The first in a dark steampunk-ish themed series that is a fantastical re-telling of the classic Jane Eyre.Original review posted at Layers of Thought.
The first in a dark steampunk-ish themed series that is a fantastical re-telling of the classic Jane Eyre. Only it includes fey, dwarves, magic and a creative twist.
About: Set on the moors of an alternative yet familiar England-like world, Jane Elliot is a victim of a Great War against an illusive and ethereal fey. She is horrifically scarred on one side of her face. Covering it with an iron mask is the only way to prevent it’s dark magic from oozing emotions to everyone around her. Sadly, it’s an affliction common to many who have been injured in the war against the fey.
Inevitably life moves forward after the war, and Jane, in an attempt to avoid being a burden on her soon to be married sister, applies for a job as a governess – to the young daughter of the mysterious Edward Rochart, both who have been afflicted by dealings with the fey.
With the large household located near the forest (a known dwelling of the fey), it becomes apparent that there are comings, goings, and complications within the woods; and that perhaps the members of the Rochart household may have dealings within them. And as Jane falls deeply for the much older Mr. Rochart, she soon suspects that he may hold a key to healing her wound. She also discovers that he has more secrets than she wishes to believe, very much like the original Jane Eyre.
Thoughts:First off, I loved, loved, loved Jane Eyre. It was a rare five star for me. Having read it just several months prior to finishing this book made this re-telling even more fun for me. It felt like I was almost re-reading the original, only with a sparser language and with an added fantastical flair. Tina Connolly has a special way of writing which is very surprising and “retro” in flavor. It’s like a modern version of an old fashioned style which is suitable for a Victorian-like time period and similar to the original Jane Eyre. It was very refreshing. I also loved the setting – an alternative England with its lovely green moors that I too have a special connection to. Lastly, Jane Elliot is a strong female character, like the character Jane Eyre, which has a big appeal for me.
The only negative thing that I thought abound the book is that as I was nearing the end, I felt like it was just not going to be long enough. I was actually slightly nervous about it and kept thinking how the author was going to successfully manage to conclude the story without a “drop off the side of a cliff” ending. Or worse yet and impossible “dangler” which leaves the reader stranded. Happily it does have a satisfying conclusion which makes the book a decent stand alone read. But even better, it doesn’t have to be the end since there is a sequel in the works.
Labeled as young adult by a number of reviewers, I do think it will work better for adults. There are dark themes, some violence, and others which are adult in nature (some that teens may not connect well with). However, with its light romance (no sex) and clean language it will work for teens. Recommended especially for readers who enjoy dark fantasy, evil fey and magic set in a familiar world. I devoured this book and give it a 4-star rating. I’m definitely looking forward to the sequel. ...more
It’s a page-turning, action-packed steampunk murder mystery with even steamier romantic elements. It hasOriginal review posted at Layers of Thought.
It’s a page-turning, action-packed steampunk murder mystery with even steamier romantic elements. It has a feisty lead character so it’s a perfect read for the fans of Gail Carriger – only it’s a bit darker.
About: Petite and feisty redheaded Cherry St. Croix is a bit tarnished. Orphaned at an early age, she is from an upper class family and lives comfortably with a variety of servants in her estate home - albeit as a ward to a never-present male benefactor, since women from this alternative Victorian period cannot own and are considered property. Darker still is that she is addicted to laudanum or opium depending on which is closer at hand; and she is a collector – a hired bounty woman who tracks down the wanted.
As she travels the polluted and sooty underworld of this different sort of London, she is asked to “collect’ a “ripper” who is killing local “sweets” (the most beautiful and desirable prostitutes) and taking their body parts for goodness knows what. It’s in the process of finding this insidious killer that she discovers darker things about her past; and sidesteps two romantic entanglements.
Thoughts: I really liked Cherry, the intelligent, tainted and strong main character who denies the existence of magic and only believes in science. It was also appealing that she is adamant about not wanting to get married, contrary to proper behavior for the time.
Although I really dislike comparing newer novels to wildly popular ones, I would say that this historical-ish novel felt quite similar to Gail Carriger’s Soulless, which I really enjoyed - although Tarnished is darker, less humorous, and has a more realistic setting than Carriger’s books. But like Soulless it includes science and gadgets, along with Victorian fashion and propriety, so it’s a genre-blender mystery story like Soulless.
My only niggle was that I had a slight problem getting into the author’s writing style at first. But I found it became easier after several chapters. And once I did I was completely hooked. I also want to mention that this first book is a cliff hanger, but what better way of starting off a series since it definitely created a desire to read the next in the series, even if I now have to wait.
Highly recommended for those interested in steampunk, historical romance, urban fantasy, murder mysteries, and especially for those who like strong female leads. It’s a 3.5 star read for me. I can’t wait for the second in the series....more
A futuristic science fiction novel with underground “noir-ish” themes, which takes the reader on a journey vOriginal review post at Layers of Thought.
A futuristic science fiction novel with underground “noir-ish” themes, which takes the reader on a journey via internal biological internet connections into an intriguing online world.
Trouble is well known online as one of the best and most notorious “crackers”. She is a future version of a hacker, where cracking is breaking through IC(E) – the acronym for the complex security systems which simulate actual ice. Intriguingly, web users have connections to the web via “dollie ports” and “brain worms” giving a “virtual reality” experience to being online, where one smells color.
A story set in a dystopian US where things have gone environmentally sour, the beaches are so polluted that visiting them is toxic. Political factions have set in place laws which make “cracking” illegal and dangerous. As the stakes become higher, Trouble disappears in an effort to protect herself.
What brings her out of hiding is that someone is using her name. Not happy (neither are some significant powers that be), she emerges to set things right. As Trouble lives up to her name - she and her friends have an interesting and not entirely safe romp into an online and real-world futuristic adventure.
Trouble and Her Friends is cyberpunk. It is a subgenre which is characterized by a high tech dystopian environment with characters that are of marginal class standing. It is also said to have a “noir-ish” feel. Which are perfect descriptions for this science fiction novel.
Melissa Scott uses many intriguing science fiction concepts - for example the “dollie ports” and “brain worms” which actually hook the user up to the net through implants into the body. Beyond the nerdy bits she also has included romance (lgbt), virtual sex (nicely done), and the experience of traveling the net via internally hard wired brain connection with some excellent results.
I could not imagine a writer being able to tell you about a virtual web experience as it occurs in Trouble’s world. But she does – and very well at that. Scott uses a technique that toggles between real world and internet experiences, using italicized letters for the virtual world travels and normal text for the real world experience.
Despite the description, the book is very accessible and is actually a mystery thriller set in a darker future time. There are strong female characters (another favorite element) and it has some realistic science (another one too). I will be looking at this author and this subgenre more. This is an impressive novel with a redemptive ending. I give it 4 stars....more