Reviewed By Aethena Drake
Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team
The vivid imagery created by the author immediately engaged my interest in this book. Steampunk novels require a certain measure of skill in crafting visual details, and Jeri Westerson does a wonderful job of constructing visuals that fuel the reader’s imagination. The illustrations between chapters by artist Robert Carrasco are a lovely addition to the author’s carefully crafted imagery of a steampunk version of Victorian England .
The plot of this book has some interesting twists, and it serves to highlight the cultural background of several of the characters. The diverse cast encounters several social challenges in Victorian England, and the plot addresses several of these issues including the evolving relationships among all the characters. The relationship between Mingli and Leopold is growing deeper, and the rest of the characters are also experiencing changes in how they relate to one another. I appreciated how expertly the author developed the personalities and evolved the relationships for the entire cast of characters.
One of the perils of reading steampunk novels when you have a background in mechanical engineering, is that you are constantly evaluating the mechanical references. The author does a really good job of describing mechanisms without overwhelming the reader with details. The one reference that did not quite work for me was a scene where Leopold notes that train engines are made of iron but train tracks are made of steel. In reality, steel is ninety-eight percent iron with a few other elements added to make the alloy durable. Iron is not used in its pure form for any mechanical devices because iron by itself is a relatively soft and malleable metal. So… We will just have to assume that this particular world uses magic to create iron engines, and steel is made from another source. After all, Leopold is a magician.
I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a steampunk story with characters originating from a multitude of cultures, lovely visuals, and interesting, fantastical plot twists.