Being a ghostalker never exactly brought in the big bucks and “certain shenanigans which I daren’t recall saw that business go kaput.” But now Ropa is seeing dollar signs. She’s just scored an apprenticeship at the General Discoveries Department with her mentor, Sir Callander. Fancy.
Only, before she even begins, her apprenticeship is downgraded to an unpaid internship. Dammit!
Ropa’s not one to sit around waiting for the money to find her. There’s some mysterious goings on at the appropriately named Our Lady of Mysterious Ailments, the clinic where Priya, Ropa’s friend, works. Max Wu, a student from the Edinburgh School, has an illness of unknown origin and Ropa’s particularly skill set is just what the doctor ordered.
‘Snooping around’s my thing, and if the kid’s parents pay well, then that’s me sorted’
In between scoffing as many Jammie Dodgers as she can get her hands on, Ropa begins her investigation. It involves the Monks of the Misty Order and the One Above All, and takes her all over Edinburgh, from a school and a bank to a whole other realm. Ropa may not have a fancy magical education but she has street smarts, River (her vulpine companion) and a scarf called Cruickshank.
While she’s tough as nails on the outside, Ropa’s heart goes all mushy when she thinks about her family.
Me, Gran and Izwi. That’s my real fortune, and I wouldn’t place it in any bank in the world, ‘cause I keep it right here in a vault in my heart.
Come to think of it, this family makes me a bit mushy too. I also love Ropa’s friends: Priya, who has some brilliant moves, and Jomo, who works in the Library.
Now, you know this series had me at ‘library’. This one keeps getting better and better. The location is fantastic, the card system is unique and the books really want you to read them.
‘I will meet you at the Library.’
I am enjoying getting to witness how magic works in Ropa’s world but it very much feels like I’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible. I’m looking forward to seeing how the new developments with Gran and Izwi unfold and want to spend more time with the Hamster Squad. Obviously I also need to learn more about the Library of the Dead.
Favourite no context quote:
I don’t think anything in life quite prepares you for the experience of trying to load a stiff onto a tricycle hearse on a hot summer’s night in Edinburgh, that’s for sure.
Readers with emetophobia may have trouble with a couple of scenes.
Thank you so much to NetGalley and Tor for the opportunity to read this book. Bring on book 3!
Once Upon a Blurb
Ropa Moyo’s ghostalking practice has tanked, desperate for money to pay bills and look after her family she reluctantly accepts a job to look into the history of a coma patient receiving treatment at the magical private hospital Our Lady of Mysterious Ailments. The patient is a teenage schoolboy called Max Wu, and healers at the hospital are baffled by the illness which has confounded medicine and magic.
Ropa’s investigation leads her to the Edinburgh Ordinary School for Boys, one of only the four registered schools for magic in the whole of Scotland (the oldest and only one that remains closed to female students).
But the headmaster there is hiding something and as more students succumb Ropa learns that a long-dormant and malevolent entity has once again taken hold in this world.
She sets off to track the current host for this spirit and try to stop it before other lives are endangered.