Thank you to Aconyte Books for providing me with an advance review copy
Wrath of N'kai is the first in a line of stories set in the Arkham Horror setting, a 1920s america directly based off of H.P. Lovecraft's works. The story follows master thief Alessandra Zorzi, who is hired by a mysterious man to steal a mummy that was recently uncovered in middle America. However, before she has a chance to do her job someone beats her to it and now she has to track down the culprits and recover the mummy. She is aided in her mission by an uncouth cabby named pepper, who is probably the most reliable person in the universe.
I really enjoyed this book, Reynolds did an excellent job in writing a story that is accessible to readers who have never read an H.P. Lovecraft story or played the board game, but still has plenty of nods to the readers who have. This really feels like a story that was set a hundred years ago, with characters often speaking in that 1920s slang and gangsters slinging tommy guns.
Alessandra makes for a very compelling protagonist, a competent and witty woman who's not going to take lip from anyone. We see most of the story from her perspective as she slowly unravels the mystery of who stole the mummy.
This book reads like a whodunit with supernatural creepy bits, which I did not expect when I started reading this, but works surprisingly well. The lovecraftian bits about cosmic horror and old gods are certainly there but they're not really explored, which does make sense because our protagonist is not the slightest versed in the occult.
The only issue I had with this story is that at a certain point there are a bit too many characters to keep track of, which isn't necessarily a big deal but I did get characters mixed up from time to time.
All in all, Wrath of N'kai is an eminently enjoyable read and sets the bar very high for future entries in the Arkham Horror series. 4.5 stars, closer to a five than a four.
Review on goodreads at: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3214687821?book_show_action=true&from_review_page=1
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