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Steampunk Review: The Red Plague Affair by Lilith Saintcrow

The Red Plague Affair by Lilith Saintcrow (Bannon & Clare #2)


Egalley courtesy of Orbit

Synopsis from Goodreads
The service of Britannia is not for the faint of heart--or conscience...
Emma Bannon, Sorceress Prime in service to Queen Victrix, has a mission: to find the doctor who has created a powerful new weapon. Her friend, the mentath Archibald Clare, is only too happy to help. It will distract him from pursuing his nemesis, and besides, Clare is not as young as he used to be. A spot of Miss Bannon's excellent hospitality and her diverting company may be just what he needs.

Unfortunately, their quarry is a fanatic, and his poisonous discovery is just as dangerous to Britannia as to Her enemies. Now a single man has set Londinium ablaze, and Clare finds himself in the middle of distressing excitement, racing against time and theory to find a cure. Miss Bannon, of course, has troubles of her own, for the Queen's Consort Alberich is ill, and Her Majesty unhappy with Bannon's loyal service. And there is still no reliable way to find a hansom when one needs it most...

The game is afoot. And the Red Plague rises.


Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK(£3.99) | The Book Depository US/UK | Fishpond

 8/10

* * * 
The Red Plague Affair is a slightly weaker book in my opinion, than The Iron Wyrm Affair which I managed to read last year.

The weakness lies in an oversaturation of the details and much less effort spent on character development. The world-building is beautifully done, and I do like Archibald Clare - the mentath working with the sorceress Emma Bannon.



The problem is, despite the presumed attraction and sympathy for each other, they do not really fit together as a couple, and there is no attempt to develop their relationship in some kind of romance. 

Emma is an overpowering, harsh and pretty violent, self-sacrificing, bitter and cold woman, although on the inside she does get hurt a lot. There are no sparks of humour to soften her character and otherwise very dry, tense dialogues, and the reader really struggles to feel for her, because she doesn't let us do it.

Despite my misgivings about Emma, I can't fault the plot. It's a very intriguing puzzle and a race against time, while The Red Plague sweeps through Londinium and spreads through the rest of the world.

Emma has to make very radical moves, gain an enemy in Britannia - an ancient force ruling the country, and lose few dear to her people, just to stop the deadly illness. Her relationships with Mikal becomes very strange as well, as a part of his nature comes into the light while she is falling to the illness herself.

Overall, this is a very interesting read, but not one of Lily's best. That's all I can say.

* * *
Не очень удачная для Лили книга, но я бы сказала, что и вся серия не очень у неё вышла удачная.

Я ни в чём не могу упрекнуть сюжет - он прекрасен и деликатен как дедукция Шерлока Холмса. Красная Чума, попытки прекратить её распространение, отчаяние Эммы, которая безуспешно старается спасти её друзей и консорта Витрикс.. Её столкновения с самой королевой, странные волшебники, следящие за ней, всевозможные медицинские эксперименты, интриги и огромная усталость Эммы, превратившейся в палача Империи... Всё это описано детально, и построение мира просто чудесно.

Моя проблема лежит в том, что Эмма, её характер, читателям совершенно не симпатичны. Она суха, беспощадна и очень холодна, несмотря на то, что внутренне её ранит осуждение Клэра. У неё нет чувства юмора, чтобы скрасить ситуацию, и честно говоря очень трудно понять, почему Микал - её Щит, настолько ей предан.

Клэр с другой стороны, гораздо мягче и сентиментальнее, несмотря на его гений ментата, что лишает его большинства чувств, оставляя только логику.  По идее, читатель должен верить, что между Эммой и Клэром есть какие-то романтические чувства, но ни один из них их не выражает их ничем кроме дружбы, и самое главное, они друг другу совершенно не подходят...

В общем, меня вот как раз это отсутствие развития персонажей и неловкие чувства между ними и смущали. Так что, книга хоть и интересная, а вот неудачно она у Лили вышла.
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