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“FOR MAGIC. FOR MEMORY. FOR EACH OTHER.”

The SwitchboardFilled with endearingly oblivious chaos queers, unexpected found family vibes, lots of magical mayhem, and plot-necessary pasta breaks, The Switchboard is a delightfully quirky and highly imaginative low-fantasy romp perfect for fans of T. Kingfisher and Good Omens (the show).

Set in an alternate magical version of modern-day Earth, The Switchboard follows a messy immortal and a grumpy mortal (who should absolutely never have met) as they are launched into a dangerous quest in the Between to save the world by restoring all magic (that one of them destroyed, oops). And as if that wasn’t enough to handle, they also have to face their own inner demons and deal with their increasingly confusing feelings for each other; in other words, cue the chaos! 

Now, I will have to admit that the start to The Switchboard was a bit rocky for me, as Glover really doesn’t hold the reader’s hand and just throws you straight into the deep end. Especially the introduction to the setting of the Between and the workings of the memory magic and the Switchboard in Kit’s perspective were quite hard to wrap my head around, but the intrigue levels were so incredibly high that I just could not stop reading.

And thank all that is holy that I just trusted the process, because everything completely clicked around the 20% mark for me, when the two protagonists’ paths crossed in the most hysterical way imaginable. Kit and Henley come from entirely different realities, and it’s only through the big culture clash between them that we really get to understand all the peculiarities of their respective worlds and lives.

In hindsight, I really love and appreciate this organic approach to the world building in The Switchboard, with in-world terms only being explained as another outside perspective encounters and has to learn about them for the first time. It might have required some trust and patience at the start, but trust me when I say that it pays off in spades. Each new imaginative twist and turn only filled me with more wonder and excitement, and by the end I was just completely in awe of Glover’s madly brilliant imagination.

Though, as cool as all the unique concepts and thrilling plot were, it was truly the rich and intimate character work that kept me glued to the page here. See, Henley and Kit are both just a certified Hot Mess in their own way, and I absolutely love them for it. Not only do they both have an extremely compelling backstory that we slowly get to uncover and dig into, but their tentatively developing friendship (and maybe more?!) was also just so heartwarming. THIS is how you do a delicious slooooow (like, agonisingly slow)-burn, the tension was killing me (just accept it and KISS already!!) and I was eating up all the emotional turmoil!

And what’s more, the diverse and vibrant cast of side characters, some of whom get an occasional POV, also jumped off the page with personality, and I adored the unconventional found family that slowly formed over the course of the story. Especially René, the Lord of Paradise (and a true Piece of Work), and Elryk, a mysteriously magical coffee seller, really stole the show for me and I would honestly read an entire spin-off series about these two.

In a way, I just can’t help but feel like The Switchboard gave off major Good Omens (the show) vibes, both in the amusing dynamic between the protagonists and in its irreverent quirkiness and delightfully chaotic plot. Yes, there were admittedly some points where I got somewhat overwhelmed or had a hard time visualising the next new bonkers concept, but my emotional investment and the entertainment factor were so high that I just shrugged it off and happily continued on devouring this gem of a novel.

And this might not be a chunky book, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that it lacks substance in any way. Especially the exploration of memory and trauma through the memory-exchange magic system is quite powerful, adding a touch of tragedy that beautifully balanced out the more ridiculously fun moments. Every single aspect of the story is just so seamlessly interwoven, resulting in a shockingly spectacular and brutally bittersweet climax sequence that left me desperate for the sequel in the best way possible.

This book is the perfect example of why I love to take gambles on new (indie) authors. Glover took me on a fun, charming, and wonderfully chaotic adventure that I didn’t even know I needed in my life, and now I want to read anything and everything that she ever publishes! If you are looking for an action-packed yet character-driven fantasy romp that will both warm your heart and rip it out of your chest, then I can’t recommend The Switchboard highly enough.

Thank you to the author for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. The Switchboard is scheduled for release on 20 May, 2024.

The Switchboard

The Switchboard

The Switchboard

The Switchboard

The Switchboard

The Switchboard

The Switchboard

The Switchboard

Esmay Rosalyne

Esmay is a self-proclaimed professional book devourer from The Netherlands. While (dark) fantasy will always have her heart, she is also a big indie/self-pub enthusiast and will probably read anything if the premise sounds intriguing enough. Or, you know, if it promises complete emotional destruction. When not reading books, she is probably reviewing books, talking about books, or watching videos of fellow bookworms talking about books.

One Comment

  • Veronica Palacios says:

    Any book compared to Good Omens instantly piques my interest! Thanks for bringing this book to my attention with your awesome review.

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