LEAVE IT TO CHANCE. Eleanor “Elle” Chance, that is—the intrepid heroine of this edgy new series that transforms elements of urban fantasy, historical adventure, and paranormal romance into pure storytelling gold.
In a Golden Age where spark reactors power the airways, and creatures of Light and Shadow walk openly among us, a deadly game of Alchemists and Warlocks has begun.
When an unusual cargo drags airship-pilot Elle Chance into the affairs of the mysterious Mr. Marsh, she must confront her destiny and do everything in her power to stop the Alchemists from unleashing a magical apocalypse.
I received an advance reader copy of this book through NetGalley.
I've been reading a lot of steampunk, and have been disappointed by a number of titles. Some of them think throwing in a few airships and goggles is all the genre needs. This one hits the steampunk vibe just right; it's dark, it utilizes the technology, and it features a smart and savvy heroine who struggles against the expectations of propriety for a woman in her time. It's set in the Belle Epoch, only a few years into the 20th century, and jets all over Europe. The settings are fully realized, and it felt like Schwarz really did her research.
I confess, the book didn't grab me right away. It offered many curious elements in the first few chapters, such as absinthe fairies, but Elle as a heroine had to grow on me. For me, the book really picked up after she returned to England and endured several interesting complications there. Mr. Marsh didn't pique my curiosity at first, either, but his character grew in pleasant and complicated ways. The romantic element is gentle. Both characters grow together and grow up, but it's not a smooshy-face-kissy type of romance--good!
One of the things I liked best about the book was how it melded steampunk and magic on Earth. It's the sort of angle I enjoy in my own writing, and it was refreshing to see Schwarz's take on the subject.
In all, a good read, and I'd be curious to read on in the series.