Ropa Moyo is back! I loved T.L. Huchu’s The Library of the Dead – see my review of it here – which is also one of our SCKA nominees for this year, which means I was more than thrilled to dive back into this magical Edinburgh. Especially after spending some time there last summer, reading about all these places and having a mental image of them made the experience even more amazing, and Our Lady of Mysterious Ailments more than measures up to its predecessor.
Massive thanks to Black Crow PR and UK Tor for sending me a review copy and having me on the blog tour.
RELEASE DATE: 03/03/2022
STAR RATING: 4/5 ✶
SUMMARY: When Ropa Moyo discovered an occult underground library, she expected great things. She’s really into Edinburgh’s secret societies – but turns out they are less into her. So instead of getting paid to work magic, she’s had to accept a crummy unpaid internship. And her with bills to pay and a pet fox to feed.
Then her friend Priya offers her a job on the side. Priya works at Our Lady of Mysterious Maladies, a very specialized hospital, where a new illness is resisting magical and medical remedies alike. The first patient was a teenage boy, Max Wu, and his healers are baffled. If Ropa can solve the case, she might earn as she learns – and impress her mentor, Sir Callander.
Her sleuthing will lead her to a lost fortune, an avenging spirit and a secret buried deep in Scotland’s past. But how are they connected? Lives are at stake and Ropa is running out of time. (from UK Tor)
OPINIONS: I adore these books. They are fast-paced, full of fantastic characters and incredibly compelling. They take traditional tropes of urban fantasy mysteries, blending it with the Edinburgh setting, more than just a place, more of a character of its own and influenced by the author’s Zimbabwean heritage. In this second book, even more so than the first, Huchu plays with the UK’s obsession with tradition and old families, having Ropa as a counterpoint to these elements of stodgy heritage, encouraging institutions to rethink their attitude by merely existing and moving through the world. And that, to me, is wonderful. The Edinburgh Nights series is both easy to read and pulpy, while incorporating a lot of social criticism and elements intended to make the reader ponder. That combination is one of my absolute favourite things to find in books.
What I really liked about Our Lady of Mysterious Ailments is that Ropa gets a gang. While The Library of the Dead has her very much on her own, this has her grow as a person, realise that she cannot fight her way against the world alone. Priya and Jomo, who gets far more attention this time around are just as fun and quirky, and together they make a great team. The way relationships between characters developed in this installment and a greater picture has been hinted at, I am extremely keen to see how this is going to continue and desperate to get my hands on the next book (please tell me it’s coming soon?).
Huchu is a massive talent to look out for – his books are unique and special, and we as readers are better off for having them. This is what we mean when we say we need diverse stories. Stories that are diverse down to their core, with no way to separate out elements, not ones where diversity is a sheen on top that can easily be removed. Do yourself a favour and read this series.