The Qwillery | category: Kitty Peck


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

Review: Kitty Peck and the Parliament of Shadows by Kate Griffin

Kitty Peck and the Parliament of Shadows
Author:  Kate Griffin
Series:  The Kitty Peck Mysteries 4
Publisher:  Faber & Faber, November 7, 2019
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 204 pages
List Price:  US$12.55 (print); US$7.49 (eBook)
ISBN:  9780571325603 (print); 9780571325610 (eBook)

Review: Kitty Peck and the Parliament of Shadows by Kate Griffin
Even though Paradise was riddled with rot, I reckoned I could make it a cleaner place for the poor types who came with the dirty trades. I could make them all love me, I thought.

I was wrong about that. I’ve been wrong about so much.

When Kitty Peck took over Paradise – her grandmother’s East End criminal empire – she thought she would be able to run it her own way. What Kitty didn’t know was that her grandmother had also left her violently entwined with the Barons of London. This coterie of fiends will stop at nothing to gain power, and they’ve already robbed Kitty of so much that she held dear.

Kitty is determined to do away with the dark underbelly of Paradise and to transform her music halls into the jewels of Limehouse. But as she begins her final assault on the Barons, a new threat appears in the form of an eerily charismatic preacher on a crusade against ‘wickedness and vice’. Can Kitty save Paradise from destruction, without losing any more of the people she loves?

Melanie's Thoughts

Kitty Peck and the Parliament of Shadows is the final instalment of Kate Griffin's Kitty Peck series. Poor Kitty has risen to great heights - both literally and metaphorically. She has flown high above the dance halls in a golden cage as a performer and now that she has inherited her grandmother's east end empire she wants to make changes. It's not as easy as she hoped especially when the Barons still have control of her fate. However, its not just the Barons that are causing a problem for Kitty's plans to clean up the rot in her new empire. An extremely charismatic preacher has come to town preaching against the sinful ways of the residents of the east end. He is whipping up the locals against the dance halls and everyone who earns a living from them...Kitty included. If the Barons and the preacher weren't enough certain members of Kitty's theatre family have ended up dead, in the most gruesome ways possible. Now she has a serial killer to contend with. Things are not looking up for the Limehouse Linnet.

This final instalment is action packed with a capital 'A' from the first chapter to the very last. I quite enjoyed it (not the gruesome parts, of course) as there was a real sense throughout that life was going to get better for Kitty. The previous books were quite harrowing and while the murders on her doorstep, the omnipresent guilt she feels for Dan's death and the fact she was the reason her love interest loses an eye it doesn't stop her striving to be someone better. I thought it was quite interesting how Griffin uses the preacher as the tool to resolve one of the story's main plot points. Without revealing too much it was quite clever how she wound a number of plot threads and characters around one another to resolve not just the preacher plotline but the mystery of Kitty's parentage as well.  Usually, I can guess what will happen but I was on the edge of my seat throughout the final chapters of the book as I had no clue what Giffin had in store for Kitty and friends.

I did enjoy this series as a whole and Griffin clearly had done a lot of research into the period so that Kitty's life was true to the period. The book is very visceral and you can really picture Kitty, her clothes, and her home. I felt very sorry for Kitty in previous books but she was like a phoenix who has risen from the ashes...or in her case from the opium smoke to take control and create her own future. If you want to find out for yourself then you need to start at book 1 - Kitty Peck and the Music Hall Murders.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 22, 2017

Melanie's Week in Review - October 22, 2017

Greetings all. I am being very cheeky this week as this WIR is 'pre-recorded'. By the time this WIR gets posted I will be on holibobs in Canada. Sorry! Well not really sorry....if you follow my posts then you know I had some time off and I have a backlog of books to tell you about. I don't want you to miss a single thing that I have been reading.

Without further adieu let's get to it. What did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - October 22, 2017
I have been reading Cassandra Gannon's A Kinda Fairytale series but started on book 3 based on a recommendation on Ilona Andrews' blog. I thought I would go back and read a few others - mainly books 1 and 2. I will talk about these together as I read them back to back and they weren't so fantastic to deserve their very own, individual reviews.

Wicked Ugly Bad is set mainly inside inside the Wicked, Ugly and Bad Mental Health Treatment Center and Maximum Security Prison where Scarlett Riding is serving a sentence for being Bad and trying to prevent her stepsister's - Cinderella - wedding to Prince Charming. Stuck in a 'share circle' with The Big Bad Wolf, Marrok, a troll with self esteem issues plus a few other notorious baddies is proving almost too much. Letty is desperate to escape and it might involve joining forces with some unlikely allies in order to do just that.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 22, 2017
Beast in Shining Armor tells the story of the un-hero Avenant and his quest to find a sacred sword. Booted off the throne by the lovely Belle, Avenant is determined to topple Belle as the monarch and get back his crown. Set in an icy northern labyrinth filled with killer minotaurs and a bunch of other evil contestants who want the same thing as Avenant means that he may have to team up with Belle just in order to survive. The odd couple may just be the right couple to win but can they overcome their past in order to find the finish line?

Both books are very similar - the Bad are really good and the Good are really bad, especially Cinderella. There are some quite amusing bits especially in Wicked Ugly Bad and in the bits with the 'share circle' fact, those parts are very amusing. WUB was my favourite of the 3 books that I read. It was definitely the most humorous and had more of a plot. Beast in Shining Armor was more typical PNR with the unlikely hero becoming the hero with the love of a good woman. It was funny in parts but those were few and farther between.

Overall, these were OK. I think I over did it with this author and they didn't stand-up to binge reading. If I had to pick only one I would recommend Wicked Ugly Bad and leave it with that one. I also read Not Another Vampire Story but I couldn't finish it, it was quite ridiculous, even for its genre.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 22, 2017
The final book I am going to tell you about is Kitty Peck and the Daughter of Sorrow. Yet again life is not a bed of roses for poor Kitty Peck. Following the events of book 2 Kitty is once again being pursued by an evil cabal who are intent on destroying her and everyone she loves. Lady Ginger has the answers that Kitty seeks but she is near death and not intent on sharing her secrets. Kitty is trapped - either give the Barons what they want or suffer - and everyone around her would suffer also. Kitty has little time and even fewer allies to help her bring down those who want to hurt her.

This is another great instalment of the Kitty Peck Mysteries. Griffin has crafted a very compelling, if flawed character in Kitty Peck. You can't help feeling sorry for her and what she has been forced to become. We learn a bit about Kitty's parentage along with Kitty and this was my only point of criticism. The circumstances and details about Kitty's father is flawed. I can't see how Kitty and her brother could be near twins in looks and have been conceived in the circumstances in which Griffin sets out. It's almost as if she forgot that Kitty was younger than her brother. However, I am sooo looking forward to the next instalment. I can hardly wait!

That is it for this week. I hope you have found something enjoyable to read this past week. Until next time... Happy Reading!

Wicked Ugly Bad
A Kinda Fairytale 1
Star Turtle Publishing, March 11, 2013
Kindle eBook, 353 pages
     Also available as Trade Paperback

Melanie's Week in Review - October 22, 2017
Once Upon a Time…

Scarlett Riding is NOT an ugly stepsister. Cinderella is the evil one in the family and Letty is determined to prove it. Unfortunately, that’s kinda hard to do from behind bars. After the debacle at the ball, Letty and her sister Dru were dragged off to the Wicked, Ugly and Bad Mental Health Treatment Center and Maximum Security Prison. While Cindy’s planning her dream wedding, her two stepsisters are being forced to endure life in the dreariest dungeon in the land.

Luckily, Letty has a plan to change that unhappy ending. If she can just get to Prince Charming and prove the glass slipper doesn’t fit Cinderella’s foot, she can reclaim her life. In order to do that, though, she needs to convince The Big Bad Wolf to lend a hand in organizing a jailbreak.

Marrok Wolf isn’t sure what to make of the idealistic redhead in his group therapy sessions. With fifty counts of Badness on his criminal record, Marrok’s used to being surrounded by crooks and scumbags. Scarlett wants to lecture him about equal rights for trolls! When the little do-gooder comes up with an elaborate plan to break their entire “share circle” out of prison, though, Marrok is certainly willing to go along with the plot. And not just because he wants to see her naked. The woman may not be wicked, ugly, or Bad, but she’s definitely the only one who can save him.

Together with a wicked witch, a timid bridge ogre, an evil prince, and other villains straight out of a storybook, Scarlett and Marrok are about to make sure that Baddies finally have a happily ever after.

Beast in Shining Armor
A Kinda Fairytale 2
Star Turtle Publishing, August 12, 2013
Kindle eBook, 325 pages
     Also available as Trade Paperback

Melanie's Week in Review - October 22, 2017
Beauty vs. Beast…

Contestant One: Avenant is a handsome prince with a dark side. There’s a beast inside of him, always waiting to get out. All his life, he’s been labeled a monster and he’s done his best to live up to his Bad reputation. His parents hated him, his fairytale kingdom fears him, and now he’s been dragged into court. Again. His newest legal troubles are all because Belle Ashman stole his throne. The beautiful bookshop owner is the one woman Avenant longs for. The two of them have been in competition since childhood and the contest just became winner-take-all.

Contestant Two: Tired of Avenant ruining her dates, firing Mother Goose, and tearing down Humpty Dumpty’s wall, Rosabella Aria Ashman decided to depose the tyrant. Eight months ago, Belle led a rebellion and had Avenant thrown in prison. Now, the Beast has returned, demanding his kingdom back. Avenant might be gorgeous, but he’s also arrogant, selfish and he’s been mean to her since kindergarten. This time, Belle’s determined to vanquish him, once and for all.

The Ultimate Showdown: In the farthest corner of the Northlands, there is an impenetrable labyrinth. Made of ice and stone, no one has ever entered it and emerged alive. Now, Belle, Avenant, and other storybook contenders for the crown are heading into the maze. Whoever solves its riddles gets the kingdom. In order to win, Belle and Avenant are going to have to work together. Considering their lifelong feud, that would be challenging enough, but they’re also dealing with an angry minotaur, an unknown killer, miles of twisting corridors… and the fact that these two mortal enemies might just make a perfect team.

Kitty Peck and the Daughter of Sorrow
The Kitty Peck Mysteries 3
Faber & Faber, July 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 528 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - October 22, 2017
Summer 1881: the streets of Limehouse are thick with opium... and menace. At eighteen Kitty Peck has inherited Paradise, a sprawling criminal empire on the banks of the Thames. Determined to do things differently to her fearsome grandmother, she now realises that the past casts a long and treacherous shadow. Haunted by a terrible secret and stalked by a criminal cabal intent on humiliation and destruction, Kitty must fight for the future of everyone she cares for...

Melanie's Week in Review - October 15, 2017

Melanie's Week in Review - October 15, 2017

Hello again. I hope you are having a crisp and colourful autumn.  I have been hearing how beautiful the autumn trees are this year and looking forward to seeing them. In fact by the time you are reading this I will be in Canada on holiday and enjoying the leaves in all their glory.  As I mentioned last week I have a tiny backlog of books I have to tell you about so while this post is called my week in review it isn't specific about which week!  Cheeky!  Anyway, here I go....this is what I have been reading.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 15, 2017
I follow Ilona Andrews' blog and occasionally Ilona tells you about a book she has been reading.  This time she had read and enjoyed Cassandra Gannon's The Kingpin of Camelot which is the third book in her A Kinda Fairytale series. Andrews thought the book was really funny and I was in need in of funny and decided to give it a go.

The Kingpin of Camelot is a mishmash of every fairy tale you have ever heard. The books of the series focus on different fairytale characters and in this instalment Lady Guinevere is on the run with her daughter Avalon. She has been charged with killing her husband King Arthur and The Scarecrow is determined to marry her to become the next King. Gwen escapes and runs straight into the home (and later arms) of the most unlikely alley - the ultimate mobster - the Kingpin Midas. Everything Midas touches is gold and he has everything money, or gold could ever buy except for class. When he comes face to face with Gwen he releases that she can give him the class he desperately wants but more importantly he realizes she is his 'true love'. In Gannon's version of fairy tales everything is topsy-turvy - the good are actually quite bad and the bad are kind of good. The Bad, as they are called, can recognise their true love at first sight. Midas isn't sure whether it is going to be easier to rescue Gwen from The Scarecrow or convince her she is his true love but he is up for the challenge. Can Midas turn his relationship with Gwen into gold like he has with everything else he has ever touched?

The Kingpin of Camelot was just what I needed at the time. I wanted something lighthearted and while I don't normally enjoy a lot of PNR it usually means an uncomplicated read. I am not convinced I would have enjoyed this book had I been reading other more enjoyable or compelling books but it filled a book shaped gap. Gannon gave both Gwen and Midas some very amusing lines and situations. I did think that Avalon (Gwen's daughter) was a bit too cutsey and the chapters where she was the focal point were sugary sweet. If you like fairytales and want to read something a bit different with a strong PNR plot then give it a go. I did read other books in this series and will let you know what I thought in future posts.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 15, 2017
If you read my WIR last week you will know that I have been reading Kate Griffin's Kitty Peck series. Onto book 2 - Kitty Peck and the Child of Ill Fortune - which finds Kitty in a much different situation to when we left her. She has inherited Lady Ginger's business including the musical halls where she found the depths of human suffering and the bonds of friendship. With her inheritance she discovers the yoke that had been around Lady Ginger's neck and why she was so fierce, seemingly cruel and always surrounded in a fugue of opium. Kitty also learns that her brother is very much alive and living in Paris and determined to be reunited. Unfortunately, a joyous family reunion isn't in the cards but instead this leads Kitty onto yet another path of cruelty and death.

Another gripping tale from Kate Griffin from start to finish...perhaps not quite as much as with book 1 but pretty close. Poor Kitty! I kept thinking all the way through.  Just when she makes one small step to uncover the truth the farther and farther she moves away from it. Kitty's reunion with her brother is bittersweet and Kitty's longing for the way things used to be is palatable even though it becomes clear that reality and her recollections are not one and the same. There are a couple of tragic events in store for Kitty in this instalment and a very sad ending. Reader beware!

That is it for me for another week. I hope you have had a couple of good books to enjoy this week. Be sure to check out my review of the next Kitty Peck book. Until then Happy Reading.

The Kingpin of Camelot
A Kinda Fairytale 3
Star Turtle Publishing, July 31, 2017
     Kindle eBook

Melanie's Week in Review - October 15, 2017
The Queen: Guinevere must save Camelot. Ever since Arthur died, the evil Scarecrow has been trying to marry her and gain the crown. If she and her daughter are going to survive his mad schemes, Gwen needs to find Merlyn’s wand. Fast. Unfortunately, the only man strong enough to help her on her quest is Kingpin Midas, a flashy, uneducated mobster dealing with a curse. Gwen is a logical, rational woman, though, and she can draft one hell of a contract. She’s pretty sure she can come up with an offer not even the kingdom’s greatest villain can refuse.

The Kingpin: Anything Midas touches turns to gold. Literally. The curse has helped him to rule Camelot’s underworld with an iron fist. He has more money and more power than anyone else in the kingdom. He’s convinced there’s nothing he can’t buy. One look at Gwen and Midas knows that he’s about to make his most brilliant purchase, yet. He’s about to own the one woman in the world he would give anything to possess. All he has to do to claim her is somehow win a war against the smartest man in Camelot, hide his growing feelings from Gwen, deal with his overprotective bodyguard’s paranoia about the queen’s hidden motivations, and adjust to a five year old demanding bedtime stories from a gangster. Simple, right?

The Contract: Gwen’s deal is simple: If Midas marries her, she’ll make him King of Camelot. It’s a fair bargain. Midas will keep her enemies away and she’ll give him the respectability that money can’t buy. She never expects Midas to agree so quickly. Or for their practical business arrangement to feel so… complicated. Midas isn’t the tawdry, feral animal that Arthur railed against. He’s a kind and gentle man, who clearly needs Gwen’s help just as much as she needs his. In fact, the longer she’s around Midas the more Gwen realizes that their “fake marriage” might be more real than she ever imagined.

Kitty Peck and The Child of Ill Fortune
Faber & Faber, June 30, 2015
     eBook, 416 pages
Faber & Faber, July 2, 2015
     Trade Paperback, 416 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - October 15, 2017
Kitty Peck is taking on the underworld of London's East End.

The Music Hall Murders:
It's 1880 and dancing girls are going missing from 'Paradise' - the criminal manor run with ruthless efficiency by the ferocious Lady Ginger. The Lady devises a singular scheme to discover the secret to the mystery, and suddenly seventeen-year-old music hall seamstress Kitty Peck is drawn into a web of blackmail, depravity and murder. Bold, impetuous and blessed with more brains than she cares to admit, Kitty, with the help of her stagehand friend, Lucca, is left to unravel the truth and ensure that more girls do not meet with a similar fate.

The Child of Ill-Fortune:
A year later, and Kitty Peck is the reluctant heiress to 'Paradise'. Far from the colour and camaraderie of the music hall where Kitty had been working, this new position brings with it isolation and uncertainty. Desperate to reconnect with Joey, her estranged brother, Kitty travels to Paris, but the joy of the reunion is overshadowed by his request for her to take a child back to London. Within days of her return it's clear that someone has followed them - and that this someone is determined to kill the child, along with anyone who stands in their way...

Melanie's Week in Review - October, 8 2017

Melanie's Week in Review - October, 8 2017

Happy October! Sorry that you missed me in September. I wanted to take a little break as I was losing my reading mojo and then I lost my Mom so I really needed to take some time off from reading and blogging. However, I inherited my love reading from my Mom so while I haven't been blogging I have kept reading....although maybe not with the same gusto as before. I am back in the UK now and back to work so back to blogging about what I have been reading. What have I read? Let me tell you about a few good ones.

Melanie's Week in Review - October, 8 2017
I don't remember now how I came across Kitty Peck and the Music Hall Murders by Kate Griffin but boy, I am glad I did. Set in the London in the late 1880's Kitty Peck is eeking out a living in the grimy underworld of the east end music halls. Still grieving her brother, who was mysteriously died months before, no one is more surprised than Kitty to be summoned to Lady Ginger's, the boss and baron who resides over much of the East End's criminal scene. Girls are going missing and Lady Ginger will not broach anything or anyone who interferes with her livelihood, her money or her property. She tasks Kitty to solve the mystery of who is responsible and holds the minor detail that Kitty's brother may still be alive and in her control as the bait to keep her compliant. With the help of her friend Lucca its not long before Kitty is drawn into the seedy happenings in the musical halls and on the trail of a ruthless, vicious killer. Will she survive to solve the mystery? You need to read it to find out.

Before to you start this book be sure to have all your housework done and don't have any big projects due at work as this book is one that you can't put down. I had my eyes glued to my Kindle for all 350+ pages. Griffin is a very evocative writer. It's like you can see through Kitty's eyes and see the grime and grit of the musical halls, smell the foul air that pervades London and feel the push of the crowds when Kitty ventures outside.  The mystery itself wasn't the challenge or the reason why I was so hooked.  For me the mystery was whether Kitty would extradite herself from the situation and if so, how she would go about it without losing her brother or herself in the process.  Lady Ginger was terrifying so be forewarned and there is a big surprise at the end about this character!  I read the first 3 books in quick succession but I am only going to tell you about 1 book each week so that I don't leave you with too many spoilers.

Melanie's Week in Review - October, 8 2017
Book 2 that I want to tell you about is book 2 of the Oddjobs series by Heide Goody and Iain Grant - Oddjobs 2: This Time It's Personnel. In this instalment the Venislarn are still being the Venislarn and the Consular Office are still trying to keep their existence hidden. An agent of the Venislarn is going door to door and buying souls along with a cheap broadband subscription and 'the gang' ie Morag and co are going to make sure that he doesn't succeed in bringing about whatever alien armageddon he has planned. From an alien with dementia and the power to make whole areas of the city disappear to murderous school children to a demon trapped in cloth doll are just a few of the zany happenings that Goody and Grant have in store in Oddjobs 2.

I don't know how Goody and Grant do it. How can they be soo funny book after book? I laughed my way through the Clovenhoof series and do some serious chuckling in this one. The best character by far is Steve the Destroyer...aka demon trapped in a cloth doll. I do so hope that Steve is brought back for book 3 as across 2 different series he is pretty close to my favourite character. Can't quite figure out where the authors are planning to go with the series but I look forward to finding out.

That is it for me this week. Stay tuned to find out what happens to Kitty Peck.  Until next week Happy Reading!

Kitty Peck and the Music Hall Murders
Kitty Peck 1
Faber & Faber, September 11, 2017
    Trade Paperback, 368 pages
Faber & Faber, June 25, 2013
    eBook, 368 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - October, 8 2017
Limehouse, 1880: Dancing girls are going missing from 'Paradise' - the criminal manor with ruthless efficiency by the ferocious Lady Ginger. Seventeen-year-old music hall seamstress Kitty Peck finds herself reluctantly drawn into a web of blackmail, depravity and murder when The Lady devises a singular scheme to discover the truth. But as Kitty's scandalous and terrifying act becomes the talk of London, she finds herself facing someone even more deadly and horrifying than The Lady.

Bold, impetuous and blessed with more brains than she cares to admit, it soon becomes apparent that it's up to the unlikely team of Kitty and her stagehand friend, Lucca, to unravel the truth and ensure that more girls do not meet with a similar fate. But are Kitty's courage and common sense and Lucca's book learning a match for the monster in the shadows? Their investigations take them from the gin-fuelled halls and doss houses of the East End to the champagne-fuelled galleries of the West End.

Take nothing at face value: Kitty is about to step out on a path of discovery that changes everything . . .

Oddjobs 2: This Time It's Personnel
Oddjobs 2
Pigeon Park Press, August 25, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 382 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - October, 8 2017
The Venislarn. Vastly intelligent aliens from another dimension or dribbling insane gods from a distant realm? It’s impossible to tell. What’s certain is that they’re here and they’re going to destroy our world.

But, hey, there’s no mileage to be gained from telling the kiddywinks that monsters are real…

The consular mission to the Venislarn are the god appeasers and the end of life carers for an oblivious planet. It may be the end of the world as we know it but there are procedures and policies in place and everything should go according to plan.

But, in the city, someone’s buying souls door to door, dealing the kind of magical drugs that guarantee a really, really bad trip and, if something isn’t done about it, the end of the world might just happen a lot sooner than planned.

Sequel to the hilarious ‘Oddjobs’, this is a workplace comedy like no other, featuring face-eating grannies, telepathic spiders, bloodthirsty school kids, murder on the dancefloor, sex-crazed pondlife, and actual stockbrokers from hell.

The weekend can’t come soon enough (if it comes at all).
Review: Kitty Peck and the Parliament of Shadows by Kate GriffinMelanie's Week in Review - October 22, 2017Melanie's Week in Review - October 15, 2017Melanie's Week in Review - October, 8 2017

Report "The Qwillery"

Are you sure you want to report this post for ?