Steampunk, Pocket Star, available as e-book
The Source: review copy from NetGalley
The Grade: C-
In a steampunk version of America that lost the Revolutionary War, Charmian (Kit) Kittredge makes her living investigating magic crimes and exposing the frauds behind them. While Kit tries to avoid the nobs of high society, as the proprietor of Disenchanted & Co. she follows mysteries wherever they lead.
Lady Diana Walsh calls on Kit to investigate and dispel the curse she believes responsible for carving hateful words into her own flesh as she sleeps. While Kit doesn’t believe in magic herself, she can’t refuse to help a woman subjected nightly to such vicious assaults. As Kit investigates the Walsh family, she becomes convinced that the attacks on Diana are part of a larger, more ominous plot—one that may involve the lady’s obnoxious husband.
Sleuthing in the city of Rumsen is difficult enough, but soon Kit must also skirt the unwanted attentions of nefarious deathmage Lucien Dredmore and the unwelcome scrutiny of police Chief Inspector Thomas Doyle. Unwilling to surrender to either man’s passion for her, Kit struggles to remain independent as she draws closer to the heart of the mystery. Yet as she learns the truth behind her ladyship’s curse, Kit also uncovers a massive conspiracy that promises to ruin her life—and turn Rumsen into a supernatural battleground from which no one will escape aliv
I have wanted to read this book since I first heard about it, so when I saw the ARC on NetGalley, I requested it on the spot. And after reading it, I have mixed feelings.
I liked the world of Toriana. It is Alternative Earth, with magic and steampunk. The Torian culture felt researched. What I appreciated was how all the historical details, and the technological details was woven into the story without slowing it down.
The plot was wellcrafted. I liked how the main mystery developed, and how the twists revealed secrets from Kit’s past. It was interesting to see how Kit navigated the streets of Rumsen, and how she used tricks to get into places she shouldn’t have. Never illegal, just… a bit inconvenient if she was found out. I also liked her sceptic attitude towards magic, and how she didn’t believe in it. Which was a contrast towards most other Torians.
That said, I had one big trouble with this book: I couldn’t connect to Kit. Which is a problem, since the book is told from her POV. A lot of things happened in the book to Kit, but I didn’t care. Most telling is perhaps that the love-hate relationship between her and Dredmore just felt bland to me. Another thing that bugged me was the ending. It was a bit… abrupt. Which made me a bit pissed off, although it say Part 1 on the cover. But I read that as part one of the series, not part 1 of the book.