Author: Emma Jane Holloway
Published: September 24th 2013 by Del Rey
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Description: Evelina Cooper, niece of Sherlock Holmes, is ready for her first London Season - except for a murderer, missing automatons, a sorcerer, and a talking mouse. In a Victorian era ruled by a ruthless steam baron council, mechanical power is the real monarch, and sorcery the demon enemy of the empire. Evelina has secretly mastered a coveted weapon - magic that can run machines. Should she trust the handsome, clever rake who speeds her breath, or the dashing trick rider who would dare anything she would ask?
I Give This ...
I knew this one was a risk for me. I don't have the best track record when it comes to steampunk. But the cover and description caught me eye and I admit I was curious at how Sherlock Holmes might play into this.
I really liked Evelina. She has an extremely unique history. Her mother was aristocratic but feel in love with a commoner. She was raised in the circus. Her grandmother brings her back into society upon her mother's death. I love that she acknowledges that she really has no place among them but it doesn't seem to bother her at all. The only thing really seems to bother her is not being able to fully participate in The Season along side her best friend. Plus, she is a women with a brain. Something that was frowned upon in this day.
It doesn't take long for our story to develop. One of the servants is murdered in the parlor room of her best friends house. Evelina is quickly brought to the scene because she's developed a reputation among the household as someone who knows exactly what to do. But, this case might be to much for Evelina. There are more people involved that she could ever imagine. Even her famous Uncle Sherlock is pulled into the case. Between the two of them, they manage to unlock most of the secrets hidden behind many doors.
Evelina must decide who to trust and who might be hiding things. In the end, she must also decide if she wants to divulge the secrets of the family she has come to love. An interesting blend of magic, steampunk, and historical fiction. I enjoyed the characters immensely. But, I found the story could be confusing. Or course in case this big, there are many players. But, I had a hard time keeping track of who was who. The steampunk elements were ok, and not overly distracting to the storyline. My biggest complaint was that the story really dragged in places. And with a book at 500+ pages, that's probably not a good thing. I found myself skimming passages and the then rereading certain details.
I make a case by case decision on whether to read the next book in the series when I give a 3 rating. This time around, I want to know more about our characters. Evelina and Sherlock are great. Plus, there's an interesting love triangle building here.