Chris Moriarty: The Inquisitor’s Apprentice

The Inquisitor’s Apprentice is set in a vividly rendered alternate late-19th-century New York city. Magic exists in this world, but — officially, at least — it is controlled by wealthy industrialists like “J. P. Morgaunt,” a character inspired by J. P. Morgan (some more sympathetically rendered historical figures appear under their real names) . Thirteen year-old Sacha Kessler discovers that he can see the use of magic, and swiftly finds himself apprenticed to Inquistor Wolf, who works in an elite police task force charged with the regulation of magic.

Moriarty delivers a plot compelling enough that I was able to read this book on the subway without getting motion sick (a rarity). Some plot points are a tad predictable — it is immediately clear that Sacha’s pride must lead to a comeuppance — but I found the ways even the requisite elements unfolded satisfying; and there were plenty of unexpected thrills (and chills; there is a dash of horror in Moriarty’s mix). Sacha is both engaging and a little off-putting, a neat trick. Moriarty does an excellent job of portraying the world through his eyes, so we see how he comes to decisions most readers would probably disagree with to some extent.

I loved the complexity of Moriarty’s milieu. Sacha’s life is impacted by economic disparity and prejudice, but the novel isn’t preachy in the least. The role of magic in society has some obvious metaphorical parallels (Prohibition and intellectual property issues both came to my mind) but it also works on a straightforward literal level. I also loved the integration of some folkloric elements that haven’t been done to death in recent years.

It is clear that Sacha’s gradual-coming-of-age will occupy more than one book; he does some significant growing up in this one, but he’s got a way to go. Moriarty ties up Sacha’s first major case with Wolf and company well enough, but leaves some things decidedly unresolved. Often this annoys me a bit, but in the present case it just leaves me very impatient for the continuation of Sacha’s story.

needs more demons? nohow.

Published by therealsummervillain

likes: equality, making things easier to use, biking, jangle, distortion, monogamy dislikes: bigotry, policies that jeopardize people, lack of transparency

One thought on “Chris Moriarty: The Inquisitor’s Apprentice

  1. Chris Moriarty’s books is so magical! In fact it brought me to my own magical world while reading it.


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