ARC Review: The Conductors or a quiet but enchanting book!

Hello everyone! We are again in lock-down, or sort of, so all my wishes of long walk with Ade in some parks or similar are gone, again! But at least I am doing good with my reading so at least is something, and I can’t believe it, but I am back with another review, yay!

Thanks to NetGalley and to the Editor. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Title: The Conductors
Series: Murder and Magic #1
Author: Nicole Glover
Publication Date: March 2nd, 2021
Pages: 422

A compelling debut by a new voice in fantasy fiction, The Conductors features the magic and mystery of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files written with the sensibility and historical setting of Octavia Butler’s Kindred: Introducing Hetty Rhodes, a magic-user and former conductor on the Underground Railroad who now solves crimes in post–Civil War Philadelphia.
As a conductor on the Underground Railroad, Hetty Rhodes helped usher dozens of people north with her wits and magic. Now that the Civil War is over, Hetty and her husband Benjy have settled in Philadelphia, solving murders and mysteries that the white authorities won’t touch. When they find one of their friends slain in an alley, Hetty and Benjy bury the body and set off to find answers. But the secrets and intricate lies of the elites of Black Philadelphia only serve to dredge up more questions. To solve this mystery, they will have to face ugly truths all around them, including the ones about each other.
In this vibrant and original novel, Nicole Glover joins a roster of contemporary writers within fantasy, such as Victor LaValle and Zen Cho, who use speculative fiction to delve into important historical and cultural threads.

I have read some interesting reviews about this book that made me so so curious, so I was quite excited when I got approved for it. And I have to say that I had some expectations. But this book was not what I was expecting. At all. And, it is strange to say it, but it was not a bad thing. Because even if this is not what I was expecting it to be, it was a really really good book.

When I started it I was just curious to see how it was. My idea was to read something like 10 pages and then go back to it later on, because my house-chores were waiting for me. But then I have stopped reading after 80 pages, given or taken, because I had something to do that could not have waited. I was enchanted by it, and this magic repeated itself every time I picked up this book. Putting it down was always hard!
And it is quite strange, because this is such a quiet book, in some ways. I am not saying that it is boring, not at all. We get mystery, some action, some interesting themes, and some good characters, and the plot move along quite nicely. But it is sedate in some ways. And even if it may sound strange, it was a good thing. It is not fast-paced, but it is not a slow book, and we get some excitement in there, too, but all things are taken in stride, and all is quite… balanced. There is not a single thing that is too much. It is a strange feeling to explain, and I hope to have mad at least a bit of sense.

It is, also, a book that talk about a lot of things. Aside for our characters and their investigations, we have a lot going on. Part of it is about all the topics we can found in there, slavery, racism, the importance of the past, and the relationship between past and present and future (there is a theme that we see popping out in there quite some times, because it involved different characters, in different ways, and it is the coming back of people who were thought as lost, or death, or too far gone and with a whole new life. And we get to see different nuances of it, and it was a thing that really makes you think. ). And with all these bigger things we have also more “little” ones, little as in more on a personal level than on the human level, as to say. Because this book talks about obsession, too, relationship, friendship and the value of the small things that we, sometimes, take for granted.

And we have an amazing magical system. We have Celestial Magic and Sorcery. There is also Brewed Magic, so maybe there are some more little division in there, but the main point is that Celestial Magic is the magic of black people, Sorcery is the magic of white people, and they don’t usually intermingle. And the Celestial Magic is really, well I would say magical but it won’t be of help, right? It is fascinating, and enchanting. And I loved it!

And, last but not least, we have the characters. I loved Hetty and Benjy, both as characters and as a couple. (Even if I have some complaint for them as a couple, but we would get to them soon!). They are strong, determined and independent, and they know each other quite well. They trust each other, and they are never overbearing, overprotective or over anything toward each other. Each of them has his or her suits and strongest features, and they play well with them. They are a really balanced couple, and it was quite great to see a married couple for once. A couple who is together from some time, that is solid. It was refreshing. (And mind me, refreshing is another world that could really well describe this book as a whole!). And we get some interesting side characters with them. Oliver and Penelope are my favorite. Especially Oliver, with his grumpiness and his big heart, that he tries to hide at every change he get. I really hope to see more of him in the next books. Because I can say without a doubt that I want to continue this series!!!!

I really enjoyed this book, I was surprised by it, and enchanted by it. But it was not perfect. Mind me, I had a great time with it, and I really had a great time reading it. But there are a couple of things that weren’t so great. The first is the mystery part. The investigation was interesting, and I have no complaints here, but the ending, the solution was quite… meh. Maybe it was a bit too rushed, but I was hoping for something better, more articulate.
And the second one is, as I was saying before, Hetty and Benjy as a couple. On one hand I loved this couple, because it was so good and refreshing to see a stable and solid relationship, and to see two people who really know each other, and they have a great relationship and I was just so so happy! But there is a minor thing. The point is that they married for practical purposes, and not for love. But during this story they, finally, admit to love each other. And it was good, really. And sweet. But I would have preferred to just see a happy (and in love) couple from the start. It felt a bit forced, just because romance is expected. And yes, maybe romance is expected, but I think there could have been a way to put a bit of it in a married couple without making them falling in love with each other on the pages . But, as I was saying before, this is just a minor minor thing, because I really enjoyed Hetty and Benjy, they are just so cute together. And their relationship was refreshing and just so good!

And what about you? Have you read this book? Or are you interested in it?? Let me know!

Happy reading!

11 thoughts on “ARC Review: The Conductors or a quiet but enchanting book!

  1. Pingback: MARCH WRAP UP!

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