The Resurrectionist of Caligo is a mystery, a book of court intrigue, and even possesses a bit of romance. This is one I enjoyed and would recommend with some reservations…
A grave robber framed for multiple killings… and a princess caught up in her kingdom’s political affairs. All set in a world loosely connected to a Victorian port city. A magic system designates the royals and keeps the line so tight that marrying cousins is not out of the question…
Roger Weathersby is a resurrectionist, a man who procures bodies for science. He provides them for the local medical schools in an effort to become a doctor himself. He’s been caught before and has one strike against him, but for the most part, he’s good at his ‘job’ and sorta gets by.
Sibylla has been on restriction for several years. Put away in an old castle a couple days ride from the capital. The queen is punishing her until she agrees to marry her eejit of a cousin. Yet, on the eve of a visit from the Emperor of a neighboring kingdom, she is called home and thrown back in the royal mess.
I liked much of this book, especially the characters. They are both sympathetic individuals who are making the best of their situations. There are several minor characters like the visiting Emperor and Roger’s brother who don’t exactly reveal their true intentions for much of the book. This made for a fun ride to see who was going to be the fulcrum for the final ramp up at the end.
My problems with the book lie in the magic system and the pacing for the middle third of the novel. Each of the royal family has several magical skills, many which have passed down for generations. Sibylla, for example, is able to produce ink through her finger nails and draw on paper or in the air. She can also click her tongue and create a strong sound that can break things. The problem is that I didn’t see this magic system as pivotal enough in the overall plot of the book. They seemed like parlor tricks and not deadly enough to really be effective for the characters.
More Minor Spoilers:
My second issue is the pacing. After Roger is framed for a murder, he is arrested but is released. I won’t say how or why to not give up spoilers, but I thought the book was going to transition into one where Roger finds the true killer. It sort of happens, but not. There’s not enough tension in this part of the book to really get the story going.
Overall, I liked much about The Resurrectionist of Caligo, but walked away wanting a bit more out of it.
3.5 out of 5 stars.
Thank you to NetGalley, Angry Robot, and the author for an advanced copy of review.