Review: Vigil by Angela Slatter

VigilAngelaSeries: Verity Fassbinder #1
Published by: Hachette Australia
ISBN 13: 9781784294021
Published: July 2016
Pages: 380
Format reviewed: eVersion from NetGalley
Site: Author Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Five out of Five

Vigil by Angela Slatter is the first in the Verity Fassbinder series – currently a trilogy with Corpselight coming in 2017, and the currently titled Restoration in 2018. For those who have read the anthology Sprawl (from Twelfth Planet Press), Angela’s piece in that – ‘Brisneyland by Night’ showcases the same characters we come to love in Vigil (or already loved in Sprawl if you’ve happened to read that, which I really must do sometime this year).

Verity Fassbinder is a half-breed. Her mother was Normal but her father was ‘Weyrd’, and as she gained certain abilities through her fathers side, it allows her to walk through both worlds, more or less welcome. Set in Brisbane, Australia, Verity works for her ex-boyfriend where she receives a decent retainer if she does the odd job here or there, mostly keeping the Weyrd side of things in line so they don’t all attract the wrong type of attention. She even has a chauffeur, mostly because a previous job (which I think we see in Sprawl) has left her with a limp and not insignificant pain when she was hurt in the line of duty.

Everything is almost normal until it’s certainly not so – Verity is about to attend the birthday party of the kid next door (daughter to a single mum, who Verity really cares about), a kid she absolutely dotes upon, when her services are required. Children are going missing, and then beyond that, Sirens are being killed, and beyond that… there’s a big bad monster appearing here and there through Brisbane city. Although Verity almost wants to try and have a normal life for once – date someone normal, enjoy normal human friendships… things soon hit too close to home, and through a huge sense of decency and the need to fight for those who can’t always protect themselves, Verity steps up to challenge after challenge after challenge.

What’s strong about this novel is its sense of place. This novel is utterly Australian (in the best of ways), and it has such a sense of Brisbane along with it. It pokes fun at the city in a way only someone from the region can (and only as such a person is allowed to – someone from say, Sydney, can’t do this), about the floods, about the lack of anywhere decent to eat after a certain hour, and so on.

What’s also strong about this novel is Verity – apart from her need and selfless need to protect those around her, is the fact she’s kind, and deeply tries to make things right with those around her. She apologises when she knows she needs to, she fights and tells herself to keep on fighting even when that’s the hardest thing in the world, simply because she knows those around her need her to. She’s a decent and strong female lead, and I can’t wait to see more of her.

I also really hope that the caramel marshmallow log is real.