Lawyer, mother, avid reader. Game host extraordinaire! Partner in crime to Obsidian Black Plague! My bookish weaknesses include classics, fantasy, YA, and agreeing to read more books than is even remotely possible.
Evelina Cooper, niece of Sherlock Holmes, is ready for her first London Season - except for a murderer, missing automatons, a sorcerer, and a talking mouse. In a Victorian era ruled by a ruthless steam baron council, mechanical power is the real monarch, and sorcery the demon enemy of the empire. Evelina has secretly mastered a coveted weapon - magic that can run machines. Should she trust the handsome, clever rake who speeds her breath, or the dashing trick rider who would dare anything she would ask?
This book is right in my wheelhouse. Steampunk. Sherlock Holmes, Victorian. Magic. Dashing young men. Solid writing. Better than passable world-building.
So, then, why (you ask) only 3 1/2 stars, MR? In a word: length.
This book clocks in at 531 pages, which is about 150 pages too many. It could have been cut by a third. It was just too damned long and I got bored. I enjoyed it enough to keep reading the series - I've already bought books 2 & 3. But I'm going to need a week or two to gird my loins to take on the next one in the series, which is only slightly shorter (513 pages).
A side complaint - not enough Holmes. Not a deal breaker, but I wanted more Sherlock.
The third one is 662 pages. [Moonlight Reader keels over. And dies].