The Iron Wyrm Affair (Bannon and Clare #1)
by Lilith Saintcrow
(steampunk, historical fantasy)
This book is great fun. I really enjoyed how the world was reminiscent of the (history or the) one we live in, and yet was different. I liked that it took place in an alternate London with alternate place and country names instead of taking place in an alternate London with the same names. That’s a small thing, but it’s a nice touch. It’s one of the little things that speaks to me of good world-building.
I also loved the way the magic and logic worked together. It seemed the perfect way to blend the fantasy and steampunk worlds together. (I’m speaking here of the more pure steampunk, with steam engines and machinery but no magic. Most of the other magic + steampunk worlds I’ve seen don’t blend the two well, just have them both sort-of there.) I especially love that there are genius-plus people (aka mentahs) who use logic in the same way that sorcerers use magic. (Sherlock Holmes would be one example of a mentah, and seemed to be the inspiration for this group of people.)
About the characters: I loved them. Well, the main characters, anyway, and even the secondaries. The villains you aren’t supposed to like (but the couple we really got to see were fun, even if not likeable), and there were some other characters whose portrayal I enjoyed while I didn’t get a true sense of who they were going to grow into over the course of the series. I look forward to finding out, though, because I definitely intend to continue this series. It’s great fun. (Yes, I said that already. It bears repeating.)
As to the plot: some of it was predictable, yes. But it was a conspiracy theory plotline – those have a few typical parts to them which you usually see coming. There were other parts that were much less predictable. And even the parts that I did see coming were executed well and I didn’t mind being right in my predictions.