Last year, I very excitedly reviewed The City Between, an urban fantasy series by Tasmanian author W.R. Gingell. At the time there were only five books available, but as we all know, a LOT can happen in a year. The highly-anticipated tenth and final book was released on December 31st. Want to know if I still love the series as much as I did a year ago? Read on to find out!
Pet (not her real name, because fae have a little too much fun with real names) is a human pet, contracted to serve a couple of fae lords and a slightly bloodthirsty Korean vampire for one year in exchange for her house. The fae lords and the vampire are an investigative team who bring their brand of fae justice to the human city of Hobart, which sits over the fae Kingdom Behind. A series of strange murders has captured the team’s attention, and Pet can’t help but tag along.
As one does, the fae – somewhat unwillingly – bond with their Pet. She feeds them, they teach her to fight, and all of them make frequent forays into Between, the space connecting the Kingdom Behind and the human world, as they work together to solve the murders.
Not all is well in the Kingdom Behind. The current king’s due to be swapped out for a new one, but the exchange isn’t going smoothly – it hasn’t for the last few cycles – and the denizens of Behind are getting unruly. Leprechauns and mermen and dropbears all invade Pet’s life, tangling her in Behind politics as she does her best to protect the three psychos – the fae and the vampire – that somehow have become hers.
Why I Love the Series
I’ve mentioned it before – Pet is smart and compassionate and has this knack for doing things that make me wonder what she’s going to do next. She’s a reliable narrator, yet very good at keeping her innermost thoughts hidden until exactly the right time. This is no different in Between Kings, and makes for some excellent reveals and heart-tugging moments at the very end. Gingell is masterful at weaving in exactly what she wants us to see while hinting at more. It’s one of those things where everything is there if you look at it, but it doesn’t all click into place until the final moment of confirmation. I LOVE THAT SO MUCH.
The three psychos – Zero, Athelas, and JinYeong – have become a fully developed part of Pet’s family, if just a bit dysfunctional. I have it on good authority that JinYeong’s looks are comparable to Park Bo Gum’s handsome mug, so when the vampire says he IS the view, I believe him! The love line between JinYeong and Pet is a slow burn full of swoon and laughs, and I love every word of it.
If You Love…, You Might Love The City Between Too
The City Between series is urban fantasy in my most favorite form. If you love dramas like the Taiwanese Rainless Love in a Godless Land, Goblin, Hotel del Luna, or Hwayugi/A Korean Odyssey, these books are sure to grab your attention.
Even better is the banter, which reminds me of Inspector Koo, Bring It On, Ghost, or Cinderella and the Four Knights, and kept the darkness balanced with great humor. (You can’t have a change in leadership that goes smoothly. Not in this day and age.)
Pet and JinYeong’s romance strongly reminded me of Sae Bom and Yi Hyun’s romance in Happiness – they’re equals and fighting battles against forces greater than themselves, but doing a flamin’ good job of it.
It’s Been Ten Books. Do I Still Recommend It?
Between Kings was a satisfying conclusion to The City Between series, and I’m SO glad I got the chance to read it. Pet and her psychos will be a part of my life for a long time to come, and I highly suggest that they become a part of yours as well. I mean, everyone needs an emotional support vampire in their life, don’t they? This ride is totally worth it.
(Feel free to use this Amazon affiliate link to purchase the first book — it will support the blog!)
Until the next re-read, I remain –
Karie the Maknae
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi