The Angel of Crows is Sherlock Holmes in an alternative 1880s London, except Sherlock is an Angel called Crow and Watson is Dr J. H. Doyle. Angels inhabit every public building, vampires, werewolves and other beings walk among human beings under a regulated truce. The problem though is that angels can Fall, and when they fall it's like a nuclear bomb in both the physical and metaphysical worlds. They touch you, then you're very lucky to live. Apart from the Fallen, they all mostly live in peace. Oh, and Crow and Doyle are hunting Jack the Ripper.
I'll admit, I've not read any of the original Sherlock stories since I was in my late teens - so well over half my life ago, so I can't judge how much of this parallels with the originals as I really can't remember them. So I'm judging based on just this book.
The most enjoyable part of this book is the angel lore. It's incredible and I loved how even characters in the book don't know everything there is. Half of what they pick up is rumours. So when you get Doyle pressing for answers for some things, it's fun to find out more about them. There's so much more that could be said, but that's also part of the mystery. Crow shares some information, but keeps a lot back.
The humour is also great, it's subtle but great. A particular highlight being a stalker where Crow comments on how they could have picked a more original name instead of a common one. I was expecting the classic John Smith or John Doe but instead, we get John Watson. It got a Ha out of me. It's the little things and this book has plenty of them. Some of the humour is mixed in with some pretty horrendous reveals, like Crow asking Doyle if they should have sex to make up now that they've had an argument only to then find out that Crow only believed this should happen because someone sexually abusing them after every argument under the pretext that it's what humans do, which Crow still doesn't seem to understand after Doyle explains it.
The star of the book is the growing relationship between Crow and Doyle into friends. You can't hide much from an angel but they also won't pry. Angels are also secretive lots but as you get through the story you get a feeling that Crow has gained his first actual friend.
For all the angel lore spread throughout the book, Crow being an angel didn't really play much into the story other than knowing other angels and the occasional questions over whether he's a Fallen or not which are quickly dismissed. It would have been nice to have a bit more of their traits integrated into the plot. Apart from the questions over whether Crow has Fallen and that angels can't lie, being an angel didn't seem to have much of an impact on other parts of the story.
The Angel of Crows is a fun read, with well-developed characters and some surprises. There wasn't enough for everyone to truly flourish as there were so many characters introduced, but there's enough going for it that more books would be welcome, even if it's just to find out more about the Angels in this alternative world. The bits scattered throughout that you learn about them is really the highlight of the book and it left me wanting to know more. It's a good take on Sherlock from a totally different perspective.