Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.
This book is totally as fun as it sounds--a steampunk, Victorian-era, uneasy crime-solving partnership between awkward analytical Mina Holmes, niece of Sherlock, and impetuous vampire-slaying Evaline Stoker, half sister to Bram. It’s observation, deduction, and carefully laid plans vs. strength, speed, and plunging right on in when there’s trouble.
Irene Adler herself, otherwise known as The Woman, brought these two together at the request of Alexandra, Princess of Wales and wife of Queen Victoria’s son Prince Edward. Her Royal Highness desires that the young women investigate the disappearances and deaths of several society girls. Both Mina and Evaline are eager to prove their prowess, Mina because as a female she hasn’t been given many opportunities to employ the skills she’s honed, and Evaline because it’s hard to find vampires these days, and the one time she had the chance to show herself worthy of her slaying ancestors . . . well, that’s better left unsaid.
Their London is layered with multi-leveled walkways connected by coin-driven mechanical lifts and skyscrapers so tall they they are topped with large balloons acting as air anchors. It quickly becomes clear that Egyptian artifacts are at the heart of the investigation, and chasing leads sends Mina and Evaline to society salons, opium dens, backstreet taverns, and the British Museum. Along the way they meet several interesting males, including a sizable Scotland Yard Detective who blasts around London astride a gravity-defying steamcycle, a cheeky, darkly appealing Cockney pickpocket who keeps appearing when there’s a crisis and who knows more than he’s willing to tell, and an earnest, cell phone toting young man from our own era who’s unwillingly and inexplicably time-traveled back into the heart of the mystery.
The plot races along, veering from crisis to crisis, and the writing is bright and witty, capturing the book’s alternate Victorian reality. This is the first of a series, and I will definitely be following these two young women on their next adventure.