Dyer Street Punk Witches by Phil Williams (Ordshaw #7)

My Five Word TL:DR Review: My favourite Ordshaw adventure yet

GTD Cover

I first encountered the strange city of Ordshaw during a SPFBO challenge a few years ago and I have to say that the author has taken this place and made it into a fascinating place full of magic.  His love for Ordshaw and it’s characters shines through in his writing and makes the reading so much more enjoyable as a result.  To my shame I haven’t read all the books in the series but this leads me a very good point – which is (and if you’re a reader with a huge TBR – which, you probably are) that you can read many of these as standalones and this is one such example.  

Hand on heart, I can genuinely say that this is my favourite of the author’s work so far (which is saying something as I also recently enjoyed Kept from Cages.  For me, this story had the perfect mix of elements.  Rebellious women turning to witchery, punk-bad-assness, gangs and the criminal underworld, great characters that you can really become attached to and, well, what more do you want – punk witches.  

Essentially this is the story of Kit “Fadulous” Hamley, activist editor for the type of publication not afraid to call out those who should be above corruption and helping the downtrodden but who frequently fail to do so.  Kit lives in a rather seedy area of Ordshaw where gangs in the past fought for turf.  Kit and her two friends became involved in the gang life, much to their later regret, and as they started to discover their own talents for witchcraft became sucked much deeper into the goings on.  Things have moved on since then, regrets have been put firmly behind, the girls left their ‘witchery’ dead and buried – until it seems that there’s a new force felt in the area and with that stirring in the darkness the gangs once again become restless.

I won’t say anything further about the plot as you can discover that for yourself and I highly recommend you do so.  Instead, I’m going to highlight a few of my feelings.

Well, firstly, I just loved Kit.  I mean, everything about her.  She doesn’t take any nonsense.  She rushes in like a raging maniac with little fear for the consequences.  Also, yes, she’s a bit reckless but I also think this boils down to the innate trust she has in those around her to behave in a certain way.  She’s a confident woman. she can still touch the darkness but has chosen not to do so understanding that such magic comes with a price  that she’s not prepared to pay. And, she’s like this fearsome creature that stalks around growling at people but she’s also something of a great softie. She’s surrounded by other really easy to like characters but I’ll let you discover them for yourself.

Kit and her buddies drifted apart but in their teenage years they were firm friends, dabbling in the unknown with the help of an online grimoire that they found.  I loved that there’s a split timeline here.  It takes us back to those crazy young years and I really think Williams nailed the whole chaotic, passionate, crazy messed up punk feel and it simply made me smile.  We drift back and forth between the now and then slowly discovering what really took place all those years ago with a few twists thrown in for good measure and the pacing of this is, for me, perfect. 

What else did I love.  Well, I mentioned that the author has a clear love for this strange place and it shines through.  This is a place that is easy to visualise,  This author knows this place, he’s spent time here and he’s confident when he’s writing about it.  In fact that leads me to my next point which is I feel that Williams has really honed his writing.  This book is really well executed.  There’s a great sense of pace and the balance between slowly revealing things from the past, jumping back to the ‘now’ and keeping the interest jumping whilst really making the reader feel for the characters is just so well done.  Seriously, I have to applaud this because I never, not once, had a feeling of regret or impatience when I was jumping between the timelines, I didn’t experience any of those little niggles where you feel like you’re being lead down the garden path, or given information that was unnecessary, it just worked so well for me.

Okay, I also can’t deny that the whole reflection on the punk rock age is something that I loved, and that cover by the way – just saying (gorgeous), but I also think the author played a blinder, he’s mixed up the anarchy and the gangs and the violence and he’s managed to pull into that the exploitation of raw new talent that sometimes took place.  And, he shows us the grown up versions of his characters as well as the younger more idealistic versions – and they’re a bit jaded, a bit rough around the edges but they still think they’re all that, tough as nails.

I actually have no criticisms for this book.  It worked really well for me and was a pleasure to read.

My thanks to the author for a review copy.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 4.5 of 5 stars

As an extra the Author has come up with some Cards for his key characters and I am so happy to share with you the card for Firline.  The only thing I’m going to tell you about this character is she is a downright serious witch with an abundance of power.  She’s very important to the story but I’m not going to tell you why – go find out for yourself.  Here she is in all her glory:

Trading Cards

For more information about the characters and their cards take a look here.

3 Responses to “Dyer Street Punk Witches by Phil Williams (Ordshaw #7)”

  1. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    My favorite as well in the Ordshaw sequence, and the one in which I felt the city come even more alive than before. Then there was Kit, of course… 🙂

  2. Tammy

    I’m glad this can be read as a standalone, and I regret not starting this series sooner. Glad you loved it!

  3. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    One day I want to just put my head down and catch up with all his books!

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