I interviewed Ruth a short while ago when her latest book (The Darkness Within) was released. Having talked to her and heard of her tales of alternate Dublin (or Dubh Linn) I decided to check out the first book in that series – A Crack in Everything.
Isabel (Izzy) Gregory is just an ordinary teenager growing up in Dublin. When she decides to check out some unusual Angel graffiti, she accidentally ends up in Dubh Linn, the dark underside of the city inhabited by the fey, and is catapulted into an adventure that leads to her finding out that she is in fact not as ordinary as she first believed. Before too long, she is accompanying a Sidhe Warrior called Jinx, originally sent to kill her, on a quest to find a grail she can use to heal her ailing father and figure out what is going on with the strange voice in her head.
With this book it is very easy to make comparisons to Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. The concept of a shadow city, inhabited by strange creatures, is definitely reminiscent of that concept and you can easily see comparisons between Dubh Linn and London Below. However, Long’s interpretation of the reflection of her home city is darker and grittier than Gaiman’s more whimsical approach. Her hidden city is populated with night clubs and grungy musicians. Where Gaiman’s London Below inhabitants are playful in their malice, Long’s Dubh Linn residents give the impression of serious danger in their dealings. You feel that the characters are at serious risk of death throughout their adventures. As Izzy explores the politics of the fey, we get a whistlestop tour of a gorgeous feast of Dublin and Dubh Linn sights, demonstrating ably that if you want to write a story about the fey Ireland is where you need to be writing it.