I purchased e-copies of W.R. Gingell‘s The World Behind series. Well, I preordered the 3 that are currently available to order—A Whisker Behind, Behind Closed Doors, and Wet Behind the Ears. (Goodreads says there will be 5 in the end.) However, I somehow forgot that the third one wasn’t out yet when I started reading book one (and then two). So, I held off posting this until I could review all three together.
Searching for redemption in the shifting realm between the human and fae worlds, not-so-reformed fae steward Athelas seems likely instead to find death, dismemberment, and deadly magic…
Exiled, excommunicated, and with a bounty on his head, Athelas is lying low in Seoul for exactly one reason: he has a wedding to attend. Whether or not he’s welcome is another matter.
Luckily for Athelas, several bodies have turned up with their soft insides gnawed out, whether by magic or Behindkind—and the latest of those bodies is at the very wedding hall he has been staking out. The Behindkind investigators suspect one of Athelas’ housemates: YeoWoo, a gumiho with a thirst for revenge and an even greater appetite for soft underbelly than Athelas. To buy herself time, YeoWoo barters alibis with the suspiciously quiet fae sharing her house, but to remain free, she must find the real murderer.
By joining the investigation, Athelas has exactly the chance he needs to prove that he is now a repentant, changed, and selfless fae, bent on atoning for former deeds…no matter how many Behindkind and humans he has to cut through to confirm that impression.
You know, I didn’t think Gingell could top The City Between series with a spin-off, and I don’t know if I’d say this tops it. But man, is it right up there with it! I love what I have read so far, which is the first three books (all that are currently available).
The series does start out kind of slow and takes a little while to truly get invested in, even knowing and loving one of the main characters. But once it happens, there is a lot to love here. For me, the best part is the gruff, prickliness of both Athelas and YeoWoo that hides an absolute gooey center that both would deny until their dying breath…probably with their dying breath, actually. I ADORED them both! And seeing each paired with people who see right through them is a joy.
I do think there are a few phrases used too frequently (fancy and my dear come to mind). Though the humor and language are great, sometimes I wasn’t wholly sure what was happening. For example, a character would think, “Oh, I see,” and then the narrative would move on. But I was left going, “Wait, what do you see? I don’t see.”
Lastly, I very much enjoyed the glimpses of previous characters but was admittedly frustrated that those glimpses are all we get. All in all, I can’t wait for more. I admit, I originally thought it was going to be a trilogy. (I don’t know where I got that idea.) So, I’m both disappointed not to have reached a climactic conclusion and thrilled that I’ll get more time with these characters in the future. I have pre-ordered book four, Behind the Curtain.