Review: The Haunting of Tram Car 015, by P. Djèlí Clark

It’s another one that I feel like I should’ve read ages ago, but the other night I just wanted something short and sweet to focus my brain on, so I gave this audiobook a listen, and now I’m really excited for more in this series!

The Story

The Haunting of Tram Car 015 returns to the alternate Cairo of Clark’s short fiction, where humans live and work alongside otherworldly beings; the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities handles the issues that can arise between the magical and the mundane. Senior Agent Hamed al-Nasr shows his new partner Agent Onsi the ropes of investigation when they are called to subdue a dangerous, possessed tram car. What starts off as a simple matter of exorcism, however, becomes more complicated as the origins of the demon inside are revealed.

The Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I devoured it, and then I moved right on to A Dead Djinn in Cairo which I also devoured, at like midnight, when I was waking up less than 6h later. That should tell you something!

I just really enjoy a good mystery/procedural. I enjoy a good fantasy story too. If you give me a fantasy mystery, you’re just making me one really, really happy reader.

I absolutely loved the worldbuilding that went on in there, the whole alternate Cairo with Djinns and what is essentially magic-powered steampunk technology is right up my alley. Add to that a feminist suffragette movement (Djinn ladies included!) and I’m all sold. But it’s not just incidentally a bunch of things I like, it’s solid worldbuilding that makes you want to read more and more of it. Oh, and add to that a good sprinkling of folklore and monsters!

The two main characters were interesting, funny, and played to their strengths, included some Shakespeare level theatrical efforts. It also didn’t escape my notice that they manage essentially because women help them all along the way, so it made the suffragette movement a lot more than a background.

The novella also introduces Fatma el-Sha’arawi, the heroine of Dead Djinn in Cairo and did a beautiful job of making me intrigued and interested in her. Which I read, and I was equally, if not more, enamored with. Now I just need to get my hands on Clark’s brand new novel in that universe. Hopefully the audiobook isn’t far away now.

The Links

Amazon* | Barnes & Noble | Portal Bookshop | or listen to it on Scribd*

*these are affiliate links, I may receive a small commission (or a free month on Scribd) for purchases made through these links, at no extra cost to you

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