Book Review: Sassy Steampunk–A Study in Silks, A Study in Darkness, A Study in Ashes

Baskerville Affair by Emma Jane Holloway

Evie Cooper is a not quite fashionable young girl living in London in the midst of the Steam Barons Rule.

Part Steampunk, Part Revolution, Part Mystery this book follows the adventures of Evie Cooper and her closest friends during a tumulteous Time.

“You have to decide that for yourself” Variations of this line are put forward by characters of all stripes indicating, strongly, that who you are depends highly on who  you decide to be and no one can really tell you how that is going to work out for you….this could be the theme song of the entire book–making me a very happy Katy.

Things I liked about this book

1. Character development (everyone develops, everyone)

2. Fleshed out characters (good and evil more often turn to gray, and love is highly valued)

3. Love Triangles…but they are relevant to the plot

4. London: Victorian Age

5. Steam Punk

6. If you’ve read Holmes (YAY) you get Lotsa extra plot points!

7. Class Revolution: This book takes on income differences and revolution in an interesting way (causing some fun 99% thoughts), down with the Steam Barons….

Things to note: The main character is a little annoying at times (she is definitely a teenager when compared to characters such as Mary Russell) and the plot is not strong on the mystery and be warned there is a love triangle, however the strong characters of which there are many who we get to know and see develop and the play with family dynamics are awesome. And the fact that no one is condemned to be evil if they choose not to be is great (I’m a sucker for redemption) Of course I always love Victorian era women, because if they are awesome by today’s standards they are even more awesome for stepping out in a restrictive age…I love me a rebellious woman

And I hope there is another trilogy exploring this underworld with WAY more Holmes in it….

Study in Silks

Book Review: “Dead Ever After” by Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse Series)

In honor of this being the last book in the series, I did what I always do with good series, I reread the entire series before starting on the final book…(I’m a rereader)

(Note, trying to avoid spoilers)

The ending is good–there is still a lot of mystery-type-plot…a lot of loose ends are tied up and there is a definite progression of characters (esp. Sookie Stackhouse). Here is the deal though, I don’t think of books individually (esp if they are about the same character)…they are just HUGE chapters to the ongoing story.

As my husband says, the ending is key…because it reflects on the WHOLE (not because it is an important piece)..see I do book reviews like I do my theology (w)holistically,

ps wholistically should totally have a w on it, it helps the meaning…

Anyway…Here is what I think what makes the Sookie Stackhouse series so good.

1. It explains why so many deaths happen in a dinky little town…my mom says she likes mysteries but after a while its hard to buy that so many murders are happening in the middle of nowhere, vampires, werewolves and shapshifters help

2. It struggles with the questions of humanity (what does it mean to be human? Why am I here?) through the contrast and comparison with the supernatural

3. It deals with Bigotry–big time… it deals with real and perceived differences, prejudices and how even other groups can be bigots (homophobic shapeshifters anyone?)

4. It shows growth…again I know I said this, but the only way you can sustain an ongoing series is to have the characters grow–now Sookie Stackhouse sleeps around a little too much for my taste, but I think that she is sleeping around because she is searching for some self-definition, and in the end, she has learned a lot, not just about guys but relationships, friendships and herself. There is a little bit of obsessing about looks, manners, appearances etc. but I think that is the reality of Sookie’s life (some of it being the culture of a small town, etc)…and she doesn’t frustrate me too much with these hang ups….

I recommend as a fantasy and mystery fan and as a feminist

Series List

Better Off Dead, Living Dead in Dallas, Club Dead, Dead to the World, Dead as a Doornail, Definitely Dead, All Together Dead, From Dead to Worse, Dead and one, Dead in the Family, Dead Reckoning, Deadlocked, Dead Ever After

Another Vampire Review Here

Theology of Vampire Here

(PS I did watch the first couple of seasons of True Blood, but it was a little too drug obsessed for my taste, not to say that it wasn’t good the focus just seemed to be different…………..)

Book Review: The Gates of Sleep by Mercedes Lackey

Marina is sent away to live with her godparents as a baby–she doesn’t really know why, but she does know that when her parents die and she is forced to live with her aunt, something is wrong.

Review: I liked this book even more than the first one. . I think part of this may be because Lackey was able to further develop the world of elemental magic. It also may be because the love interest was still a minor note in the story but somehow it seemed to be more appropriately placed (I think the first one vacillated between wanting to give a fuller account of the romance and yet not giving me enough to stay interested).

Very enjoyable read, again with strong heroine and an interesting world.

Book Review: The Serpent’s Shadow by Mercedes Lackey

 

Synopsis: Half-Indian Maya Witherspoon has returned to England, but that’s not all, she has returned as a doctor, but that’s not all, she is also a strong magician.

Review: Very Strong Female Character–think Victorian Era Romance with a strong female. Also this is a very different look at Snow White! (However if you are in it for the fairy tale, that’s really a minor aspect). This is some of Mercedes Lackey’s best writing. There is a touch of mystery too (although it isn’t in any real sense a mystery). Also, a good struggle between her Eastern and Western heritage.

Strongly recommend!

Books you may also like: Patricia C. Wrede Mairelon the Magician (or the compilation which were released as A Matter of Magic or Magic and Malice). Snow White and Rose Red and The Enchanted Chocolate Pot (or Sorcery and Cecilia). Trying to think of other Victorian (non-steampunk, although those are great too) magic series….might add a comment about it later

Review “The Cadet of Tildor” by Alex Liddell

The Cadet of Tildor

Synopsis: In contrast to some heroines who’s self-assurance manifests primarily as  vanity (cough, cough Throne of Glass), this heroine Renee is self-determined, independent and likable. She fights the cause of a Cadet (kind of a musketeer for the King) because she believes in fighting evil, and she strives to figure out whether the cadets are the way to do that….

Review: The mysterious rogue of a teacher (Savoy) is not as fascinating to me as I’d like, but overall the plot was well put together, the characters interacted well, and there was some growth in the main character (HOORAY). I think the sequel is fairly promising, and the main character def. makes this novel worth the read–esp. as a strong female character….

http://www.amazon.com/The-Cadet-Tildor-Alex-Lidell/dp/0803736819/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1360620478&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=Review+%22The+Cadet+of+Tildor%22+by+Alex+Liddell