“Remember one thing before you go fighting monsters – you must take care lest you become one yourself.”
It’s year 1899, a string of brutal murders terrifies the citizens of San Francisco. Meanwhile, a young girl goes missing and Helena Brandywine takes it upon herself to find and bring her safely home.
The writing is simple, but it works very well with the story. There is a lot of lines that are supposed to be funny, but it’s definitely not my kind of humour.
Helena Brandywine (very clever name) is a young, spoiled and rich girl who has been sheltered since she was a little kid. In fact, she has been so completely cut off from reality that she never even knew that people can get raped or that women working in brothels are not there from their own free will. She often asks very smart questions, like: “Has it always been so bad to be a woman?”. I wouldn’t be that annoyed by that if it wasn’t for the fact that she had contact with people, she had access to newspapers and books. She was never kept in a basement, completely cut off from the world. So how is it possible that she has absolutely no idea about how the world works?
More than that, she is completely spoiled, irrational, irresponsible and impulsive. She makes rash decisions, that often make very little sense, and never thinks about consequences. She attacked a man (she kicked him in a jaw so hard that he passed out) whose help she needed, just because she felt annoyed by him. That was a very smart move.
Every other character in this book is completely dull and flat. Everyone was put into this story simply to be a prop for Helena, instead of actual person.
This book would have been much better if it wasn’t for the supernatural aspect. It didn’t really work out well. There were so many different magic systems and creatures that it should have been a really interesting read, but since author never really bothered with explaining anything, it just felt messy and awkward. New magical beings were being thrown into the story without any sense or reason, just for the shock value. I felt like the author had too many ideas and wasn’t ready to give up on any of them.
The pacing is steady, but in this case it’s not a good thing, simply because nothing happens from the very beginning to the very end. The first chapter is actually really interesting, the premise of it was the only reason why I was even able to finish this book. But the rest of this book is just about Helena running around the city, doing absolutely nothing meaningful.
Also, there really isn’t a reason why Helena is the only one who is searching for this missing girl, which made the entire reading experience rather frustrating.
This is the least steampunky steampunk novel I have ever read. I think this story had a lot of potential, but it simply wasn’t very well utilized. In my opinion the author should just put more attention into the actual mystery and completely give up on the supernatural aspect.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review