Evil is most assuredly afoot—and Britain's fate rests in the hands of an alluring renegade . . . and a librarian.
These are dark days indeed in Victoria's England. Londoners are vanishing, then reappearing, washing up as corpses on the banks of the Thames, drained of blood and bone. Yet the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences—the Crown's clandestine organization whose bailiwick is the strange and unsettling—will not allow its agents to investigate. Fearless and exceedingly lovely Eliza D. Braun, however, with her bulletproof corset and a disturbing fondness for dynamite, refuses to let the matter rest . . . and she's prepared to drag her timorous new partner, Wellington Books, along with her into the perilous fray.
For a malevolent brotherhood is operating in the deepening London shadows, intent upon the enslavement of all Britons. And Books and Braun—he with his encyclopedic brain and she with her remarkable devices—must get to the twisted roots of a most nefarious plot . . . or see England fall to the Phoenix!
It took me a while to get into this book, even though it started out with a heavy action scene. I think the hardest part was getting into the characters. Books and Braun - likely a play on brains and brawn, I imagine - are good characters, but the way they're presented makes it a bit hard to make an emotional connection with them. It took several chapters before I really came to care for the duo. Also, I felt that Books' trepidation around Braun and her flirtation with him was a bit cliche. I never really felt like the writers did a good job establishing believable reasons for their eventual attraction to one another.
That being said, the storyline was good enough, and I did enjoy reading it. I think there are probably better steampunk novels out there - gailcarriger's Parasol Protectorate series comes to mind - but on the whole, this was entertaining. The second book comes out in May, and I'll most likely pick it up and see what comes next for Agents Books and Braun.
Books completed: 3/50