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Steampunk Fantasy Early Review: Unseemly Science by Rod Duncan

Unseemly Science by Rod Duncan (The Fall of Gas-Lit Empire #2)

Egalley courtesy of Angry Robot

Synopsis from Goodreads
In the divided land of England, Elizabeth Barnabus has been living a double life - as both herself and as her brother, the private detective. Witnessing the hanging of Alice Carter, the false duchess, Elizabeth resolves to throw the Bullet Catcher’s Handbook into the fire, and forget her past. If only it were that easy!

There is a new charitable organisation in town, run by some highly respectable women. But something doesn’t feel right to Elizabeth. Perhaps it is time for her fictional brother to come out of retirement for one last case…? Her unstoppable curiosity leads her to a dark world of body-snatching, unseemly experimentation, politics and scandal. Never was it harder for a woman in a man’s world…

Release date: May 5th 2015
Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository


* * *
The continuation of The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter might not be as flashy as some other steampunk novels, but it's solid as a rock.

They say the devil is in the details, and the sinister feel of Unseemly Science is perfectly shown with minute details. It's very visual, with an underlying sense of urgency and terror driving the plot. I would even call it a Gothic novel akin to Ripper series by Amy Carol Reeves.

Elizabeth is on the run again. The Republic and The Kingdom are on the brink of signing an extradition treaty, and the refugees from The Kingdom are being rounded up into the camps. At the same time, Miss Barnabus's protege, Julia, is embarking on her first investigation. The ice disappears from the ice factory, and she needs to find the perpetrators of the crime. She asks Elizabeth to join her, and our heroine is forced by the circumstances to do just that.

The crime is not simple, and the more the girls dig, the more they understand just how much danger they are in. At the meantime, not content to wait for the Treaty Duke of Northampton puts a bounty on Elizabeth's head, and she has a lot of people searching for her. After a horrifying threat, Julia is sent home and only a promise of freedom sends Elizabeth into the depths of ice factory to discover the chilling truth.

I really enjoyed Elizabeth's character. She is a vulnerable young woman, but she is tenacious and she uses her wits to get what she wants. There are no dramatic, all-out fights, but she is not equipped for those. Still she refuses to run away and leave her friends in trouble so she tries her best to outsmart the villains.

John Farthing is an interesting guy as well. Any sort of relationship between him and the heroine is impossible, and yet, there are hints of their building feelings even if they don't know about them themselves.

The plot is complex and very well-made. Unseemly Science might not be a book you'll read in one seating, but it's a book you'll be driven to finish. It's understated and devilishly clever. Recommended.

* * *
Продолжение Дочери Ловца Пуль может и не так красочно как многие из стимпанковских книг, однако оно крепкое как камень.

Люди говорят, что дьявол  - в деталях, и именно мелкие детали создают мрачную и ужасающую атмосферу этой книги. Я бы даже назвала её настроение готичным, наподобие книг Эми Карол Ривз.

В Неподобающей Науке Элизабет опять в бегах. Республика и Королевство находятся на грани подписания договора об экстрадиции, и республиканцы арестовывают всех беженцев из Королевства и отправляют их в лагеря. В то же время герцог Нортхамптон, не дожидаясь подписания договора, назначает большую награду за поимку Элизабет и доставку её к нему в поместье.

Лишённая своих обычных ресурсов и полностью полагаясь на доброту незнакомцев и своих соседей, Элизабет вынуждена отправится в Дерби, чтобы помочь своей протеже, Джулии в её первом расследовании - фабрика льда таинственным образом теряет свой  товар, и Джулии необходимо найти виновников.

Чем больше девушки раскапывают, тем больше понимают в какой опасности находятся. Когда жуткий подарок и угроза доставлена Джулии, та вынуждена закончить своё расследование и отправиться  домой, однако Элизабет продолжает в тайне, так как нанявший её клиент обещает остановить подписание договора, который лишит её свободы.

 При помощи уличного мальчишки Тинкера и агента Патентного Оффиса, Джона Фартинга, она углубляется в мрачные коридоры ледяной фабрики и узнаёт ужасающую правду.

Мне очень импонирует главная героиня. У неё нет каких-либо уникальных способностей, и из неприятностей она вылезает только посредством своей смекалки и бульдожьей хватки. Джон тоже интересен как персонаж. Отношения между обоими невозможны, однако в их общении проскользывает намёк на какие-то чувства.

Неподобающая Наука может и не та книга, которая будет прочитываться взахлёб, однако это книга, которую невозможно не закончить. Она по-тихому и дьявольски умна. Читайте.

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