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Dreadful Company

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Contemporary fantasy in the world of Strange Practice, starring Dr. Greta Helsing, whose family has been keeping the supernatural community not-alive and well for generations. When Greta Helsing, doctor to the undead, is unexpectedly called to Paris to present at a medical conference, she expects nothing more exciting than professional discourse on zombie reconstructive sur Contemporary fantasy in the world of Strange Practice, starring Dr. Greta Helsing, whose family has been keeping the supernatural community not-alive and well for generations. When Greta Helsing, doctor to the undead, is unexpectedly called to Paris to present at a medical conference, she expects nothing more exciting than professional discourse on zombie reconstructive surgery and skin disease in bogeymen -- and hopefully at least one uneventful night at the Opera. Unfortunately for Greta, Paris happens to be infested with a coven of vampires -- and not the civilized kind. If she hopes to survive, Greta must navigate the darkest corners of the City of Lights, the maze of ancient catacombs and mine-tunnels underneath the streets, where there is more to find than simply dead men's bones.


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Contemporary fantasy in the world of Strange Practice, starring Dr. Greta Helsing, whose family has been keeping the supernatural community not-alive and well for generations. When Greta Helsing, doctor to the undead, is unexpectedly called to Paris to present at a medical conference, she expects nothing more exciting than professional discourse on zombie reconstructive sur Contemporary fantasy in the world of Strange Practice, starring Dr. Greta Helsing, whose family has been keeping the supernatural community not-alive and well for generations. When Greta Helsing, doctor to the undead, is unexpectedly called to Paris to present at a medical conference, she expects nothing more exciting than professional discourse on zombie reconstructive surgery and skin disease in bogeymen -- and hopefully at least one uneventful night at the Opera. Unfortunately for Greta, Paris happens to be infested with a coven of vampires -- and not the civilized kind. If she hopes to survive, Greta must navigate the darkest corners of the City of Lights, the maze of ancient catacombs and mine-tunnels underneath the streets, where there is more to find than simply dead men's bones.

30 review for Dreadful Company

  1. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

    Urban fantasy with heart would be how I'd describe this series - whatever happens, the overall sense of how things should be never changes, and the ultimate goal remains the same: right wrongs, help those who need it, and encounter all sorts of interesting monsters along the way. This time the action takes place in Paris, and the best parts - both the Catacombs and the Opera House got to play a central role this time. Ruthven and Varney are still around, of course, and some other familiar faces s Urban fantasy with heart would be how I'd describe this series - whatever happens, the overall sense of how things should be never changes, and the ultimate goal remains the same: right wrongs, help those who need it, and encounter all sorts of interesting monsters along the way. This time the action takes place in Paris, and the best parts - both the Catacombs and the Opera House got to play a central role this time. Ruthven and Varney are still around, of course, and some other familiar faces show up as the story moves along. The main enemy was fantastically done - body glitter really is a crime, especially for a vampire! - and Greta Helsing's world continues to flesh out around her and her adventures. Varney, by the way, only continues to tug on the heartstrings in this book. His contemplation of a rose's wasted life almost had me wanting to head out to buy all the wilting flowers I could find! His gentle arc over the book was one of my favourite parts, and I really look forward to seeing more of him as the series continues.

  2. 4 out of 5

    K.J. Charles

    An enormously enjoyable urban fantasy heavily based in period pulp (any book where Varney the Vampyre is back and has anxiety is all right with me). Greta is a lovely moral heroine, her gang of vampires, demon, psychopomps in Led Zeppelin T-shorts etc are great fun, there's a delightful slow burn romance (plus an unexpected bonus for romance lovers), pacey adventure, a gleefully crap modern edgelord vampire villain in body glitter, and even a delightful riff on one of the greatest MR James stori An enormously enjoyable urban fantasy heavily based in period pulp (any book where Varney the Vampyre is back and has anxiety is all right with me). Greta is a lovely moral heroine, her gang of vampires, demon, psychopomps in Led Zeppelin T-shorts etc are great fun, there's a delightful slow burn romance (plus an unexpected bonus for romance lovers), pacey adventure, a gleefully crap modern edgelord vampire villain in body glitter, and even a delightful riff on one of the greatest MR James stories. I read this while trying not to think about the US election and it actually worked. Very heavily influenced by later Terry Pratchett, about which I have no complaints--there are very few people who combine humour, adventure, kindness, and fierce morality well. Can't wait for the next.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mogsy (MMOGC)

    3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2018/08/13/... Despite the mixed reviews for Strange Practice, I ended up enjoying it a lot and was very excited for Dreadful Company. Ironically though, it’s now this sequel that’s making me feel a bit conflicted. It was a fairly good book, though perhaps not great. And I definitely thought the first book was better. Dreadful Company picks up shortly after Strange Practice ended, once again following protagonist Greta Helsing, London’s 3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2018/08/13/... Despite the mixed reviews for Strange Practice, I ended up enjoying it a lot and was very excited for Dreadful Company. Ironically though, it’s now this sequel that’s making me feel a bit conflicted. It was a fairly good book, though perhaps not great. And I definitely thought the first book was better. Dreadful Company picks up shortly after Strange Practice ended, once again following protagonist Greta Helsing, London’s monster expert and doctor to the city’s population of paranormal creatures. This time though, she has been called to Paris, where she is scheduled to speak at a supernatural medical conference. Just your typical travel for work, and nothing out of the ordinary—or at least that’s what Greta thought, as she prepares for a night out at the opera with the vampire Edmund Ruthven, her best friend who has accompanied her on this trip. Unbeknownst to them though, Paris’s labyrinthine underground is infested with a coven of unruly vampires, and they have been planning something nefarious for Greta’s arrival. But first, Greta encounters a small gremlin-like creature called a wellmonster in her hotel bathroom, its appearance intriguing her because wellmonsters aren’t typically seen unless they are summoned. Soon though, there are more sightings. Deciding that they warrant further investigation, Greta opts to stay behind while Ruthven returns home to England. But before she can get too far with her inquiries, Greta is kidnapped by the vampires, who are led by a real nasty piece of work named Corvin. Meanwhile, back in London, Greta’s disappearance has been noticed by Ruthven and Francis Varney, the vampyre who has been sweet on the doctor ever since she saved him in the first book. Setting off to find her, the two begin scouring Paris for clues while a parallel mission is also being carried out a pair of psychopomps who are investigating a worrisome influx of phantoms around the area. Dreadful Company and I did not exactly start off on the right foot. Compared to Strange Practice, the beginning here lacked the kind of urgency that pulled me immediately into the first book. While Paris was a nice change of setting and the wellmonsters were adorable and all, I thought this sequel took too long to take off and that on the whole its introduction was pretty uneventful. It wasn’t until Greta was kidnapped that I thought the plot started to pick up. Once the ball got rolling, however, I have to admit things become a lot more interesting. I was impressed at how engaging Greta’s sections managed to be, considering how she spends most of the early parts of the book imprisoned in a cell. The vampires who kidnapped her are given individual backstories and substance, and their presence proves that even in the supernatural world, things are not so simple or black and white. Greta also once again demonstrates why she is a credit to her profession, showing compassion and providing healing to whoever needs it. The worldbuilding was also one of my favorite elements from Strange Practice, and I love it here still. The riveting mix of old and new is alive and well in Dreadful Company, where we’re treated to an eclectic mashup of literary monsters in a modern-day setting. The city of Paris simply adds to this charm, as Vivian Shaw also throws in a few references and deferential nods to several French classics. She’s also expanded the world this time with new characters, and I especially enjoyed meeting Crepusculus Dammerung and Gervase Brightside, our spiritual guides to lost souls. That said, it’s possible that a bit of the novelty and magic has faded since the first book. Part of this is understandable, as there’s a sense that this sequel is more about reinforcing the ideas and themes that have already been established, settling readers comfortably into the world. There’s nothing terribly new or surprising, even a couple reused plot points. And because the characters were all split up, the narrative sometimes had to offer multiple perspectives on the same event, leading to repetition that wasn’t always necessary. Still, my fixed feelings and quibbles notwithstanding, I wasn’t really disappointed. While I didn’t think Dreadful Company was as good as Strange Practice, it retains that special kind of charm which made me fall in love with the first book. It’s what makes Dr. Greta Helsing such a unique urban fantasy series, and plan on sticking with it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lata

    This is an odd thing to say about a book about vampires, other monsters, and the medical doctor who specializes in treating their ailments, but I really like the vocabulary and many of the sentences in this book (as well as book one). The text is often ironic and the author had me laughing out loud at times when Greta commented on situations. Greta Helsing gets kidnapped by a coven of vampires led by a rather nasty fellow called Corvin soon after she arrives in Paris for a conference. This bring This is an odd thing to say about a book about vampires, other monsters, and the medical doctor who specializes in treating their ailments, but I really like the vocabulary and many of the sentences in this book (as well as book one). The text is often ironic and the author had me laughing out loud at times when Greta commented on situations. Greta Helsing gets kidnapped by a coven of vampires led by a rather nasty fellow called Corvin soon after she arrives in Paris for a conference. This brings Ruthven and Varney, and a new character, a werewolf who is a protector of others in Paris, together to rescue her. Turns out, Greta's managing quite well on her own, which I expected, using her relationships with some little monsters to help herself. In fact, it's Greta's ability to respect others and make relationships, and her keen analytical brain that are on display frequently in this book. Book one had a lot of things happening, and I didn't get as good a feel for Greta in book one as I do here. And despite Greta sitting in a cell for a lot of the story, I really enjoyed this book. Vivian Shaw expands her world with more monsters and others, for example, psychopomps, and more information on vampire physiology and ethics. I inhaled this book and now am eagerly awaiting more Greta Helsing.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Hackmops

    Dreadful Company was a nice follow-up to Vivan Shaw's excellent debut novel Strange Practice. Was it enjoyable? Overall, yes. Was it as strong as the first book? Not quite. For me, the main draw of the Greta Helsing series is the supernatural doctor stuff. It is so original and Greta is a very capable doctor - basically, if you enjoy Peter Grant's policing-with-a-side-of-spellcasting in the Rivers of London series, then Greta Helsing as a doctor to the not-quite-dead is likely to appeal to you. T Dreadful Company was a nice follow-up to Vivan Shaw's excellent debut novel Strange Practice. Was it enjoyable? Overall, yes. Was it as strong as the first book? Not quite. For me, the main draw of the Greta Helsing series is the supernatural doctor stuff. It is so original and Greta is a very capable doctor - basically, if you enjoy Peter Grant's policing-with-a-side-of-spellcasting in the Rivers of London series, then Greta Helsing as a doctor to the not-quite-dead is likely to appeal to you. This book had too little of the doctoring and too much of Greta being held captive (not really a spoiler as this happens fairly early in the book and dominates the plot throughout). To Shaw's credit, Greta is not a damsel in distress and (view spoiler)[ manages to rescue herself, thankyouvery much (hide spoiler)] but it did not really draw me in as I was disappointed that we were not going to see doctor work right off the bat. The plot took a good third of the book to get going.. The Good: The author has a knack for witty dialogue - I cackled out loud at the Eddie Izzard reference at the beginning and the Yorkshire vampire accent was also a nice and unexpected touch (LOL). The medical bits we got to see were great and when Greta snaps into doctor mode, it is a treat to read. This is new, this is special and this keeps me turning the pages. Some of the new side characters (and especially the new supernatural creatures) were also a good addition to the cast and I am intrigued if or how they will feature in the upcoming stories. The Bad: Speaking of the Yorkshire vampires, the main villian was ridiculous and I hope this was supposed to be a parody. I was also not too keen on the Big Bad (or to be precise, the minions of the Big Bad) in Strange Practice, so this might be something that definitely stuck with me. The Ugly: I was genuinely disappointed about the Paris setting - I had thought that with Greta being a doctor with an actual practice, we would remain in and around London. Apparently, this is not going to be the case with this series and it felt a bit of a letdown to me, especially as the whole thing about Greta needing somebody to cover her practice when she was out adventuring as there were only a few undead doctors was A Really Big Deal in book 1. I also did not care much for the whole Phantom of the Opera setup, it was too obvious and the plot was not as strong as I wanted it to be. Also, the (view spoiler)[budding romance (hide spoiler)] ? No. Did not work for me. This might sound super negative but I still enjoyed the book! I am just bummed that Dreadful Company did not quite live up to my expectations and increased some of the elements I did not enjoy that much in the first book. I will definitely read Grave Importance and continue with the series but I will keep my fingers crossed that there will be more medical stuff for me to enjoy.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    This picks up a few months after the first book, it's interesting to see where things have gone since that story ended and how the characters have changed or grown. The same warmth and humour is present in the writing and the sense of a wider much more complicated hidden world we saw a glimpse of in the first book is expanded upon a little. This is everything you could want in a sequel, the same writing and fun from the first book, the characters developing nicely and a nice new story. Oh and Spar This picks up a few months after the first book, it's interesting to see where things have gone since that story ended and how the characters have changed or grown. The same warmth and humour is present in the writing and the sense of a wider much more complicated hidden world we saw a glimpse of in the first book is expanded upon a little. This is everything you could want in a sequel, the same writing and fun from the first book, the characters developing nicely and a nice new story. Oh and Sparkling Vampires!!!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lena

    Greta is in Paris for a conference where she encounters true horror: a coven of poser vampires, as lacking in ethics as taste. The horror. The horror. I enjoyed the expanded characters, especially the French werewolf! This series has fuel for miles. Give me more!

  8. 4 out of 5

    BAM The Bibliomaniac

    A book for all Seasons: related to this season

  9. 5 out of 5

    William Gowling

    YES YES YES I'm so excited to read this! Despite not greatly enjoying bits of strange practice, I loved the way ending and want more of Greta and company! Dreadful company.... 😏

  10. 4 out of 5

    Doctor Science

    A lot of this is really beautifully-written, especially the descriptions of Paris. It's also a book about a kind person being competent, which I really need right now. Partway through I realized I was smiling because I was just so happy to be a reading a good book about people I like. I'll now have to re-read the first book -- I don't recall liking it quite this much, but it wasn't such a horrible day in RL when I read it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    The first book in this series is one of my favorites ever, and the second book is no different. Vivian Shaw takes plenty of my favorite classic stories and a lot of very good stuff from her own very good brain and blends it into the perfect story. Nothing makes me happier than a new story with Greta and I can't wait for book three.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Becca

    God, do I love this series. If you like Ben Aaronovitch's RIVERS OF LONDON series, but find at times that the writing gets a little too abstract and strays from the point (as I sometimes find when reading them), this series is the perfect antidote. It's got everything I could want in a book with a few minor quibbles. I don't have a very coherent review other than: I loved this.

  13. 4 out of 5

    S. Nemo

    I definitely prefer the original. I find this sequel lacklustre, and at 70-something percent, nearly DNF'ed. I only pushed on because I've already gone too far up the road, but it wasn't really reading so much as skimming. Here's what worked: I like seeing the old gang back. Grisaille is awesome, loved him. Varney's line about the wilting flowers was lovely. Here's what didn't: So few women and it's nearly a reverse nonsexual harem. Greta herself got really boring, and the only two significant fe I definitely prefer the original. I find this sequel lacklustre, and at 70-something percent, nearly DNF'ed. I only pushed on because I've already gone too far up the road, but it wasn't really reading so much as skimming. Here's what worked: I like seeing the old gang back. Grisaille is awesome, loved him. Varney's line about the wilting flowers was lovely. Here's what didn't: So few women and it's nearly a reverse nonsexual harem. Greta herself got really boring, and the only two significant female characters from the previous book made no appearance. I would have been stoked to see a part-rusalka and a witch join in, because they were very untapped characters. Instead we got an incredibly tiresome coven of vampires and their incredibly tiresome boss-villain, also mostly male. The one interesting female got fridged. Hurray. Two nonvillain female vampires showed up for all of five minutes, all snooty and smirking and unhelpful, well, why couldn't they have been heroic, to counterpoint Greta? Ugh. Also, Alceste could have been a girl. New characters were unremarkable. The demon, the psychopomps with the weird ass names which is their only distinguishing characteristic. I wished we had more Fast. The villains didn't work - they were a little over the top, and it is not new to satirize or mock them. Overall I would not reread this, but I would reread the first book, because that one was fun and remained so with a recent reread.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Last year, Strange Practice, the first in this ongoing series, was one of my unexpected delights, so much so that it was one of my 'favourite five' Fantasy novels of the year. It shouldn’t be a surprise then that I was really looking forward to this one. Dreadful Company begins pretty much where we left things at the end of Strange Practice. If you remember, Dr. Greta van Helsing, daughter of the more-famous van Helsing, is a physician to those who live in the shadows. As part of her work she enc Last year, Strange Practice, the first in this ongoing series, was one of my unexpected delights, so much so that it was one of my 'favourite five' Fantasy novels of the year. It shouldn’t be a surprise then that I was really looking forward to this one. Dreadful Company begins pretty much where we left things at the end of Strange Practice. If you remember, Dr. Greta van Helsing, daughter of the more-famous van Helsing, is a physician to those who live in the shadows. As part of her work she encounters and helps many who need her unusual treatments – vampires, ghosts and the like. Here we begin with Greta at a hotel in Paris for a medical conference, with her vampire friend Edmund Ruthven. Expecting to do little more than deliver a lecture on zombie reconstructive surgery, instead Greta and Edmund find that Paris is in thrall to an evil nest of feral vampires in the dead catacombs underneath Paris, from which the story develops. Vivian manages to develop the characters we’ve already met. From the first chapter, Greta is again shown to be a caring person, whose job is unusual enough to make her encounters of great interest to the reader. Whether it is tissue regeneration in revenants, zombie reconstruction or helping vampires adjust to their change in circumstances, the sense that things are better for Greta being there shines throughout the narrative. Of course, she is not alone. Edmund is his usual paternal self, though he gets a chance to show how bad he can be, should the situation arise. Family friend and godfather Fastitocalon is back, healthier than before, and now doing the Devil’s work for him. Francis Varney (the vampire, yes – but, as has been said before, nothing like the caricature presented in James Rymer & Thomas Prest’s book) is as complex as he was before, and coincidentally Greta’s love interest. As well as the ones we know, there are other characters that are new. I loved Gervase Brightside and Crepusculus Dammerung, two remedial psychopomps whose prime purpose is to help lost souls pass over. They’re a kinder, gentler, nicer version of Neil Gaiman’s Croup & Vandemar, whose respectful banter reflects their long-time friendship doing a difficult job. They are immediately likeable, and possibly worthy of a series of their own. Much of the entertainment of the novel is not just about the characters, but also the unusual creatures Greta administers care to. Here we meet the rather mouldy European wellmonsters (different to the New World species!), who sit in the bottom of your bathroom basins and look after jewellery, and the faceless, longhaired tricherpetons, who seem to just hug people. As with Strange Practice, it’s clear that Vivian has fun with referencing other work.  In addition to the obvious Dracula, and the already-mentioned Varney the Vampyre, it should perhaps not be a surprise to find that there’s Gaston Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera and Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables in the mix as well, and some nods to other genre culture - Guy Endore’s Werewolf of Paris and M.R. James’ Whistle and I’ll Come to You, for example. Oh, and Patrick McGoohan’s The Prisoner. You don’t have to know these other works to enjoy this book, but those who do will appreciate the effort made. Of the minor niggles, there is much that is similar to Strange Practice – even Greta groans at finding herself stumbling around passageways in the dark again – but it is done with humour and a knowing nod at the implausibility of it all. The villains are a tad pantomime-like, but at the same time there’s a sadness around these characters that make them more than the usual archetype. As much as the bad-guys-and-gals want to belong to vampire society, it is clear pretty early on that they don’t belong and their consequent demise (do you really expect anything else?) is justifiable. Reading this book from the start is rather like the administration of a medical cure of its own. It is so refreshing and pleasant, though not sickly so. I find that it is rare these days for a seasoned old cynic like myself to find a book that just feels like a huge warm hug, that makes you so pleased to be reading it that you are sorry to see it finish. And yet, the Greta van Helsing series so far is just that: books full of warmth, with characters that you love and weird creatures that you get to love. And this one also has Paris. It’s almost enough to melt the heart of a jaded reviewer… In summary, reading Dreadful Company is like spending time with old friends – far from “Dreadful”, in fact. I absolutely loved it – I think that this is my favourite Urban Fantasy series since I first discovered The Dresden Files. Read the first book if you haven’t already – but I’m sure that you will want to read this one straightaway afterwards if you can.  Dreadful Company is a triumph.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Adri Joy

    Dreadful Company builds on the strengths of the first volume in the series, delivering another solid urban fantasy adventure. Dreadful Company is the second novel from Vivian Shaw in the Dr Greta Helsing series, following last year's Strange Practice. Readers who follow a fair bit of fanfiction may have already come across Shaw's works in the Homestuck, the MCU and Star Wars fandoms as coldhope. This background puts Shaw in a strong position to bring some of the most interesting aspects of transf Dreadful Company builds on the strengths of the first volume in the series, delivering another solid urban fantasy adventure. Dreadful Company is the second novel from Vivian Shaw in the Dr Greta Helsing series, following last year's Strange Practice. Readers who follow a fair bit of fanfiction may have already come across Shaw's works in the Homestuck, the MCU and Star Wars fandoms as coldhope. This background puts Shaw in a strong position to bring some of the most interesting aspects of transformative fiction to this original series, which takes such venerable members of the vampire canon as Lord Ruthven and Varney the Vampyre, and effectively sets them in a modern AU, showcasing them in a new environment without needing to focus on their process of adaptation. As her surname indicates, Greta is a descendent of Abraham Van Helsing -- though the family dropped the "Van" a while back -- and she's inherited the family business, but it's not the one you'd think: instead, she runs a medical practice dealing with the problems of London's supernatural denizens. Greta has built a strong community with the undead of London, and most of the undead cast have happily established their niche in 21st century London, and are strongly invested in protecting it against those who threaten it in any way. Dreadful Company picks up the narrative some time after the end of Strange Practice, with Greta and Ruthven on a visit to Paris as Greta prepares to present a paper at a supernatural medical conference. Before they get there, however, there's time to visit the opera and get in their contractually required Phantom references. To Greta's surprise, while there's no ghostly apparition in Box 5, there is a creepy vampire in need of a haircut staring at her from another of the theatre's boxes. Said vampire quickly makes his terrible aesthetic and coven management skills - and his vendetta against Ruthven - into Greta's problem by abducting her to his lair in the conveniently atmospheric catacombs of Paris, where she comes into contact with the rest of his terribly-dressed coven and the mess they have made of 1) the city, 2) themselves and 3) the fabric of reality. Read the full review at: http://www.nerds-feather.com/2018/07/...

  16. 5 out of 5

    David Thalenberg

    I am enamoured I love this world of cute monsters, demonic corporate structures, vampires who believe in their own worst stereotypes, and a dedicated doctor of really really alternative medicine. Please continue as long as you are able, and thank you.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ziggy Nixon

    4+ stars! Another exceptional read from Vivian Shaw! I'm not one to generally go along with the sort of Hollywood-esque praise (you know: love love kiss kiss, let's do lunch DAH-ling) that is oft included in the small-case, roman-numeraled pages of new books. However, I am going to borrow some comments describing 'Strange Practice' that work just as well for 'Dreadful Company', allowing for the whole time-space continuum bits that I'm no doubt violating for doing so! 'Dreadful Company' is indeed 4+ stars! Another exceptional read from Vivian Shaw! I'm not one to generally go along with the sort of Hollywood-esque praise (you know: love love kiss kiss, let's do lunch DAH-ling) that is oft included in the small-case, roman-numeraled pages of new books. However, I am going to borrow some comments describing 'Strange Practice' that work just as well for 'Dreadful Company', allowing for the whole time-space continuum bits that I'm no doubt violating for doing so! 'Dreadful Company' is indeed a 'joy to read' and 'an exceptional and delightful' follow-up Shaw's first book (seriously, how is it she is just starting on this career?). And I can only echo that it is 'written with elegance, wit and compassion!' The tension, the passion and the characterizations that the author creates or continues as the case may be are a sheer pleasure to experience! To be just a little more crude about the situation: Dr. Greta Helsing and her pals kick ass! Just as with the first book, the plot is balanced with a good dose of humour, more than a dollop of horror and leaves the reader cheering for the heroes no matter their particular living or unliving status! And the fact that this second book takes us to my favourite city, namely Paris (sorry London) makes it all the more thrilling knowing I having stepped or supped or goodness knows what exactly where so much of the action happens! Simplement magnifique! Though I had not joined Goodreads when I read the first book last year, I will repeat what I told my friends in other forums at that time: for the first time since the passing of the immortal Sir Terry Pratchett, I feel an author really knows how to treat all the creations of our imagination. Vampires (and vampyres) have real needs and concerns as do demons, ghouls, werecreatures, zombies, ghosts, mummies and more! If this keeps up - and the blurb about the upcoming third volume only raises my interest in extremus - she will prove to be a worthy successor in that regard indeed. I COMMAND THEE MORTALS: READ THESE BOOKS!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    Greta Helsing, doctor to the supernatural, is kidnapped by a coven of vampires while attending a medical conference in Paris. I very much enjoyed the first book in this series but this sequel disappointed me somewhat. I wanted to spend more time with Greta and her medical practice in London and with her friends. While most of Greta's friends come with her to Paris, she spends nearly all of this novel as a prisoner or attempting to escape. There's very little on the medical end. I've read a lot of Greta Helsing, doctor to the supernatural, is kidnapped by a coven of vampires while attending a medical conference in Paris. I very much enjoyed the first book in this series but this sequel disappointed me somewhat. I wanted to spend more time with Greta and her medical practice in London and with her friends. While most of Greta's friends come with her to Paris, she spends nearly all of this novel as a prisoner or attempting to escape. There's very little on the medical end. I've read a lot of urban fantasy; I want more of what makes this series different. The author throws in too many point of views - Corvin, the main bad guy vampire, was too over the top and I didn't need to see any of the book through his eyes. I think the portions of Corvin's second-in-command and the two psychopomps could have been decreased. This would have made the book tighter and about a hundred pages shorter. I liked reading this, but I would put it down at portions and not feel a real urge to pick it up. The third book is apparently Greta visiting a health spa for mummies in another country so I'm a little leery of it. I'll still give it a try but please Vivian Shaw - more medicine!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Yaaresse

    Oh, that was just a ridiculous amount of fun. With the first book of this series, there was an awkward getting-to-know-you phase that one had to get through in order to get to the story. Shaw's writing seems sharper and more confident this time around, and she's figured out how to introduce the premise to any newcomers without boring those of us who read the first book in the series. She relentlessly pokes fun at undead trope -- nearly choked on my coffee at the first (snide) reference to body g Oh, that was just a ridiculous amount of fun. With the first book of this series, there was an awkward getting-to-know-you phase that one had to get through in order to get to the story. Shaw's writing seems sharper and more confident this time around, and she's figured out how to introduce the premise to any newcomers without boring those of us who read the first book in the series. She relentlessly pokes fun at undead trope -- nearly choked on my coffee at the first (snide) reference to body glitter -- and works in some nods to classic books and movies as well as 90s culture. Once in a while it was a little heavy-handed, but still fun. (And given this series will likely have many readers who won't remember the 90s beyond faint images of their playpen or Rugrats, then she is probably right to overemphasize some of the things she did.) We have a new pretty-boy angst-ridden vamp to entertain us. I'm not quite sure about Grisaille yet. His conflict resolution was a bit abrupt, but I think he's going to turn out to be more interesting and convincing as the series continues. And I hope it does continue.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lucille

    I was going to rate this 3 stars because while I enjoyed it I didn't loved it as much as Strange Practice. But still in the end it ended up being another hit mainly thanks to the great cast of characters. While Strange Practice had the characters almost always together and working to solve a mystery, here we see Greta more often alone or away from her friends for more than half of the book, and we have pov from new characters and not so much of the ones from the first book. Some from the 1st are I was going to rate this 3 stars because while I enjoyed it I didn't loved it as much as Strange Practice. But still in the end it ended up being another hit mainly thanks to the great cast of characters. While Strange Practice had the characters almost always together and working to solve a mystery, here we see Greta more often alone or away from her friends for more than half of the book, and we have pov from new characters and not so much of the ones from the first book. Some from the 1st aren't even there anymore. Still, the way everyone comes together and the strong found family themes made this awesome in the end. I really like the way Vivian Shaw uses Paris and some landmarks that are not the ones always used when Paris is the setting (here with the Sorbonne, Opera Garnier, catacombs, cemeteries...) Ghosts, vampires, little furry monsters... Greta is still hard at work at uncovering mysteries and being the best monster doctor out there!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rosemary

    Seriously delightful second book in this series takes our heroine to Paris and a certain Opera House -- that one, the one with the chandelier -- as well as into lots and lots of underground tunnels. Because it is Paris and Helsing, there's catacombs, vampires (dreadful and nice), vampyre (nice and conflicted), werewolf (très charmant in bipedal as well as quadrupedal form), well monsters (adorable and usefully bioluminescent), and a pair of traveling psychopomps. In short, the usual sort of supe Seriously delightful second book in this series takes our heroine to Paris and a certain Opera House -- that one, the one with the chandelier -- as well as into lots and lots of underground tunnels. Because it is Paris and Helsing, there's catacombs, vampires (dreadful and nice), vampyre (nice and conflicted), werewolf (très charmant in bipedal as well as quadrupedal form), well monsters (adorable and usefully bioluminescent), and a pair of traveling psychopomps. In short, the usual sort of supernatural tourists and residents one would expect in the City of Lights. Unplug, settle into an armchair, grab that steaming cup of tea, add a perfectly baked croissant, and enjoy.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ian Cann

    More fun than a boisterous puffin having an pint and an ice cream with a chocolate flake in it, Dreadful Company continues Greta Helsing's adventures in Paris this time, widening her world and gang of friends at the same time. The plot moves at a fine though not over-rushed pace and there's real warmth and humour to the proceedings as Greta and her chums are definitely people and fiends I'd like to spend time with. This is proper urban fantasy of the first water and second coffee, definitely for More fun than a boisterous puffin having an pint and an ice cream with a chocolate flake in it, Dreadful Company continues Greta Helsing's adventures in Paris this time, widening her world and gang of friends at the same time. The plot moves at a fine though not over-rushed pace and there's real warmth and humour to the proceedings as Greta and her chums are definitely people and fiends I'd like to spend time with. This is proper urban fantasy of the first water and second coffee, definitely for fans of writers like Ben Aaronovich and James Bennett - building and improving on A Strange Practice and I'm deathly keen to read Grave Importance.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tony

    A very satisfying follow-up to Strange Practice, the second in the Dr. Greta Helsing series takes place in Paris. Shaw's writing is economical, keeping the action brisk while also managing to fit in plenty of literary and cultural references. The complex homage to Phantom of the Opera is particularly impressive. It makes me want to research more about the famous catacombs of Paris. On the surface, this may look like a lot of urban fantasy/mystery/romance hybrids, but this is definitely the cream A very satisfying follow-up to Strange Practice, the second in the Dr. Greta Helsing series takes place in Paris. Shaw's writing is economical, keeping the action brisk while also managing to fit in plenty of literary and cultural references. The complex homage to Phantom of the Opera is particularly impressive. It makes me want to research more about the famous catacombs of Paris. On the surface, this may look like a lot of urban fantasy/mystery/romance hybrids, but this is definitely the cream of the crop.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kiwi Carlisle

    I loved this book. I would happily move into the world Vivian Shaw’s constructed for us if I had any useful skills to offer. Once again, she delightfully mixes references from pop culture with concepts from heavy old classics of nineteenth century horror fiction that can still freeze an imaginative reader’s blood. Plus she throws in hellphones, Polari, chocolate croissants, unlikely lovers, and whatever else it takes to keep me hooked. The next novel in the series cannot possibly arrive too soon I loved this book. I would happily move into the world Vivian Shaw’s constructed for us if I had any useful skills to offer. Once again, she delightfully mixes references from pop culture with concepts from heavy old classics of nineteenth century horror fiction that can still freeze an imaginative reader’s blood. Plus she throws in hellphones, Polari, chocolate croissants, unlikely lovers, and whatever else it takes to keep me hooked. The next novel in the series cannot possibly arrive too soon for my taste.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Abby

    A great sequel to Strange Practice. Greta proved that she is very resourceful and capable of accomplishing things on her own. I also loved the relationship growth between her and Varney. Too many authors have their MC stuck in relationship limbo for too long, but Shaw has definitely avoided that trope. Honestly my favorite character throughout the whole book was Grisaille. His growth as an individual was done so well! I really, really hope that he shows up in more books. Overall, this was a fun A great sequel to Strange Practice. Greta proved that she is very resourceful and capable of accomplishing things on her own. I also loved the relationship growth between her and Varney. Too many authors have their MC stuck in relationship limbo for too long, but Shaw has definitely avoided that trope. Honestly my favorite character throughout the whole book was Grisaille. His growth as an individual was done so well! I really, really hope that he shows up in more books. Overall, this was a fun and enjoyable read that left me really excited that there will be more to come.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    For some reason my mind kept seeing this as not taking place in a contemporary setting, so every once in a while I would be thrown by something said or done that was distinctly modern. But that's my own deal, not the author's fault. I didn't find this installment quite as charming as the first, but I'll keep on with this series.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sandradine

    This was delightful to read! I'm thrilled that it's even better than the previous book. The characters have more "flesh", the wit is fantastic and the good feelings you get at the end is endearing so now it's become one of my favorite paranormal series. Oh yes, Paris will have to be revisited with a new perspective!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Michele

    Dear gods, I love Greta Helsing so, SO much!! I adore her compassion for the 'monsters' she encounters - she treats everyone, vampires, demons, ghouls, etc. with such respect and empathy. Even when she's kidnapped by the lieutenant of the Parisian coven, she has the time and patience to talk kindly with the newly-turned vampire, Emily. And she saves the life of one of the coven vampires when she could've just left him to die. Greta's unfailingly kind, compassionate, and sympathetic, and I love t Dear gods, I love Greta Helsing so, SO much!! I adore her compassion for the 'monsters' she encounters - she treats everyone, vampires, demons, ghouls, etc. with such respect and empathy. Even when she's kidnapped by the lieutenant of the Parisian coven, she has the time and patience to talk kindly with the newly-turned vampire, Emily. And she saves the life of one of the coven vampires when she could've just left him to die. Greta's unfailingly kind, compassionate, and sympathetic, and I love that about her so much! And I'm overjoyed that there's going to be a third book in this series!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kat Ficalora

    So when exactly is Grave Importance coming out?! Vivian Shaw has done it again. I'll admit, as excited as I was for this sequel, I was terrified it wouldn't hold a candle to the first. It seems like all sequels are prone to the "sophomore slump", but I couldn't be more pleased with how Dreadful Company turned out. New (well developed) characters blended seamlessly with the old. Two stories met perfectly, right in time for a fantastical turning point and falling action. If Vivian Shaw ever feels l So when exactly is Grave Importance coming out?! Vivian Shaw has done it again. I'll admit, as excited as I was for this sequel, I was terrified it wouldn't hold a candle to the first. It seems like all sequels are prone to the "sophomore slump", but I couldn't be more pleased with how Dreadful Company turned out. New (well developed) characters blended seamlessly with the old. Two stories met perfectly, right in time for a fantastical turning point and falling action. If Vivian Shaw ever feels like writing an 800 page adventure, I'm down for it.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    This is the second in a fun series. It reminds me a lot of Penny Dreadful -(TV series) only not so scary and creepy. But it brings together different 'historical' vampires, demons, etc. -all at the same time. Lots of fun.

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