Have you ever come across a book that captivates you within the first two paragraphs, and KEEPS you captivated for FIVE MORE BOOKS?
Yeah, that rarely happens to me, too. But W.R. Gingell’s The City Between series managed it, and I have to tell you ALL about it! Read on to see why Between Jobs and the rest of the series is a perfect read for drama lovers.
First, a quick synopsis from Amazon:
When you get up in the morning, the last thing you expect to see is a murdered guy hanging outside your window. Things like that tend to draw the attention of the local police, and when you’re squatting in your parents’ old house until you can afford to buy it, another thing you can’t afford is the attention of the cops.
Oh yeah. Hi. My name is Pet.
It’s not my real name, but it’s the only one you’re getting. Things like names are important these days.
And it’s not so much that I’m Pet.
I am a pet.
A human pet: I belong to the two Behindkind fae and the pouty vampire who just moved into my house. It’s not weird, I promise—well, it is weird, yeah. But it’s not weird weird, you know?
The main narrator, Pet, has a voice like I haven’t read in a long time. She’s intelligent and scrappy, with a compelling way of talking that keeps me wanting to see what she’s going to say or do next. I’m not the only one — the Fae and the vampire who end up living in her house seem to feel the same way, though they would never do something so undignified as mention it.
Usually, the heroines in the current wave of urban fantasy are brassy and bold and don’t listen to anyone, instead choosing to carve out their own path. Pet herself is quite cheeky, and she’s fairly independent, having raised herself for the last four years. But she’s not the type to bust down doors and bully/charm people into answering her. Instead, she’s friendly and sympathetic and is ALWAYS making people coffee or tea. It must be her magic power to get them to open up to her, and to trust her.
Pet also knows when to actually obey. When her Fae owners — and trust me, they are owners in name only; no one can control Pet when she doesn’t want to be controlled — command her to obey for her own safety, she does. She has the sense to be cautious when dealing with things beyond her control, and her mouth only gets away from her *sometimes*. I really like her level-headedness and maturity. Pet is brave, she’s smart, and she has a huge heart.
But Pet isn’t the only member of this ensemble. There’s the giant albino warrior Zero, who is half-human and half-fae. He’s a bit like Spock in that he shuns human emotions, but interacting with Pet brings out his soft side. Marginally. He enters Pet’s world as he tries to figure out who — or WHAT — is murdering people and leaving them around on power lines.
Zero’s steward, Athelas, reads like a haughty scholar who sometimes lowers himself to be entertained by the humans in his midst. He answers Pet’s questions, but never in a way that she can fully understand, and his veins must run with Earl Grey, because she is CONSTANTLY making it for him. He definitely softens towards Pet, but she’s still reminded that he is Fae and she is not from time to time.
Last, but never least, is JinYeong, a Korean vampire who is deadly AND pretty, according to Pet. He has a complicated relationship with Zero and Athelas, but can be trusted to have their backs in a fight.
JinYeong also understands English perfectly, but refuses to speak anything but Korean. His interactions with Pet as she tries to pick up his language feel VERY similar to me listening to Kdramas after three years of watching them — I get a word or a phrase here or there, but never the full picture. Pet’s frustration with the way JinYeong chooses to talk makes TOTAL SENSE.
There are some overarching mysteries that continue through the series, but each book is an adventure of its own — they’re tied together, but not left on a cliffhanger. I appreciate that. I also appreciate the camaraderie that grows between the three supernatural beings and Pet, as well as the relationships that Pet establishes outside of the world she finds herself in. The secondary characters are interesting and well-drawn, and the plot is always tight and compelling.
I highly recommend The City Between series. (Feel free to use this Amazon affiliate link to purchase the first book — it will support the blog!) If dramas like While You Were Sleeping or Hotel del Luna are your own cup of tea, you’ll enjoy what W.R. Gingell has to offer.
Until the next page turns, I remain —
Karie the Maknae
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi