Hello dear reader(s) and welcome back to another instalment of Nessa reads and reviews! Today I will review P. Djèlí Clark’s latest book The Haunting of Tram Car 015. If the author’s name sounds familiar and you’re trying to remember if I’ve reviewed something of his before, you’re on the right track (oh God the unintended puns! 😀 ). P. Djèlí Clark’s works have appeared on the blog before: my 1st encounter with his writings was A Dead Djinn in Cairo and the 2nd The Black God’s Drums. I’ve helpfully put the links to my reviews that contain more information about the author, my thoughts on his works (spoiler alert: they’re magnificent and you should go read them as soon as you can) and some photos too (I even used the same bookmark for The Black God’s Drum and The Haunting of Tram Car 015). 🙂
The Haunting of Tram Car 015 is set in the same steampunk/alchemy Cairo universe as The Dead Djinn in Cairo. If you’d like to know more (of course you do) about how this book came to be and about the worldbuilding that went behind it, I encourage you to check the author’s blog post on the subject. Since it is universally known that I cannot, for the life of me, summarise the plot of any book in order to retell what I’ve read to other people. Not for lack of trying! I’ve been trying to practice this craft from elementary school when we had to write an essay about our compulsory reading in Croatian language and literature class. Abysmally is the adverb that best describes my “prowess” in this arena. 😀 So I shall just quote the official synopsis. 😀 I took quite a long winded route to tell you “And now I shall quote the summary written on the back of the book cover.” 😀
Cairo, 1912. The case started simply enough for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments, and Supernatural Entities: handle a possessed tram car.
Soon, however, Agent Hamed Nasr and his new partner, Agent Onsi Youssef, are exposed to another side of Cairo stirring with suffragettes, secret societies, and sentient automatons. It’s a race against time to protect the city from an encroaching danger that crosses the line between the magical and the mundane.
Now that you’re familiar with the content of the book, let’s get back to my musings about the novella itself. In the review of The Black God’s Drums I likened P. Djèlí Clark’s to an exquisite torte from a fancy patisserie. I know you’re, once again, looking at me like Boromir over there and thinking that I’ve lost whatever scattered marbles I had 😀 , but! There! Is! Method! To! My! Madness! Also to say I am extremely fond of masterfully decorated, deliciously tasty little tortes from fancy patisseries is an understatement of the century. 😀 So I consider desert comparisons the highest form of praise. It’s art! And also the hill I’m prepared to die on!
In other, non-desert related, words The Haunting of Tram Car 015 is delightfully witty, captivating and filled with fascinating bits of information. You simultaneously want to read the whole thing as fast as you can, because you want to get to know everything! But at the same time you want to take it slow, savour every new character, situation, location… You kind of walk a fine line between those two moods, but you’ll be fine with whichever path you choose. 🙂 After all you can always return to the story (which I wholeheartedly encourage) and read it again and again. 🙂
As you’ve already notice, I adore all of P. Djèlí Clark’s works; The Haunting of Tram Car 015 is no exception. If you’re weary of the same type of fantasy novels and novelettes and would like a bit of fresh reading air check out Djèlí Clark’s works. They’re short, but pack a punch. His latest work is no exception: dazzling, incredibly funny, captivating and a pure joy to read. If you haven’t read it please do so, you won’t be sorry. If you have, tell me what you think of it in the comments down below or on Twitter @NarratriceNessa. Until next time dear reader(s)!
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