Black City Saint by Richard A. Knaak – Review


Published: March 1, 2016

Publisher: Pyr

Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy

Pages: 390 (Paperback)

My Rating: 4.0/5.0



For more than sixteen hundred years, Nick Medea has followed and guarded the Gate that keeps the mortal realm and that of Feirie separate, seeking in vain absolution for the fatal errors he made when he slew the dragon. All that while, he has tried and failed to keep the woman he loves from dying over and over.

Yet in the fifty years since the Night the Dragon Breathed over the city of Chicago, the Gate has not only remained fixed, but open to the trespasses of the Wyld, the darkest of the Feiriefolk. Not only does that mean an evil resurrected from Nick’s own past, but the reincarnation of his lost Cleolinda, a reincarnation destined once more to die.

Nick must turn inward to that which he distrusts the most: the Dragon, the beast he slew when he was still only Saint George. He must turn to the monster residing in him, now a part of him…but ever seeking escape.

The gang war brewing between Prohibition bootleggers may be the least of his concerns. If Nick cannot prevent an old evil from opening the way between realms…then not only might Chicago face a fate worse than the Great Fire, but so will the rest of the mortal realm.

For months I’ve been meaning to read Black City Saint and I finally had time! It was well worth the wait for this exciting urban fantasy story that takes elements from the story of St. George and the Dragon. I didn’t know too much about this book when I picked up a copy, but the art deco cover and the promise of 1920’s era Chicago gangs was enough for me… not to mention the sequel, Black City Demon, is coming out in March 2017.

I love the idea of the 1920s- Prohibition, speakeasies, flappers, and gangsters are easy to romanticize and tremendously fun to read about. Combining these elements with a paranormal consultant that also happens to be guarding the gate to Feirie makes it doubly exciting. Nick Medea, formerly known as Georgius, has been guarding the Gate for 1600 years along with his ever present partner known only as the dragon. The dragon dwells within Nick, giving him powers beyond his own though there is a constant struggle for dominance within his mind. While the gate resides in Chicago Nick offers his services as a paranormal consultant, ridding people of Fey that have snuck through the Gate and into their homes though he usually tells them there wasn’t anything there at all. Nick receives a call from one Claryce Simon, who seems to be have an unwelcome presence in her home, but little does he know that this call will drag him into a serious situation. His old nemesis Oberon is still alive, though all signs pointed to Oberon’s destruction during the Great Chicago Fire half a century before (that was Nick & the Dragon, btw).

Black City Saint was layered with history and interesting character dynamics, of which Nick and the Dragon are probably the most clearly laid out. Nick (St. George at the time) killed the dragon, who was the previous guardian and it fell upon him to take up that mantle. Nick and Claryce, Nick and Diocles, Oberon and Titania… there is much here that I still hope will become more clear in the next installment. Knaak could write an entire series on the events leading up to Nick becoming the guardian of the gate and I would DEVOUR IT. I honestly think I want to read that story more than anything- I mean come on- it would be set in the Roman Empire and it would be GLORIOUS. I should start a petition or send emails where I verbally prostrate myself before him begging a prequel series.

This was a great start to a great series and I can’t wait to read Black City Demon. Keep an eye out for a review shortly before the release date in March because I got a review copy that’s calling my name! I definitely recommend Black City Saint for fans of urban fantasy, particularly the Dresden Files. It does lack the same brand of humor and the pop culture references that Harry Dresden provides, but it’s not exactly modern, so what do you expect?


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