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Vigil: Verity Fassbinder Book 1 by Angela…
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Vigil: Verity Fassbinder Book 1 (2016)

by Angela Slatter (Author)

Series: Verity Fassbinder (1)

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722316,498 (3.75)3
Verity Fassbinder has her feet in two worlds. The daughter of one human and one Weyrd parent, she has very little power herself, but does claim unusual strength - and the ability to walk between us and the other - as a couple of her talents. As such a rarity, she is charged with keeping the peace between both races, and ensuring the Weyrd remain hidden from us.But now Sirens are dying, illegal wine made from the tears of human children is for sale - and in the hands of those Weyrd who hold with the old ways - and someone has released an unknown and terrifyingly destructive force on the streets of Brisbane.And Verity must investigate - or risk ancient forces carving our world apart.… (more)
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Vigil introduces us to the Weyrd community of modern-day Brisbane, all those creatures of myth and nightmare from around the world who gave humans a reason to be afraid of the dark, who, over the past two centuries, sought refuge in Brisbane to escape the threats of whatever 'old country' they'd left behind. They stay mostly hidden from human eyes by disguising their physical shape behind a glamour (humans tend to find claws, wings, tails and fangs tend disturbing in creatures that talk, especially when the creatures view humans as snack food) and by giving up some of the old ways, like hunting and killing the humans who they share the city with. The Council enforces the suppression of the old ways, with limited unofficial cooperation from the local authorities.

If things start to get out of hand, they call in Verity Fassbinder. Half Weyrd, half human, Verity is best placed to walk the line between the Wyrd and the Human communities without being fully accepted by either She has no special powers beyond being extraordinarily strong but she is an obsessive, tenacious investigator/enforcer who will do whatever it takes to find and stop the bad guys. Not surprisingly, she has almost no friends, has lots and lots of enemies and she gets injured a lot. 

'Vigil' is structured around Verity's investigations of several problems that may or may not be related: street kids going missing in large numbers, winged beings with crushed hearts falling from the sky, a strange swirling entity sweeping through the streets and swallowing anyone it touches and rumours of a supernatural plot to 'Break The Sky'. As Verity investigates these problems, we get a tour of Weyrd Brisbane and come to understand Verity's backstory.

The pace is fast, the violence is frequent and the body count is high but there's more to this book than action. There's a lot about difference and exclusion and privilege and what it takes to make a new start. Verity is not soft and fluffy but she's not a stormtrooper either. She's a sort of PI to the Wyrd who is also willing to mete out justice to those she thinks deserve it. 

I had a lot of fun with this book. The mysteries were well-crafted and skilfully revealed. The Weyrd, while not being entirely new, felt both fresh and plausible and Verity was an appealing mix of grit, sass, compassion and vulnerability. The supporting cast was well-drawn and the foundations have been laid for a good series. I'm already looking forward to the next book, Corpselight.
( )
  MikeFinnFiction | Jul 7, 2022 |
Vigil by Angela Slatter is the author's debut novel but regular followers of this blog may recall that Slatter is also a much-lauded author of shorter stories and collections and a few mosaic novels. I have reviewed several of her works before, which you can peruse here. Most notable of those, to me, are The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings and Sourdough and Other Stories, two mosaic novels (collections of linked short stories) that I adored. Vigil is, in many ways, rather dissimilar.

Vigil is an urban fantasy novel starring Verity and set in the city of Brisbane. Verity is half-human, half-Weyrd and an investigator whose main job it is to solve crimes, especially those where Weyrd shenanigans impact on normal humans. The story mainly follows Verity as she gets embroiled in a few cases.

This was an interesting read because I am more familiar with Slatter's more historically-set fantasy stories, albeit not exclusively. Vigil is still quite dark in its fantasy elements, as I've come to expect from Slatter, but these elements are mixed in with the real-world normality of Brisbane. The story happens when the Weyrd leaks into the normal and contaminates it.

Verity and the other characters all have layers to them, which makes the book particularly compelling. As well as enjoying Verity's character, I rather liked a couple of the side characters in particular. The human police officer whose job it is to deal with the official side of the investigations was well done, as was Verity's human love interest. What I liked most about David, the love interest, is the way the relationship was important to Verity but not her main concern for most of the book. For most of the book solving murders is the main thing going on in Verity's life, closely followed by not dying and keeping the people important to her safe. I appreciated that the romantic storyline was in the background because, let's face it, a string of siren murders is kind of more interesting than a healthy romantic relationship.

I highly recommend Vigil to fans of urban fantasy and Angela Slatter's other work. It brings a fresh and elegant darkness to to the genre, tying multiple cases together into a single coherent story. I really enjoyed it and I am eagerly awaiting the sequel, although it was a self-contained story.

4.5 / 5 stars

You can find more reviews on my blog. ( )
  Tsana | Feb 21, 2017 |
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Verity Fassbinder has her feet in two worlds. The daughter of one human and one Weyrd parent, she has very little power herself, but does claim unusual strength - and the ability to walk between us and the other - as a couple of her talents. As such a rarity, she is charged with keeping the peace between both races, and ensuring the Weyrd remain hidden from us.But now Sirens are dying, illegal wine made from the tears of human children is for sale - and in the hands of those Weyrd who hold with the old ways - and someone has released an unknown and terrifyingly destructive force on the streets of Brisbane.And Verity must investigate - or risk ancient forces carving our world apart.

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