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Title: The Whitechapel Demon
Series: Adventures of the Royal Occultist #1
Author: Josh Reynolds
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher’s Blurb & Me
Formed during the reign of Elizabeth I, the post of the Royal Occultist was created to safeguard the British Empire against threats occult, otherworldly, infernal and divine.
It is now 1920, and the title and offices have fallen to Charles St. Cyprian. Accompanied by his apprentice Ebe Gallowglass, they defend the battered empire from the forces of darkness.
In the wake of a séance gone wrong, a monstrous killer is summoned from the depths of nightmare by a deadly murder-cult. The entity hunts its prey with inhuman tenacity even as its worshippers stop at nothing to bring the entity into its full power… It’s up to St. Cyprian and Gallowglass to stop the bloodthirsty horror before another notch is added to its gory tally, but will they become the next victims of the horror guised as London’s most famous killer?
Using the powers of darkness themselves, Charlie and Ebe use the medium who originally brought forth the demon as bait. Charlie uses some magic embued in his house to chase the eldritch horror back into the dark from whence it came.
I have some theological quibbles, which I’ll deal with as I suspect most anyone reading this review won’t have them. First, the Royal Occultist is supposed to protect England/Britian/Whatever from forces Occult, Otherworldy and Divine. Why would it need to be protected from the Divine? The answer of course is that despite saying on several occasions “For God and Country”, there is no God, no Jehovah, just a shell for the story’s sake. So Divine in this case will mean any and all gods, who are all valid. Balderdash. Secondly, Charlie is as involved in the Occult and Occultic Forces as any demon loving secret society, he just happens to use those powers “for good”. Once again, Balderdash. It is quite evident that Reynolds is using the shell of Protestant England without thinking about its depths or anything real. It annoys me to see Christianity used as a prop and in this case, a very poorly made prop.
Other than that, I quite enjoyed this read. It was short, filled that cosmic horror itch I sometimes get (and how much more cosmic horror’ish can it get than an Old One masquerading as Jack the Ripper?) and was fast paced almost to the point of being frenetic. It also has the honor of only being a completed trilogy (even though, from what I can gather, there might be 2 more books after the trilogy, but I’m not sure how they tie in, don’t really care at this point). Short books and short series are like short skirts, they look really good if you’re wearing ♪a looooong jacket♪.
I feel like this type of story is at the other end of the spectrum from the Wheel of Time books. WoT could be compared to a 14 course meal that lasts 8hrs and has little umbrella drinks between courses. This Royal Occultist? It’s driving through the front of a McDonalds, grabbing the burger from the hands of a senior citizen and then backing out and taking out a load bearing wall, collapsing the whole building. But man, that hot greasy burger does taste good. And knowing that you kept somebody’s Grandma from having a triple heart attack, well, it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside (never mind that you killed her when you took out the load bearing wall and collapsed the whole building on her head. So you should probably actually feel ashamed of yourself. But this is a judgement free zone, so kill all the Grandma’s you want. It’s open season!)
I am looking forward to the next 2 books and hope the pace stays as crazy as this was.