discover why they're reluctant. As I said, these stories will stab you in the feels — and Gingell knows that the course of character growth never can run smooth.
  5. You want a highly bingeable series that still has a nice bit of meat to it. Like I said, I read eight novels and two novellas over the course of about seven days. All the published books in the series are available on Kindle Unlimited if you have that, and if not, they're pretty reasonably priced if you have money to spend. And let me tell you, once you start the series, you won't want to stop, especially not once you get to book three or so. (Plus, if you start now, you'll won't have long to wait for Book 9 to release — which will be lucky for you, because even the nineteen days that I'll have to wait feels like an eternity.) But despite being reasonably quick, addictive reads, there's plenty of substance here. There has to be in order to have a good mystery — but besides that, you have hurt and heartbreak and trauma to unpack and messy character relationships and revelations and just so much goodness.

Are you convinced yet? If not, let me offer one more compelling argument: these stories are probably as close as we're ever going to get to if a modern-day Diana Wynne Jones wrote a YA urban fantasy mystery series, and I don't say that about just any book. It's just that good. Alternately, if you've already read the City Between series, what do you love best about it?
Thanks for reading!


  1. Okay...I'm convinced to continue with the series. I read the first book and liked it, although it was incredibly odd, but I wasn't sure if I would keep going. But I will now. :)

    1. Yeah, I admit that the first book is odd, but the series just keeps getting better and better. Glad I could convince you!


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