On a whim–still whittling down that TBR list, don’t you know–I picked this one out of the list. Well, actually, a whim and Carly’s review. She’s often my book-twin in the fantasy world:
What stands out here is a fantasy setting that is an action-focused plot structured like a police procedural. A woman and a man sharing lead, sharing narrative, and yet–this is remarkable here–not about to fall in love. I hope I don’t regret those words later. There are complex back stories for both characters that eventually get somewhat fleshed out. It’s one of the more interesting things about this tale, the feeling that both characters have lived through some significant personal events, particularly Satrine, the woman. And can we just talk about the woman a minute? A street rat grown up, undercover job in Intelligence, then married with kids and now a disabled husband. Seriously, sadly, unique in fantasy-land. But she is as tough as nails, and I believe both her rough beginning, passion for the job, and love for her family. I also like how feminist issues are woven into this story, although I’d probably question the realism of the character in that context. We’ll see. First book in the series and all that.
Writing is above average, with a nice balance between image, dialogue, and action. I’d say the most notable deficits seem to be in pacing/plotting. Most of the story takes place in three days, which is borderline insane. It’s not steam-punk, at this point. It feels like Victorian England-ish (I’m terrible at time periods) with a horse-cart based transportation system, a sewer system in place, and shop economies, along with various magical, secretive mage guilds.
I found the story very absorbing and finished in the same night. Granted, I wasn’t working, but it was that engaging. I’ll be picking up the next. Many thanks to Ms. Carly!