Thursday, November 28, 2013

New Book Review - Snake Agent by Liz Williams

Book Name - Snake Agent
Writer - Liz Williams
Series - Detective Inspector Chen, Book 1  
Published By - Open Road Media

First things first, I Got this book free from NetGalley for a review, so thank you netgalley for this opportunity.
To be honest, I am not really a fan of Urban Fantasy, in fact sometimes I even go out of my way to avoid the genre as a whole. But with this book i really read some good stuff about this on the internet and am interested in books with an Asian setting (as I am from Asia), so I decided to give it a try. And after my own read I can gladly say it didn't disappoint at all.

This book is set on a somewhat futuristic yet somewhat religious supernatural version of Asia. In this world there is heaven and hell quite within human reach and deities are influential quite directly over humans, and modern technology really even made possible to e-mail to heaven and hell. The most enjoyable part of world building was the little bits like powerful demons having reversed feet, the weird dressing custom of the demons, hell having different ministry's to manipulate the humans; the Chinese setting was a breath of fresh air to the urban fantasy bit. For me the writer did the world building quite superbly as she didn't try to explain anything getting out of the way of the storyline, rather she just let us go on with the ride with the characters and find out the the world with our imagination and wonder along the way.
The story starts as our protagonist gets a job to retrieve a waylaid soul of a young girl which somehow ended up in hell instead of heaven, from this apparently simple (in the eye of the Inspector, obviously not of the reader) task he gets entangled in a web of mystery and conspiracy which leads him to journey to hell eventually; the writer also introduces us with a demon Zhu Irzh from hell's vice division who also starts investigating the case. I quite liked this character, a demon having some sort of humanity and his charismatic attitude was really enjoyable. There is also the case of Chen's wife Inari who gets dragged back to hell & has to again endure something which see ran away from.
The progression of the story is quite fast paced and really I did enjoy the side characters as well. The book got even better as the heroes were thrown in more dangerous and seemingly inescapable situations.
The only complain I have is about the narrative early on in the book, as I found the prologue scene actually from the last portions of the book a bit distracting as I kept looking for it throughout my read. And also changing character once a chapter was a bit confusing at first and I would rather have liked to connect with a single character at first, but may be that just my point of view.

On the whole the reading was quite a enjoyable journey, specially since the busy schedule I have on my life at the moment, and I will most definitely check out the other books of the series; I will give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. 

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