Super powered beings? Good. Victorian England? Good. Clever writing and interesting ideas. Good. There's a formula here for a good story and just the type I like to read. Still, can too much of a good thing turn out to be a bad thing or does this only guarantee greatness? Let's begin.
Evelyn Windum is very bored with her life in society and the endless barrage of unsavory suitors, boring parties, and her mother's constant fussing in regards to Evelyn's "reputation". Her only joy is that she has her sister, Rose, with her for most of the dreadfully boring season. But when her sister suddenly goes missing, Evelyn throws propriety and reputation out the door in order to find her. The only souls willing to help her are the enigmatic "master detective" Mr. Kent, and the brooding Mr. Braddock, who believes that Evelyn and her sister possess some kind of extraordinary powers. Though she's skeptical at first, Evelyn soon discovers that Mr. Braddock's theory is not only accurate, but opens her eyes to a world lying just beneath the surface that she'd never encountered before.
Initially, I was a bit worried about Evelyn as a character. I feared her sarcasm and nonchalance would lead her into the "selfish, tragic Mary-Sue who complains about everything and hardly does any of the work but still gets the credit" territory. Thankfully, I was completely wrong. While she is sarcastic, she is successfully so and actually got some good laughs out of me while I was reading this. And while her modern (perhaps too modern) mentality about Victorian society was brought up, it wasn't really focused on that much. And, wonderfully, she is proactive in this book. She does things, she fights, she helps others even if she isn't sure she can. She tries her best, even if she doesn't think she can do it. When something bad happens, she doesn't let it get to her. Her parents don't want to help her? Fine, she'll just leave without their permission. She's not allowed to stay in someone's house. Okay, then, I'll just find an inn. She's a strong character, without being cartoonishly silly or melodramatic and I appreciated that about her.
This was also a pretty fun book, even if it was a bit straightforward. It sticks pretty closely to a three act structure, so you can kind of figure out where it goes, even if you can't predict exactly what will happen. The plot is simple: solve the mystery. But there's definite love in this book, and I'm not talking about the relationships between the characters. A lot of thought went into this story, into the characters, the setting, and the mystery and so all the elements come together, even if it sticks to a formula that we're pretty familiar with. Each character was full of life and the powers were an interesting mix. Sometimes you couldn't even tell if what a person could do was a power or if it was just an exceptionally skilled person. It's a neat little touch and I liked that.
The only real problems I have is, once again, the inclusion of the love triangle. Evelyn, for her part, makes it clear that her priorities are on her sister and she's not interested in romance at the moment, but that doesn't stop Kent and Braddock from getting into these really ridiculous cock-fights that just make you want to slap yourself in the forehead and roll your eyes. They're just shoved into theses arm-candy stereotypes but, thankfully, they do have personalities that develop them a bit more than you might find elsewhere. Kent is really funny and charismatic and Braddock has some good reasons for his brooding and deals with a power that is no benefit to him and makes him harmful to others. I didn't dislike either of them, thankfully. I didn't wish ill on anyone, so that's something. The villain of the book, while formidable, didn't leave that much of an impact either. We don't see him very often and, when he did show up, he just kind of came off as the mad-scientist-with-superiority-complex type that we see a lot. Other than those two things, I did have fun with this book and think anyone with an interest in it would find it amusing.
A fun, quick, and interesting read. Good characters, an easy to follow story, and great humor and dialogue make for a nice, chill read. If you have an interest in it, defiantly give it a shot because, in my opinion it is worth your money at your local bookstore.
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