Tag Archives: steampunk

A Study in Darkness by Emma Jane Holloway #review

cover33053-medium

Steam Punk.

I have heard alot about it, but have tended to avoid it.

The idea of mixing Victorian sensibilities with fantastical steam powered pseudo-modern gadgetry and a dash of magic seemed to be trying too hard. I have picked up and put back several of the tomes over the years without feeling the need to sit down and dig in.

SO – this is the first Steam Punk novel I have actually read.

And it was’t bad.

Jane Holloway writes an intriguing tale.

Because this was the second book in a series it took me a bit to feel like I really had a grasp on the world and how it works. Exactly how steam is supposed to do everything it somehow does is still a mystery to me. For the sake of the story I was able to suspend most of my questions and just accept it though.

The story somewhat centers around the niece of Sherlock Holmes, Evelina, and her friends. Evelina is a very progressive modern girl who happens to be able to use magic. Her friend Imogen is having lucid nightmares that may be tied to a string of Jack the Ripperish murders. Nick is a Gypsy pirate who also possess magical powers and happens to have an elemental spirit to control his airship.

From what I can tell this is a well thought out series. This second book could stand alone as a story but obviously works within the larger narrative as well.

I felt the opening dragged a little and was a tad confusing – but if one has read the first book that might not be a problem.

It was engaging and I might be tempted to read the next in the series – but I’m still on the fence about completely embracing the whole steam-punk world.

I was provided a gratis copy for the purpose of review.

 

The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa

Usually I really hate starting a series in the middle or anywhere other than with the first book, so it was with a bit of trepidation that I started The Lost Prince. This is book 5 in a series. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this did not keep me from enjoying the book at all.

Julie Kagawa does a wonderful job creating a story that can stand on its own, but still feels like it belongs in a larger whole. That is difficult to do. Perhaps it was made easier because this book starts the story of a different character than the other 4 books. Whatever it is – it works.

There have been a multitude of faerie (fairy) books in the last few years – some of them have been really great – the majority have been rather weak. It is hard to take was is essentially a well-known concept that everyone has some knowledge of (though very few actually know any detail about) and make it fresh and new without bastardizing it. Kagawa has managed to do just that.

Ethan is an imminently relatable character. Yes he is supposed to be a loner, outsider and all of that – but the reasons why he is such are what make him someone we all can relate to. He has a deep compassion and goodness that speaks to anyone. And the difficulty fitting in and worry about hurting others is something most have felt.

The faerie worlds created seem vivid and real. I would like to know more about them and the history and such, but I understand that is one of the problems coming into a series anywhere other than the first. I will just have to go back and read the rest of the books to get my backstory. Which is as it should be.

The prose of the book is excellent. It has a very modern feel and moves very quickly. The new takes on some familiar characters is fun and quirky. Overall the entire book has a fresh feel with a hint of darkness. It contains elements of some of the most popular genres without being cookie cutter. There are hints of steampunk and vampire, but on the whole it is a unique and fully created world.

 

I was provided a copy of the book for review.