Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Iron Wyrm Affair, Lilith Saintcrow

"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."

As an over-enthusiastic newcomer to the genre I'm obviously going to make some mistakes along the way. I think The Iron Wyrm Affair was one of them! Is it *actually* Steampunk? It really didn't feel like it to me, but then to-date I've only read Boneshaker and Infernal Devices, both of which leave this one for dead.

To me Saintcrow's novel read like standard Fantasy/Alternate Reality, genre-wise. In terms of the book itself, it's such a massive rip-off of Sherlock that I couldn't really give it much love, try as I might. Couple this with some of the most...'unusual' grammar I've ever read, and it was a bit of an epic fail if I'm honest. I've never had to go back and re-read so many bizarre sentences in my life. As an ex-English teacher I was reaching for my red pen a few times. And if this wasn't enough to wind me up, the sheer volume of slightly altered names was making my left eye twitch at an alarming rate.

It was very much a slow starter, and I found it to be a jumbled mix of styles and themes which ultimately felt like a right royal muddle. It did get better as it went on though, in fairness, and I fought my way through to the end. There were some lovely touches here and there, but for me they were heavily outweighed by the annoyances, and this isn't a series I'd come back to.

Must Pay Closer Attention When Choosing Titles.

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