ARC REVIEW: OUR LADY OF MYSTERIOUS AILMENTS BY T.L. HUCHU

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Thank you to Netgalley and Tor publishing for providing an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS

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. 

I had the same problem with Our Lady of Mysterious Ailments that I did with The Library of the Dead. I seriously could not focus on this book. I think I’ve targetted the reason though — the voice the book is written is extremely…vulgar? I guess? It’s not quite the right word, but I’m not sure how else to put it. These two books are written in Ropa’s voice, and she’s fifteen in a post-apocalyptic style Scotland. It’s written with Scottish slang, and well, it’s hard to follow.

The world within the Edinburgh Nights series is still fascinating, but I do wish there had been slightly more revealed in this book. The world — and not just Scotland — seems to have gone through something catastrophic. However, we are given absolutely no hints as to what might have happened. I wish there had been even a tiny clue. Was it climate-related? Was there a war? Why doesn’t Ropa talk about it or even think about it more?

The plot of this book was hard to follow — something with banks and an owed inheritance and there’s ghosts too? It was all rapped up in the monarchy as well, and I just could not follow it at all. I’m sad to say that I enjoyed this book very little. While I enjoyed some of the characters, most of this book was gibberish to me. I think I’ll be skipping the rest of this series.

OUR LADY OF MYSTERIOUS AILMENTS will be released april 4, 2022.

Preorder at your local indie bookstore, or at the following links:

AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE

BOOK REVIEW: THE LIBRARY OF THE DEAD BY T.L. HUCHU

Rating: 3 out of 5.

SYNOPSIS

When a child goes missing in Edinburgh’s darkest streets, young Ropa investigates. She’ll need to call on Zimbabwean magic as well as her Scottish pragmatism to hunt down clues. But as shadows lengthen, will the hunter become the hunted?

When ghosts talk, she will listen…

Ropa dropped out of school to become a ghostalker. Now she speaks to Edinburgh’s dead, carrying messages to the living. A girl’s gotta earn a living, and it seems harmless enough. Until, that is, the dead whisper that someone’s bewitching children–leaving them husks, empty of joy and life. It’s on Ropa’s patch, so she feels honor-bound to investigate. But what she learns will change her world.

She’ll dice with death (not part of her life plan…), discovering an occult library and a taste for hidden magic. She’ll also experience dark times. For Edinburgh hides a wealth of secrets, and Ropa’s gonna hunt them all down. 

I love a good paranormal mystery series as much as the next person, but I had a hard time paying attention to this one. When I read a good book, I am FOCUSED, and don’t really want to do anything other than read. While reading The Library of the Dead, I kept coming up with excuses to not read. It might not be the book’s fault, but there you have it.

Ropa is a fourteen/fifteen year old girl who lives in a slum with her grandmother and younger sister. Ropa can see the dead, can talk to them, and as a job, delivers messages to those still alive for them. Ropa is…almost obnoxious throughout the whole book. She’s got a definite voice, and the whole novel is written in it. I can see this turning off a LOT of potential readers, but once you get past it, it’s alright. You get a real sense of who Ropa is, this way, I suppose.

The plot is rather predictable, but it was still enjoyable. Kids have gone missing in and around Ropa’s slum. One child’s dead mother asks Ropa to look for him. She goes looking, and discovers a horrible conspiracy. I won’t spoil it, but if you dive into the book, I’m willing to bet that you’ll solve the mystery rather quick.

I did like the atmosphere of the novel and the sense that something big and horrible had happened worldwide just a few years before it takes place. Ropa leads you to believe the world and society is crumbling, and there’s no real sense of government anymore. I will be reading the next book in this series, as I have an ARC for it, and because I’m interested to more about the world.

I’d give The Library of the Dead three stars.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE