Author: Lilith Saintcrow
Date of Publication: August 7, 2012
Formats Available: Paperback, E-Book
Buy This Book: Amazon
Synopsis: Emma Bannon, forensic sorceress in the service of the Empire, has a mission: to protect Archibald Clare, a failed, unregistered mentath. His skills of deduction are legendary, and her own sorcery is not inconsiderable. It doesn't help much that they barely tolerate each other, or that Bannon's Shield, Mikal, might just be a traitor himself. Or that the conspiracy killing registered mentaths and sorcerers alike will just as likely kill them as seduce them into treachery toward their Queen.
In an alternate London where illogical magic has turned the Industrial Revolution on its head, Bannon and Clare now face hostility, treason, cannon fire, black sorcery, and the problem of reliably finding hansom cabs.
The game is afoot..
I'm not going to lie I absolutely could NOT finish this book. I feel horrible writing a review when I haven't even read the end but I feel that it says a lot when I got to over page 200 and just couldn't do it anymore, especially when I almost never stop reading books once I've started them. When I sat down to right this review I racked my brain to come up with something nice to say about this novel but I literally couldn't come up with a single thing. I've read books by Saintcrow before that I have enjoyed but just something about this book just didn't click with me.
Maybe I missed something important in the beginning or two important pages got stuck together but I was completely LOST during this novel. I had no idea what was going on, I had no idea who was who, I had no idea why the characters did a single thing they did. I've never been so completely baffled by a plot and struggled so intensely to put important events together. I didn't understand what a mentath was, I couldn't figure out a single thing Emma was doing, I never understood Shields or Mikal's role in the story, somewhere along the line I got lost and just couldn't find my way back.
If being completely confused wasn't bad enough the characters had absolutely zero personality. Both Emma and Archibald did absolutely nothing but walk around an alternate version of London and search for... something. I could never figure out what they were searching for or even what they were doing. Their relationship with each other was nearly non-existent and their voices were so similar half the time I forgot who's side of the story I was reading. By page 200 I was so frustrated with them and the confusing plot I just couldn't go on anymore.
I know I didn't finish the novel so my review may not be 100% credible but I honestly could not do it. When I begin to dread reading and start doing other things to avoid the book I know there's something wrong. The brain dead characters paired with the incomprehensible plot just made for a horrible time and in all honesty I don't think I've read a book I disliked this much in a long time, sorry to Saintcrow because she really has written some good books, but this one just wasn't for me. At all.
Obviously I don't recommend this novel in the least but I have read some good reviews on it and maybe if I hadn't gotten so lost in the beginning I would have ended up liking this novel I lot more. This novel was most definitely not my cup of tea this time around.