The British Empire reigns supreme, and its young Queen Victoria has expanded her realm to St. Francisco, a bustling city of English lords and Chinese ghettos. St. Francisco is a jewel in the Empire’s crown and as deeply embroiled in the conflict between the Arcane and Science as its sister city, London—a very dark and dangerous battle.
Marcus Stenhill, Viscount of Westwood, stumbles upon that darkness when he encounters a pack of young bloods beating a man senseless. Westwood’s duty and honor demand he save the man, but he’s taken aback to discover the man is Robin Harris, a handsome young inventor indirectly responsible for the death of Marcus’s father.
Living in the shadows following a failed coup, Robin devotes his life to easing others’ pain, even though his creations are considered mechanical abominations of magicks and science. Branded a deviant and a murderer, Robin expects the viscount to run as far as he can—and is amazed when Marcus reaches for him instead. x
Sci-Fi Steampunk, M/M, GLBT+
90 e-book pages
Edition I read:
Soooo, this was my first Steampunk book.
Also, it’s been sitting on my To-Read-New-On-Deck pile for months. Months!
I put it off because…sometimes I’m an idiot? Sometimes I’m a little fearful of the unknown? Yes and yes, okay?
I bought it because…Rhys Ford! Of course, there’s no question that I’ll eventually read all her books ’cause I kinda worship her and her talent with words and world-building. She never ceases to amaze me–even when her stories take me to creepy places and scare the bejeezus outta me.
I knew this would not be spooky, but it’s a genre that’s new to me that I wasn’t so sure about.
Right…thoughts. This was so good. Is there anything Rhys Ford can’t do?
For a gal who doesn’t get the whole Steampunk thing–but is oddly fascinated by the mechanical artistry and mystique of it–this was a beautiful story. An aristocratic hero and geeky genius underdog learning to believe in love when the world has been so very cruel.
One of the things I love about Rhys’ writing is her imagery. She not only lays out the setting with all of the visual cues we need but tickles all the senses with descriptions of sounds and smells that come alive with layers of texture that are resonant and fragrant–and often odiferous. I feel like I’m in her books, creeping as quietly as I can behind all the action, seeing, hearing, and smelling all the things (sometimes holding my nose). She’s one of a handful of authors I’ve found who pull me in so completely for the ride.
This was an absolutely delightful reading experience. I think I’ll soon look for more Steampunk. And I’ll not-so-secretly wish that Rhys will write some more.
Truly my only gripe, which is holding back a star, is that some time hops between scenes were a little confusing. In my opinion, this is often problematic in novellas when there’s an intent to keep the story short but also having so much to tell. I’m greedy for all the details and can’t help but feel I needed more between the scenes.
This review also posted on GoodReads.
Oh! Before you go. Rhys Ford has a new book coming out November 30th–Fish Stick Fridays (link goes to book page on GoodReads). It’s currently available for pre-order at Dreamspinner Press and likely other retailers closer to publication. Because I have to wait like everyone else, you can look for my review sometime early December.