Urban Fantasy set in Ireland, written by an actual Irish author, and without being slathered in druids, fair folk, and stone circles? Sure, sign me up.
I may not be Irish, but I lived in Cork for nearly a third of my life. One of the things I picked up on is that non-Irish authors seem to be a whole lot more impressed with Celtic mythology than the Irish ones. Not that the Irish don’t pull on their heritage, but from what I’ve found in my own reading, it’s done differently. No one’s banging the Morrigan in the second chapter (or in any chapter, ever).
More Grimm, less Disney, if you will.
Three Minutes to Midnight is the story of Phoneix (absolutely not Fifi) who’s a half-fae half-vampire hybrid, and it plays out against the backdrop of a fairly standard Urban Fantasy setting: a hidden world full of werewolves, vampires, and everything else you’d expect to find.
The story’s well told, well written, and it takes place in Dublin. The characters visit several places I’m familiar with from my own visits there, and that added a little bit of extra life to the story. Then again, perhaps that’s what it’s always like for readers in the big American cities where UF stories normally take place.
It’s not just the locations, though. There are a lot of little details, mostly in the language. A turn of phrase here, a word there. Comments about this or that. Small things, but they all add up to give the story a sense of Irish-ness.
No one forgot to turn off the immersion, though.
What I’ll whine about
The overall plot is somewhat predictable, which could have been a bit of an issue. Fortunately, the story doesn’t hinge on being an unpredictable mystery, and Phoenix is pretty quick on figuring out and accepting that which the reader already knows.
What I’ll gush about
Did I mention the book takes place in Dublin?
On a more serious note, I’d like to call out the world building. It’s not hugely original, but there’s enough personality to it that it stands on its own, and I’d be happy to explore more of it in the sequels.
Most of all, though, this is a solid, well written Urban Fantasy novel. The characters are enjoyable, and there’s a bit of action, a bit of magic, and a hint of romance. Just what the doctor ordered against the February blues.
This book kept me up three hours past midnight, not three minutes.
Find Three Minutes to Midnight on Goodreads.