The Resurrectionist of Caligo – Wendy Trimboli and Alicia Zaloga

Caligo

I was absolutely delighted by this book, since the very beginning until the last page, and have already pre ordered the paper book. I’ll be very happy to read the sequel, and will certainly re read this one first.

Curiously it’s often easier to explain why some read didn’t agree with me than explain about my enthusiasm. I will thus start with a possible trigger for a random reader: corpses.

If the story is settled is a fantasy world, with magic, and not an uchronic one, the atmosphere holds a certain historical tonality, as the theme of Resurrectionists is based on a reality of the beginning of the 19° century in many European countries. The idea is to exhume illegally some corps to sell them to medical institutes, to allow dissections and learning. The character whom activity is to be a Resurrectionist isn’t indifferent to people, quite the contrary. His dream is to be a real doctor someday and he tries to survive and to train himself. His philosophy is that learning to protect and to treat the living is more important than respecting the dead – even if he’s never disrespectful or indifferent toward the corpse he used that way.

So if you believe in medecine and for caring for the living above all, and don’t mind (or even crave) frequent allusions to graveyards, corpses and death (nothing really gore, mind you) and if you’re not shocked because of some ethical convictions of yours, you’ll have all the chances to love this book as much as I did.

The story is very entertaining, a mix between social comedy, mysteries, criminal investigation and old grievances. The atmosphere isn’t dark, even if the themes are, but rather positive and heart-warming.

The characters are great, with colourful interactions, strong personalities but never stereotyped thanks to some clever nuances: the young princess, quite rebellious, is just dragging out things, she knows that she’ll have to marry the right person someday and not the one she’d have chosen. The young hero, intense and caring, is also impetuous and prone to premature judgement, and the perfect young man has quite a funny part. The relation between the main character and the little girl is wonderful, subtle, touching but never mushy, bittersweet and credible.

I also loved how the magic (rare and only reserved to the royal family, with assassination of all illegitimate children to guarantee the purity of the line) was treated: some rather weird and even a priori useless magic, but which have been very useful in specific circonstances. This point has driven the population to worship their royalties, alive and dead alike, in a colourful way.

Speaking of the past, the manner used to draw the background is faultless: if you’re an intolerant info-dump reader you’ll be delighted! Many hints and very short stories are told during the book, quite naturally, bringing all the required informations while painting a vivid and substantial background. Really outstanding writing.

One of my best read of the year, I’m looking forward reading more of the authors!

(I thank Netgalley and Angry Robot for sending me the ARC in exchange for my honest review)