Publication Date: April 26th, 2022
Paperback. 464 pages.
About One Foot in the Fade:
"Welcome back to the streets of Sunder City, a darkly imagined world perfect for readers of Ben Aaronovitch and Jim Butcher.
In a city that lost its magic, an angel falls in a downtown street. His wings are feathered, whole—undeniably magical—the man clearly flew, because he left one hell of a mess when he plummeted into the sidewalk.
But what sent him up? What brought him down? And will the answers help Fetch bring the magic back for good?
Working alongside necromancers, genies, and shadowy secret societies, through the wildest forests and dingiest dive bars, this case will leave its mark on Fetch's body, his soul, and the fate of the world."
One Foot in the Fade is the third installment in Luke Arnold's Fetch Phillips Archives series, and it's the most unpredictable and exciting addition yet. I think One Foot in the Fade is the book in this series that really elevates the series and has expanded it into something even bigger than I anticipated.
Fetch Phillips continues his life as a private investigator for inhabitants of Sunder City, all while doing whatever he can to try to bring back the magic that was once present in the city and allowed many of Sunder City's residents to live in peace. Without magic, many of the magical residents have been slowly dying and things aren't nearly as vibrant as they once were. In One Foot in the Fade, Fetch finally thinks he has found a way to bring back the magic and will stop at pretty much nothing to do so, which creates quite a few enemies for Fetch.
Fetch is one of those characters that is consistently making really bad decisions and getting into trouble. He's a bit of a mess at times, if we're being honest, but his heart is always in the right place and he is determined and loyal to his cause. This is, of course, also somewhat his downfall, as he often has blinders on as he navigates this world in search of a way to bring the magic back, which often leads to him alienating others or just generally causing a bit of mayhem. Fetch is always able to maintain a sense of self-awareness, however, and is always aware of the grey areas that exist with anything he does, and it's this self-awareness that I think makes him such a compelling and relatable character. Nothing in life is usually black and white, good or bad, and I appreciate that he both knows this and still tries his best to do what he thinks will benefit the most people. The downside, as previously mentioned, is that sometimes this causes him to not see what other might be saying.
My favorite part of One Foot in the Fade was the entirely unexpected adventure that we get to go on about halfway through the book. I won't mention anything specific, but I definitely did not see it coming and I was so excited about that particular plot development. I also always really love getting to see Fetch interact with different characters because he has such a distinct personality that either meshes really well, or doesn't really mesh at all. And even if he does get along well with someone, it's still really interesting to see what aspects of his personality are brought out by each person. I think it's the development of the characters and these character interactions themselves that Arnold really excels at with his writing and that helps to bring the world to life so well.
The world-building of this series has also been one of its biggest strengths, and that was no exception in One Foot in the Fade. Sunder City is a character in itself and I love how much detail is put into creating this city that is both gritty and messy and also full of life and culture and intrigue. The different residents that inhabit it are wonderfully unique and distinct and have such interesting backstories attached to them. We also get to explore a bit more of the world outside of Sunder City in this installment and I loved that opportunity to see what else is out there and what Arnold may be hiding under his sleeve, and I certainly hope to get more of this in the future.
The ending was a little chaotic, but it was a chaos that worked perfectly for Fetch Phillips and Sunder City. I appreciated how much Arnold really leaned into discussing some of the bigger questions at play with what Fetch is trying to do with bringing the magic back. Do people really want the magic back? Are there greater repercussions at play that Fetch might not be aware of? Fetch didn't have magic, so is he the best one to decide to bring it back? All these and more are considered in this book, and I think Arnold was able to do so in a really fun and effective way.
Overall, I've given One Foot in the Fade four stars!
*I received a copy of One Foot in the Fade courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*