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Steampunk Mystery Audiobook Review: Firebrand by A.J. Hartley

Firebrand by A.J. Hartley (Alternative Detective #2)


audiocopy courtesy of Audible Studios

Synopsis from Goodreads
Once a steeplejack, Anglet Sutonga is used to scaling the heights of Bar-Selehm. Nowadays she assists politician Josiah Willinghouse behind the scenes of Parliament. When government plans for a secret weapon are stolen, their investigation leads right to the doorsteps of the city’s superexclusive social club, Elitus. Ang has a chance to catch the thief, but only if she can pass for a foreign princess. Her best chance to learn the ways of royalty lies in the aloof Dahria Willinghouse and the intense Madame Nahreem, a woman possessing high standards and unusual pets.

Yet Ang has other things on her mind. Refugees from the north are trickling into the city, but an ambitious politician is proposing extreme measures to get rid of them. She soon discovers that one theft could spark a conflagration of conspiracy that threatens the most vulnerable of Bar-Selehm. Unless she can stop it.


Audible US/UK | Amazon US/UKBook Depository

8/10

* * *

Firebrand gets another high rating from yours truly, because it's an exceptionally original story with a unique voice.

First, the narrator on audio, Noma Dimezweni. I adore her! She truly brought Ang and all the supporting characters to life.


Secondly, as a mystery this book truly connected to the current state of events. Sometimes it even felt like I was watching news instead of reading urban fantasy. All the indicators were there: wars, unemployment, refugee crisis and the oppression of certain races based on their skin color.

Ang continues working for the young and ambitious politician, Josiah Willinghouse and his sister Dahria, and this time her task as a detective is to follow the traces of stolen plans for a devastating war machine which lead to an exclusive private club, Elitus.

Ang's choices are to give up her promising career or wear a disguise and mix with the wealthy in order to steal the plans back or to reveal the culprits.

Enter a mysterious, reclusive Madam Nahreem who takes over Ang's training to create a disguise of an exotic visiting princess from faraway lands.

This, ladies and gents, was my favorite part of the book, because it challenged Ang's perception of herself as an inferior being and forced her to grow as a character. It was also a very tense and exciting affair, and I expect her to wear more similar masks in the future.

Otherwise, expect reckless rooftop races, a twisted mystery, an elegant villain, grisly secrets and a dark mythological creature come to life.

Much recommended to fans of YA Mystery and non - European steampunk. I am looking forward to more of A.J. Hartley's unique storytelling.

Steeplejack

* * *
"Огненная Марка" получает еще одну высокую оценку от вашей покорной слуги как чрезвычайно оригинальная история с уникальным авторским голосом.

Во-первых, дайте мне похвалить саму рассказчицу на аудио, Ному Димезвени. У нее был такой яркий голос, что без нее я уже эту серию представить не могу.

Во-вторых, как детектив эта книга затронула меня на нескольких уровнях. Она была настолько актуальной, что мне казалось, что я не читаю городское фэнтези, а смотрю новостную ленту. Все нынешние проблемы были там: и войны и безработица, и кризис беженцев, и ущемление прав определенных рас из-за цвета их кожи. Все, что характерно для пост-колониального мира.

Анг продолжает работать детективом на молодого амбициозного политика Джозайю Уиллингхауза и его сестру, Дарию. В этот раз ее задача - перехватить украденные планы новой военной машины до того, как те попадут в руки врагам Бар-Селема.

Их следы ведут к закрытому привилегированному клубу, Элитусу, куда Анг может проникнуть только под личиной загадочной заморской принцессы.

Это, скорее всего, моя самая любимая часть повествования. Анг получает учителя в качестве таинственной отшельницы Мадам Нарим, и ей приходится ломать свой характер и глубоко укорененное убеждение в том, что ее раса хуже ее белых завоевателей, чтобы убежденно сыграть характер принцессы. Да и сама афера оказывается напряженной и только и кусаешь нервно ногти, пока слушаешь рассказчицу.

Я подозреваю, что Анг в будущем будет надевать еще много таких личин, да и Мадам Нарим очень уж хорошо сыграла характер Йоды к Люку Скайуокеру Англет. *смеясь*

А в остальном, ожидайте головокружительных погонь по крышам, элегантных злодеев, кровавых тайн и неожиданно воплощенное в жизнь мифологическое существо.

Слушала с удовольствием, рекомендую, особенно читателям, ищущим книг в не-европейской обстановке.


Steeplejack 
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