Book Reviews

Breaking the Lore by Andy Redsmith

Released: April 2019
Publisher: Canelo
Pages: 321
Rating: 3/5

“How do you stop a demon invasion… when you don’t believe in magic?”

Nick Paris is a police inspector in Manchester with a reputation for closing cases. His days are filled with solving crimes, while his nights are filled with whisky. A bit of a loner, he is plodding through life quite grumpily until a bizarre case throws his world into chaos. At first believing it to be some kind of prank, Paris is called to the most unbelievable murder scene of his career: a crucified fairy.

Pathology quickly determines that the fairy is no hoax. It’s tiny, but it’s real. Yet fairies simply don’t exist… right?

Then a chain smoking crow, an elf, and a rock troll come literally barreling into his living room. Soon he discovers there is a lot more going on here than fairi-cide. As more mythical beings come out of the woodwork, his precinct becomes the de-facto headquarters against a demon invasion pouring in from the very real mythical realm. The portal to which just happens to be behind a shed in suburban Manchester.

All the elements for an awesome urban fantasy were there: magical creatures crossing into our world, a dry sense of humour, and a couple of quirky mysteries to boot. Yet it just didn’t quite get there for me. It was a fun and quick read and I did enjoy it, just not nearly as much as I’d hoped.

My main problem with Breaking the Lore was that it felt like the author was trying too dang hard to be clever. The jokes were often quite funny, but they were just so incessant. Several times I felt as if I was reading a 300+ page book of Dad Jokes.

All the other characters were delightful and funny in their own right, but the internal monologue of Nick Paris is where the author seemed to never stop trying to be clever.

Your mobile’s as much use here as a town crier with laryngitis.”

Cute, but nearly everything Paris thought and said ended with a one liner like this. Not as cute.

Our main character is the only reason I didn’t like this book more. He was so rude to everyone around him, especially poor Sgt. Bonetti who was nothing but loyal and sweet. I get having characters who are unlikable, but for me Inspector Paris had no redeeming qualities till the end. I have no idea why everyone around him put up with him for so long.

I’m not trying to be disparaging. I’m sure this humour works for a lot of people. It usually does for me, god knows I love dry British humour, but Nick Paris’s constant eye rolling and snarkiness were over the top. The advertisements for the book liken it to Douglas Adams and I can see why, but this wasn’t in quite the same class. Not for lack of trying, though.

That aside, all the other characters were fantastic. I mean, who wouldn’t love a demon with a heart of gold or a crow who does wicked Queen covers? The magical cast in this were endearing and hilarious, so it was a shame they were all brought down by a certain inspector’s grumpiness. I would love to see more of the motley crew of elves, dwarfs, demons, and fairies that filled this story.

Breaking the Lore was a charming and fun urban fantasy that I definitely enjoyed reading even if I had some problems with it. It’s a great pick if you’re looking for something light with a bit of whimsy this summer, although the constant snide jokes did get very tedious very fast.

Still, there were some truly hilarious moments that had me chuckling out loud. I also absolutely fell in love with the wacky mythical beings that scampered around the pages of this novel.

I already miss that chain smoking crow.


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