I rather enjoyed my first outing with Lydia Kang (The Impossible Girl), and with a fresh batch of credits burning away in my pockets to spend, I thought it was time to see what else she had on offer and decided to give Opium and Absinthe a go. I’ll admit, after the slow start, I’d begun to wonder if I’d spent my credit wisely, but after sticking with it, the world painted by Kang started to take shape and sucked (no vampire pun intended) me right in.
Set in 1899s high society New York, we follow the story of Tillie Pembroke, a scion of a well-to-do family. Not the favourite daughter by any means, but when her sister shows up murdered, drained of all her blood in a manner that looks very much like from a vampire. Bram Stoker’s novel inspired Tillie to investigate further as the police don’t seem interested in finding who did it.
What follows is the tale of Tillie doggedly trying to find answers to who murdered her sister, against all the wishes of her family and friends, who just want her to drop it and be a well-mannered heiress again.
One thing I found interesting was how easily insanely addictive drugs were thrown about back then. The author is a physician, so it’s easy to believe this is a factual account of how medicine once was. It just boggled the mind at how readily opium and morphine were dispensed and the patients left to administer their own dosages. And when then gets too much, it’s like, “Here, have some heroin instead. It’s good for you. It’s basically cough medicine.”
Narration by Bailey Carr was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I wasn’t much a fan of her male voices, having heard female narrators do better in the past. Not dreadful, but not great either. Production was okay as well, with no obvious errors but a recurring “squeaky” sounding background noise that became a little annoying.
Overall, very glad I stuck with it after the slow opening.