My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I wish I loved this as much as the fellow writing the forward. Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed it but it was a little too familiar. The forward even makes a case for that scenario and I do agree, urban fantasy has a certain set of things fans look for. I wasn't sure if this was the beginning of something more (the ending surely felt like it) and the blurb is misleading, the protagonist is not an ex-junkie. She's a heroin addict who's just been handed a get clean or else ultimatum from her recently deceased grandmother for whom she's name.
Alice and her girlfriend, Tilt, are living rough on the streets of NYC, turning tricks for drugs. She's crossed her dealer, Prince, who is now out to get his money and a pound of flesh. Alice is whisked away by mysterious men in suits who work for her grandmother's lawyer. If she gets clean, she gets a big old turn of the century house and money. Alice isn't exactly thrilled with this but it's a new start away from a man who is likely to rape and mutilate her for money and kicks. But then she finds something in the basement.
The bulk of the narrative is really Grandma Alice's story about being a poor Jewish orphan during the Great Depression and the violence of NYC gangs, mobsters and the desperation born of poverty and prohibition. One fateful night, Alice, her would be lover, Peter, Rabbi Ravi and her Chinese friend, Han, end up on the bad end of some mobsters and from this a monster is born. Since I know the history of the Golem of Prague there wasn't much of a surprise for me.
What Alice and her new Golem do (well both Alices really) comes as no surprise. So in that way the story is a bit conventional. I did, however, really like the true historical facts woven into this like the garment district fire. I'm not so sure I like Alice the younger. Maybe if we had more of her backstory. Maybe that was to follow, if there was ever more of this. The art is amazing. It's very well drawn and gloriously detailed and the colorist did a fantastic job. It fit the tone of the book and avoided being garish.
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