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Review: The Iron Wyrm Affair by Lilith Saintcrow

The Iron Wyrm Affair by Lilith Saintcrow (Bannon and Clare #1)

bought

Synopsis from Goodreads
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.


The game is afoot..


 Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK(£4.49) | The Book Depository US/UK | Fishpond

8.5/10

* * *
Leave it to Lili to venture into steampunk and make her first book the most steampunkish I've read this year. She just doesn't do anything by halves.

Unbelievable, meticulous attention to detail. Clockwork horses and altered mechanically, seedy criminals of the underworld, reincarnated Britannia in each queen of England, here be dragons, griffins... and rise and fall of sorcerous forces each dawn and dusk.



The trademark of Miss Saintcrow's writing is still here, - extremely strong main heroine, Emma Bannon, a sorceress and Prime of the most dangerous of magic, Death magic, serving the Queen herself and trying to protect her by any means possible.

Emma crushes and subjugates everything and everyone in her way, she is destructive force of nature, paranoid and afraid that her own warrior-protector, her magical Shield, Mikal, is ready to kill her  and works beside her back.

Archibald Clare is an entirely different matter. He is not an equal partner to Emma and there is certainly no romantic spark between them. He is a mentath, a person whose brain has to find logical connections in everything, even the most minuscule parts. He is like Sherlock Holmes on crack, he will go mad if his brain is not occupied by a complicated task. 

But someone is killing mentaths one by one and taking their body parts, so Emma's task is to protect Archibald and at the same time work with him on uncovering a multi-layered conspiracy which threatens the foundations of British Empire.

It's a fantastic adventure, but it took few chapters for me to get used to the overabundance of detail and pretty rigid main heroine. However, once you warm up to this book, it really gets to you. There is sly humour and well-rounded characters, - Mikal, desperate to gain his sorceress's trust, Clare, curious and analytical about everything, Ludovico, a grubby assassin, who is tasked with Clare's protection and Emma herself, whose true nature shows through her actions towards those she protects, not through her cold and ruthless talk.

I am extremely excited to know more about the world Lili created and looking forward to Emma and Archibald's further adventures. Recommended to all fans of steampunk, especially Iron Seas series by Meljean Brook, and Miss Saintcrow's writing style in general.

* * *
Прекрасный вышел стимпанк с методично выписанными мелочами и красивыми, сумасшедшими деталями. Лили как обычно, очень тщательно поработала над построением мира.

Главная героиня, Эмма, тоже получилась вполне в стиле Сэйнткроу - жёсткая, беспощадная, не сгибающаяся ни под каким давлением и не устапующая ни перед какими препятствиями. Эмма - вошебница-некромантка очень высокого ранга, её боятся, её презирают, и она одна из немногих лояльных слуг Британии, реинкарнированной души монарха страны, которая готова защищать её любыми средствами.

Арчибальд Клэр с другой стороны - это как Шерлок Холмс на амфетаминах. Ментат, чей мозг не способен воспринимать хаос и пытается найти логическое объяснение и цепочки во всём его окружающем, гений и рассеянный чудак. Клэр оказывается под защитой Эммы, так как кто-то убивает ментатов и забирает части их тел из разных районов Лондиниума.

Теперь от Эммы и Арчибальда зависит, раскроют ли они быстро мульти-фасетный заговор против королевы, чтобы остановить разрушение Британской империи или же потерпят неудачу...

Грандиозное приключение, драконы, гриффоны, стимпанковские злодеи и прочие штучки придутся по вкусу любому фанату Лили, стимпанка и особенно серии Мелджин Брук Iron Seas. Ко множеству деталей и сухому юмору писательского стиля не сразу привыкаешь, но через несколько глав чтение идёт как по накатанной! :)

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