Peer Review: “The Transmigration of Cora Riley” by Ellie Di Julio

As with most of my peer reviews, Ellie is a friend of mine. I’m coming into this biased, and I got a free ARC of it to read. Plus, it’s the first book I’ve actually written a pull quote for. If you’re interested, it was “Cora Riley is an action-packed urban fantasy, evocative of some of the best moments of Harry Dresden.”

The Transmigration of Cora Riley is an urban fantasy book about Cora Riley, in which… well, the usual stuff that happens in urban fantasy. A relatively mundane person stumbles upon extraordinary circumstances that lead to adventure and danger and really wild things. The quote about pretty well sets you up for the things you can expect to find in the book.

Overall, I enjoyed it. To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t expecting much, but I ended up sincerely enjoying the book. Most of my irritations were elements of personal taste, such as one character (Agent 97) coming across as a bit cheesy at times. He’s part angel, part werewolf, and a secret agent all at once. The story almost accidentally flirts (pun intended) with paranormal romance structure. And yet, near the end the tropes get subverted, and something new happens as a result. Ageny 97 transcends his shoebox of special bits, and the romance becomes subordinate to the main plot. Cora repeatedly came across as a strong character in her own right, and I felt there is respect between the two characters. In the end, the line between “cliche” and “trope” is pretty fine, and individual readers might draw that line differently.

However you want to take the above, know that I ripped through this in a couple of days, which is actually rare for me. In the end I really liked this book, even though the odds were stacked against me liking it as much as I did. If you want to pick it up for yourself, you can get it on Kindle or in print.

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