Angela Slatter – Restoration

Walking between the worlds has always been dangerous — but this time V’s facing the loss of all she holds dear.

Verity Fassbinder thought no boss could be worse than her perfectionist ex-boyfriend — until she grudgingly agreed to work for a psychotic fallen angel. But dealing with a career change not entirely of her own choosing is doing nothing to improve V’s fractious temper. The angel is a jealous — and violent — employer, so she’s quit working for the Weyrd Council and sent her family away, for their own safety. Instead of indulging in domestic bliss, she’s got to play BFFs with the angel’s little spy, Joyce the kitsune assassin, who comes with her own murderous problems.

The angel has tasked V with finding two lost treasures. That would be hard even without a vengeful Dusana Nadasy on her heels. And Inspector McIntyre won’t stop calling: the bodies of Normal women who disappeared decades ago are turning up, apparently subjected to Weyrd magics. Angelic demands or not, this isn’t something she can walk away from.

And the angel is getting impatient for results…

Restoration is book three in Angela Slatter’s Verity Fassbinder trilogy and the only thing that made finishing this book bearable, was the fact that Slatter teases more books to come in her author’s note at the beginning of the book. Because Reader, this series might be my favourite urban fantasy series at the moment and Verity Fassbinder my all time favourite urban fantasy heroine. So the thought that this would be goodbye was painful. 

As is becoming a familiar framework for the series, Verity collects a number of cases that need solving that in one way or another overlap or even are part of a greater connected mystery. In Restoration, the central case is the quest the fallen angel has set V on: to find a grail and to find the Tyrant that felled him. It was a fabulous way to get Verity to once again do some gumshoe detective work and old-fashioned investigating. I really love that much of Verity’s investigating is of the traditional kind, no short cuts or abracadabra—V has to do the hard work herself, talking to people and kicking ass and taking names if necessary.

What was interesting in this novel is that V is stripped of much of her usual crew. The angel has forbidden her to speak to Ziggi and Bela, her family is sent to safety, and she has quit her position as Weyrd police liaison, even if McIntyre refuses to accept it. Of course V finds ways around these prohibitions, communicating through third parties, but also just sneaking behind the angel’s back. It leads to V having far more direct interactions with the more high-ranking Weyrd in Brisbane, which made for interesting situations. Still, for much of the direct action Verity has to either do things on her own or team up with Joyce, the assassin we met in the previous book Corpselight, who the angel has assigned as her minder.

The interaction between these two was quite engaging as we see Verity trying to keep her distance, but liking Joyce despite herself and wanting to help her get away from the angel. There is a recognition between the two women that they have more in common than they perhaps would like and if they’d met under any other circumstances they might even be friends. One of the things they have in common is that they have parental abandonment issues; both of them have lost their parents, whether that happened willingly on the part of the parents or not and both of them struggle with giving these things a place.

It is a theme that runs through the narrative, there are many characters that have parental abandonment issues, such as Dusana, Merrily Vaughan, and even Ziggi. And there are also characters that come from the other side of the issue, such as Olivia and Eurycleia. All of their feelings are complicated and painful and Slatter explores the issue with a wonderfully light touch. Verity’s agonised worrying whether Maisie will feel abandoned and betrayed due to having been sent a way and because V’s job will always necessitate her being on the go a lot, harkens back to her own history, but also echoes the worries that many working mums have about their children.

One of my favourite storylines in the book was that of the Norns. I’d always thought they were some sort of Nordic creatures of legend, but in Restoration we learn their true nature and history. It was fascinating and I couldn’t get enough of it. Of all of the Weyrd background characters The Norns are my favourites. The three sisters are fantastic characters in their own right and I really like their interactions with Verity. If ever there was a spin-off in the making, these three are it, I’m just saying.

With Restoration Slatter brings the first Verity trilogy to a close and wraps up a larger story arc that spans all three of the books, even if at first glance Vigil could be read as a standalone. And I truly hope that Slatter’s use of the words ‘first trilogy’ means that there will be more Verity Fassbinder in our collective future, because I cannot wait to return to Brisneyland and see how things develop and what sort of adventures Verity will likely land in the middle of, whether she wants to or not. I can’t recommend these books highly enough, especially to fans of urban fantasy. If you haven’t read them yet, get them, buy some snacks, make a cuppa and settle in to enjoy a wonderful ride.

This book was provided for review by the publisher.