Steampunk fanatics, there is a new author in town and she's taking this town with lightening, steam and mystery. Ms. Carr is a new to me author and I'm impressed. This story takes a classic story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and takes it far outside the realms most readers would guess. This is more than just a story reimagined into Steampunk with Victorian times and gas lights. This is a story of intrigue, arcane magic, persecution and murder.
Dr. Eliza Jekyll is the daughter of the infamous Dr. Jekyll. Orphaned when her father died, she's an adult and a doctor in her own right, despite the misogynist society. She helps the police on murder cases. She uses her expertise to advise and help solve cases. What she tries to hide is her own demons. Eliza takes after her father, more than just in name. When her stronger and more impulsive self, Lizzie, comes out to play, there is no knowing what will happen.
The world building in this book is complicated and not complete. My guess is there will be more reveals to this world in the next book in the series. For those who are not expecting it, there is a London Underworld here, except somehow it involves the Fey. This is something that came out of left field and yet it works really well. Combining a Steampunk world filled with iron and juxtaposing the Fey world which is allergic to iron is unexpected and unique. The book is a bit hard to follow for those who aren't used to this genre. This is because there are some familiar aspects to it yet there are so many different threads going on that it does become a bit confusing. I liked this feeling even when I became frustrated.
The character development is fabulous. Learning about how Eliza and Lizzie interact with each other is fascinating. Whilst I do like Eliza, I think I'm more attracted to Lizzie. She's wild, busty and aggressive. She's a sociopath who oozes sensuality. Would it be so bad if Eliza is to disappear and Lizzie becomes the main persona? Maybe not.
The intrigue in this story is on several fronts. There is the hidden agenda of the dastardly Royal Society. The big reveal there is a bit shocking. Eliza's determination in solving the serial murder case brings her into danger. Her finding of the culprit is another shocking unexpected turn of events. Basically, this entire story feels like running through a Funny House whilst drunk off Absinthe and what we see is not reality. Ms. Carr does a great job at keeping the reader guessing and off balance.
I do enjoy the character dialog in this book. It's witty and sarcastic. This book is not a simple and easy read. It requires a reader to be fully engaged to catch the little nuances and tiny bits of hidden information. I enjoy this kind of book. Here is an example of dialog which makes thrilled to read.