I’m afraid I really struggled reading The Fiend in the Fog by Jess Faraday. I was hoping it would be a much better story than it turned out to be.
The cover of the book caught my attention. It is a very good cover. The blurb sounded interesting as well. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, and the idea of a paranormal tale set in the East End of London in the 1880’s encouraged me to try this novel. The setting is probably one of the best things about the book. It is a great place to put a paranormal tale since this part of London during the late 1800’s already has a scary and eerie reputation due to the horrible pollution that ravaged the place, the extreme poverty of the inhabitants, and of course, Jack the Ripper using some of these streets as his hunting grounds. The author did a good job of describing this area as well as the buildings the story takes place in. These descriptions lets the reader see the fog rolling through the streets, smell the stink of the river mud and the sulfur fumes in the fog, and feel the dank chill of the air. These descriptions were the best part of the book for me.
The problems I have with this book are mainly with the characters. First of all, there are twelve of them. They are listed at the beginning of the book as the heroes of the tale, and then they all seem take turns at being the main character. The story is told in third person, through the eyes of almost all of these people. The author head hopped. Every chapter was seen through a different person, and sometimes the change happened multiple times in a chapter. Because of the head hopping and the sheer number of (main) characters, none of them really had a chance at being developed. They were all surface characters. I believe some of them were supposed to be satirical, but unfortunately, they ended up looking cartoonish. I didn’t connect with any of them, and truthfully, I had trouble figuring out who the real main character was. I’m still not sure I chose correctly.
I’m giving this book a 2.5 star rating. I really can’t recommend this book. However, the author has several other books that have good reviews. This novel is hopefully just a glitch, and I will look for other books from her in the future.
I received an ARC from NetGalley and Bold Strokes Books for an honest review.