My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I’ve been a big fan of Angela Slatter’s short fiction since I began reading it several years ago, so I was excited when she released her first full-length novel, Vigil, in mid-2016. I savoured this book, reading it a chapter a day, because I didn’t want it to end (luckily there will be 2 more books in the series).
First up, I loved, loved, loved the setting. Slatter’s “Brisneyland” is almost but not quite the city of Brisbane (where I live). She has transformed the city and inner suburbs into a world where “normals” and “weyrd” live side by side in a delicate balance. The city felt very real to me, not just because much of it was familiar but because she has created a solid 3-dimensional world for her characters to play in.
Verity Fassbinder is a great heroine. I loved her flaws and the strength of her relationships with those she loves. Alongside the world-building its the strength of the relationships in this book that really make it work for me. It’s a novel of light and shade where even the baddest of the bad guys are fighting (rightly or wrongly) for someone they love. I do have a minor quibble with the ending, which, although it does use a device common to this genre, did stretch my suspension of disbelief just a little. But this really is a minor issue, and didn’t dampen my overall enjoyment of the book.
If you’re a fan of Slatter’s writing you won’t be disappointed, as Vigil delivers on the promise of the skills she’s honed over her years of crafting fine shorter works. If you haven’t read Slatter’s work before, you’re in for an absolute treat. Highly recommended.