“It says ‘From Hell.'”

This is Nathan Garret’s fifth adventure. It’s a complete story on its own and does an ok job of explaining the key concepts and characters, but it builds heavily on previously known characters and pays off several long running plotlines. Do not start here – go back to Crimes Against Magic (book 1).

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Like the rest of the Hellequin series Lies Ripped Open goes back and forth between the present and a related story from Nate’s past. As usual historical and mythological stories and beings are woven into Nate’s world in various ways and unique versions. The past timeline for this book centers around a certain string of murders in late 17th century Whitechapel.

I’m going to go really light on details to avoid spoilers. The core storylines are solid and there’s a lot of implications and connections to previously established plot threads and characters. The flashback sequences are well done and feel important to the present. A couple of things that have been buildings for several books come to a head here.

All of which makes it more frustrating that in large it feels like this book is spinning its wheels a bit. Despite feeling action packed and like it moves at a good clip, there’s a parallel feeling that not much is happening / advancing in meaningful ways with regards to the series as a whole. There’s many more new questions than answers overall and I feel like in total we don’t know much more, if any really, than when we started.

There’s also something at the end that effectively undoes one of the things I liked most about the series. It changes a lot about where the plot could go, the atmosphere of the series, and the assumptions and framework the reader has when reading future books. Reactions will vary but once I got over the surprise of it I found myself quite disappointed with the development.

So we have a mixed bag overall. Lies Ripped Open itself is a good book and a fun read. But I’m hesitant about what its reveals mean for the series. We’ll see I suppose.

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