Review: OverLondon by George Penney and Tony Johnson

Posted September 11, 2023 by Jen in Historical Fiction, Mystery, Rating B, Reviews, Sci-Fi or Fantasy Fiction Tags: , , , ,

Book Cover of OverLondon by George Penney and Tony JohnsonOverLondon
George Penney and Tony Johnson
Rating: B/B+

What I’m Talking About:

OverLondon is a fantastical adventure filled with sarcasm, satire, and silliness. The story follows former Dread Pirate Purple Reign, now privateer Captain Alex Reign, and her misfit crew as they try to earn/steal enough money to get back their airship, which is being held by the government until back taxes are collected. Meanwhile, priests from the Church of Vengeful Acquisition are miraculously exploding, street urchins are missing, and a rogue artificer apprentice is on the brink of prosthetic innovation.

Set in a quasi-historical floating version of London, OverLondon adds several twists to the city’s historical districts, leaders, and religion, all in the name of comedic excellency. The story is filled with humor, using satire and word play, to bring lightness to the deadly mission, discovering who is exploding priests and how it’s being accomplished. Some of my favorites are the names of the beadles in the various districts of OverLondon. For example, Theatreland district has Ushers, Lepers, “created” by The Clockmaker who augments them with metal parts, are the enforcers in Whitechapel, and the Bad Habits police all church-related matters. Adding to the general silliness of the setting are the not-quite human denizens (in the 16th century woodland creatures started to mix genetics with humans). 

While I was a bit overwhelmed with the science, characters, and setting at first, once I was able to figure out the humor and various character personalities, I enjoyed the story. The mystery and plot are smartly written,  and just because something is silly, doesn’t mean it’s arbitrary. However, it may not be for everyone. The world building and storytelling are very much in the vein of Terry Pratchett, where anything goes. In the end, I enjoyed following Alex, Elias, and the crew work together and forge new/strengthen  old friendships. 

OverLondon is a standalone mystery, but I for one hope the authors continue the story of the Reign Agency. The characters are lovable and the setting is unique. Overall the book is enjoyable and funny, even silly at times. If you enjoy Pratchett, you should definitely pick up OverLondon.

My Rating: B/B+

About the Book:

Priests from OverLondon’s Church of Vengeful Acquisition are exploding. Is the cause divine retribution, ballistic undergarments or something more sinister? If only the city had a professional private investigator…

Luckily, notorious pirate—turned privateer—Captain Alex Reign, has just narrowly escaped the hang man’s noose to establish the Reign Agency in Drury Lane. She needs cash fast and will take any job, even if failure means facing an inconveniently messy end. But what’s a little danger to a professional swashbuckler?

Armed with nothing but her roguish wit, her reliably unreliable crew and a rogue artificer experiencing a mortal crisis, Alex is convinced they’ll have this crime solved and the reward pocketed by teatime.

To solve their first case, all they must do is survive while navigating rampaging nuns, clockwork horrors, confectionary gangsters, piratical florists, malevolent urchins, military-grade statuary, weaponized blasphemy and sexual whales.

How hard can it possibly be?

Release Date: September 12, 2023
Swashbuckler Press
OverLondon #1
Historical Fantasy, Comedy
paperback (358 pages), e-book, audiobook
Book Source: Publisher

Purchase Info:
Amazon (affiliate link)