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Strange Practice (A Dr. Greta Helsing Novel) Paperback – July 25, 2017
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Pre-order today
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"In Vivian Shaw's Strange Practice, a charmingly unusual doctor and her charges keep the city of London from grave danger. In the process, they peel back the covers of familiar (and according to them, somewhat "libelous") stories to find that reality - especially with the undead - is more poignant and complex than it seems at first glance. An excellent adventure."― Fran Wilde, award-winning author of Updraft, Cloudbound, and Horizon
"Strange Practice is written with elegance, wit, and compassion. The prose is gorgeous, the wit is mordant, and the ideas are provocative. Also, there are ghouls."― Laura Amy Schlitz, Newbery Medal winner
"A satisfying and surprising read, with rich imagery, nuance, and real compassion for its characters--give Strange Practice a shot!"―Elliott James, author of Charming
"An exceptional and delightful debut, in the tradition of Good Omens and A Night in the Lonesome October."―Elizabeth Bear, Hugo-award winning author
"A darkly delicious adventure featuring a quirky new heroine. Strange Practice breathes new life into the undead."―James Bennett, author of Chasing Embers
"Shaw's lively debut introduces a great cast of characters who should sustain this new series for many volumes to come.... Shaw brings her Victorian monsters into the modern age."―Library Journal
"Shaw balances an agile mystery with a pitch-perfect, droll narrative and cast of lovable misfit characters. These are not your mother's Dracula or demons ... Strange Practice is a super(natural) read."―Shelf Awareness
"An appropriately dark breath of fresh air."―Booklist
"Readers will look forward to more of Greta's adventures. An imaginative, delightfully droll debut."―Kirkus
"A book to settle into. A warm quilt of a thing that's made for curling up with ... I miss this newest Helming already."―NPR
About the Author
Vivian Shaw was born in Kenya and spent her early childhood at home in England before relocating to the US at the age of seven. She has a BA in art history and an MFA in creative writing, and has worked in academic publishing and development while researching everything from the history of spaceflight to supernatural physiology. In her spare time, she writes fan fiction under the name of Coldhope.
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This was a very interesting story of a human doctor who catered to the needs of the undead and related mythical creatures. It never came off as campy while still straddling a dark humor feel. When you come across these sort of stories they often fall into the "Beautiful, female main character who is terribly talented is taken by surprise when a preternatural man-thing takes interest in her. All her strengths take a back seat the moment this dude-bro shows up and he rescues her again and again, thus cementing their lusty bond," or some horseshit. Thankfully, this story does not fall into that stereotype.
These characters are varied, strong in a tangible way that is not overdone and yet flawed. While there may be a mopey vampire in the mix, the story does not come off as an angst-fest. They are not all beautiful and young, rich and prosperous, or all knowing and all powerful. Some are sick, some are old, and some are literally ghoulish. They are older, maybe a little jaded or short sighted in terms of their actions but ultimately good characters no matter what their diet may be. While the ground work was laid for a bit of a romance, it took a backseat to the plot and seems to be developing in a slow but real fashion. However, even this takes a backseat to a really touching relationship she had with an old family friend. I was also very keen on the way she built a relationship with the local ghoul community.
While I wouldn't say the story itself was very surprising or that it was full of twists, I can say that the sense of community created between the characters and how they did not quite fit into the horror-fantasy genre in a stereotypical way was wonderful. Honestly, I could probably read story after story of just house calls the main character would take because...well, the idea of non-humans needing medical care and learning of their ailments and physiology really intrigue me.
I would recommend this book and will certainly look into the rest of the stories available.
Also, I really, really enjoyed the ghouls.
Dr. Greta Helsing (as in that Van Helsing of Dracula fame) is a physician to the undead. She treats mummies, banshees, vampires and a host of other supernatural beings from folklore. She is not alone in her practice, but her colleagues are few. She does not make a lot of money and she gets by in her clinic as best she can. But a girl could really use a 3D Printer! One of the fun surprises was that this book takes place in present day London. Dr. Helsing is overworked and underpaid, but the undead need her to survive. Things are going along as “normal” until a serial killer begins killing human Londoners and stuffing cheap rosary beads in their mouths. But the undead are targeting as well. The serial killer is actually a cult of strange monks with a nefarious glowing blue light as their leader. Dr. Helsing, along with two vampires, a human museum researcher, and a family friend of unclear undead origins, set out to solve the mystery and save the city along with themselves.
Author Vivian Shaw is an evil genius. This book is so much fun! There is mystery, adventure, history, humor, and romance. I can imagine this being made into a movie, but I hope people will just enjoy the book. I could not put this book down but I did not want it to end. To me, that is the mark of a great book. I cannot wait for the publication of Bad Company, the next book in the series. Please hurry!
A special thanks to the author for rehabilitating the reputation of the modern vampire! No sparkly, toothless high school student types to be found here.
After reading the excerpt from the sequel included at the end of this book, I'm anxiously anticipating its release, which can't come soon enough! Who could resist the adorable little monster Greta finds in her hotel sink!
Most recent customer reviews
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