April 14, 2015

Rivals in the City by Y.S. Lee

Rivals in the City by Y.S. Lee
Release Date: March 10, 2015
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pages: 304
Series: The Agency
Review Source: Netgalley

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

In a tale steeped in action, romance, and the gaslit intrigue of Victorian London, Mary Quinn’s detective skills are pitted against a cunning and desperate opponent.

Mary Quinn has a lot on her mind. James Easton, her longtime love interest, wants to marry her; but despite her feelings, independent-minded Mary hesitates. Meanwhile, the Agency has asked Mary to take on a dangerous case: convicted fraudster Henry Thorold is dying in prison, and Mary must watch for the return of his estranged wife, an accomplished criminal herself who has a potentially deadly grudge against James. Finally, a Chinese prizefighter has arrived in town, and Mary can’t shake a feeling that he is somehow familiar. With the stakes higher than ever, can Mary balance family secrets, conflicting loyalties, and professional expertise to bring a criminal to justice and find her own happiness?
My Thoughts:
Reading this book was like coming back to an old friend: it was so good to hear from Mary again. I love James/Mary and how they interacted in this book. I would have loved even more of them together, but I like how the circumstances allowed us to hear a bit from James' POV for the first time. Rivals in the City is about the return of a familiar villain, which brings Mary back into the Agency's fold.

This is much less a mystery than the previous books in the series, as it’s about catching a specific person they already know has committed a crime. The plot allows for some interesting involvement of Mary's heritage and getting some answers about her father's missing years. The book is also about Mary facing her past and considering her future with James. Considering the book description I expected this to be a bigger conflict, but it really only came up a few times.

One thing I found missing in the book was Octavius Jones. I so expected this character to make a return, and I was very disappointed when he didn’t have a presence in the book. I also found the ending to be a little bit abrupt, though it was still a good one.

I was a little disappointed in this book, probably only because I had such high expectations for it after the long wait and after I loved Book 3, The Traitor in the Tunnel, so much. Nevertheless it was still a very decent read, and I think fans of the series will find something to enjoy in it. Mary is an amazing character, and overall I highly recommend this series. It offers a different side of Victorian London than we see in a lot of books, and stars an incredibly intelligent and tough POC lead.

The Cover:


Purchase Links:
Kobo | Amazon.ca | Amazon.com | Chapters-Indigo | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository


  1. I'm hooked on these books. Something about them is very entertaining. This wasn't my favorite, but I still enjoyed it. Great review!

  2. Yay for POC lead -- and even better, one that's shown proudly on the cover!


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