Author: Noah Lemelson
Publication Date: July 20, 2021
Length: 454 pages
Read Date(s): July 4, 2021 – July 8, 2021
Those are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to actions some will take to protect their interests in æther-oil, the coveted substance that fuels the city of Huile.
As both veteran and private investigator, Marcel Talwar knows this firsthand, and he likes to think he’d never participate in such things. However, that naïve idea comes to a crashing end when he takes on a new case that quickly shatters his world view.
A trail of evidence points to someone in Marcel’s inner circle who’s using him as a pawn to conduct grisly experiments-experiments that could lead to genocide.
Now, Marcel is more determined than ever to discover who’s pulling the strings to this sinister plot. But the further he gets, the larger the target on his back becomes, and it’s not long before Marcel has to ask himself how much and how many he’s willing to sacrifice to get to the truth.
My Mini Review
***Thank you to NetGalley and Tiny Fox Press for providing an advanced copy of the book. My review contains my honest assessment and opinions of the book.***
I enjoyed this steampunk, dystopian fantasy wrapped in a detective story. The world-building was exquisite, and the magic system was fascinating and unique. The two main characters, Marcel and Sylvaine, were interesting, complex, and realistic, as were many of the side characters. The depiction of Marcel’s PTSD was especially well-done and realistically portrayed the jarring nature of flashbacks. Sylvaine’s struggle with self-worth due to being different resulting in the need to prove herself almost to the point of ruin was compelling to read, as well. Truly horrifying things happen in this novel, and the author did a fantastic job of providing vivid descriptions to bring it all to life in a thrilling way. Many deep topics were explored with this narrative, including political corruption, slavery, genocide, the horrors of war, and religious zealotry, among others. The plot was interesting, and important details were unveiled at a good pace. However, it did get a bit convoluted at times and many questions were left unanswered, which, I guess, sets up quite a bit for the next books to explore. I have mixed feelings about the writing. I never wanted to put the book down because I wanted to know what happened next, but I also had trouble staying focused for more than a few chapters at at time due to the writing style. I honestly can’t even put my finger on what I didn’t like about the style. I guess it just wasn’t for me. Overall, I greatly enjoyed the story, world, and characters, but the writing style made it difficult for me to stay engaged with the story. Therefore, I rate the book 3 out of 5 stars. I recommend it for anyone who enjoys dystopian fantasy because the world, characters, and story are truly fascinating, and if the writing style clicks with you, I have no doubt you’ll love the book.
Have you read this book? What did you think?