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The Iron Wyrm Affair (Bannon and Clare) by…

The Iron Wyrm Affair (Bannon and Clare) (edition 2012)

by Lilith Saintcrow

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Title:The Iron Wyrm Affair (Bannon and Clare)
Authors:Lilith Saintcrow
Info:Orbit (2012), Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Iron Wyrm Affair by Lilith Saintcrow

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Not bad. Quite fast-paced and a bit chaotic. Despite of that, I enjoyed it, probably because I like the protagonist, Emma. She is competent, and for real (not just claimed and then followed by an incessant need to be rescued). Well, she is rescued a few times, since she does the magic bit, and needs protection from physicsl fighting while she does that, but this doesn't diminish her at all. It doesn't make her Shield condescending or overbearing and she doesn't feel bad about it. It's just the way things are, it's the Shield's job to do this, so he'd better. Besides, she is clearly the more formidable. The other protagonist is a mentath (reminiscent of the ones in Dune and of Sherlock Holmes). He works well with Emma, but I didn't like the bits from his viewpoint (i.e., half of them!). At his bits I got distracted by the chaos, because I wasn't rooting for him. The most he was doing was figuring other people out, but he wasn't so interesting himself. A pity, because that made me tune out a bit for half of the book... ( )
  zjakkelien | Mar 14, 2014 |
OH MY BOB, I want this book. Hurry up, August. ( )
  kiaras | Oct 22, 2013 |
When I started this book, I was expecting the generic Steampunk Romance that has become all too common these days.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover two remarkably interesting characters who have no romantic ties to each other at all, and while there was something of a romantic thread, it certainly didn't overwhelm the murder mystery plot.

I do wish that the magic system was more well-defined, as I often found myself wondering how it worked and whether what they were doing actually made sense. But since this is just the first book in a series, I'm sure we'll find out more later.

~~For a more detailed review, as well as reviews of hundreds of other books, please check out www.GeekLitEtc.com !~~ ( )
  ebooksgirl | Oct 10, 2013 |
So. I'm not a huge fan of steampunk. It's just not my particular fetish--reading about how normal things might have been made with OMG GEARS ALL OVER THEM bores the hell out of me. I like this book, though. My issues with it are the opposite of those I had with The Night Circus, which, while beautifully written with lively, eccentric characters, fell flat because of the lame love story.

The love story here is pretty good. It's shoved to the side, but that works because Emma's love interest isn't the male lead of the story, and Emma is a compelling enough character that you believe she has the effect she is portrayed to have on the men of the story (unlike in novels like Twilight, where the lead girl is dull and lifeless).

The plot worked fine for me, too. My only real issue with this novel is the characterization of Archibald Clare and those of several of the incidental characters. Archibald is a Sherlock Holmes-type character, but it...I don't know. It just doesn't quite ring true to me. The reader is told that things Archibald is doing are annoying, but they don't really seem to be. Does that make sense? And the side characters, with the notable exception of Mikal, are similarly poorly conceived.

That said, it's a fun, well-written book. The author does a good job with word choice, and she isn't overly descriptive of the steampunk elements of the environment--the reader is told no more than she needs to know to follow the story, and sometimes not even that. What a relief.
( )
  KateBond | Sep 20, 2013 |
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales.

Quick & Dirty: A dark, magical steampunk tale with a strong female character set in an alternate London. A heavy, in-depth read that is full of action, strange clues and intrigue.

Opening Sentence: Emma Bannon, Sorceress Prime and servant to Britannia’s current incarnation, mentally ran through every foul word that would never cross the lips of a lady.

The Review:

The Iron Wyrm Affair is a creatively written steampunk set in an alternate world of 1800′s London called Londinium. Many of the historical names/places have been changed to curious spellings such as Queen Victoria is Victrix. There is also a lot of big descriptive and architecture words that may intimidate the reader, thankfully I used my Kindle to look up some of the words I wasn’t sure about. Others may not have my problem.

Emma Bannon has been sent on a quest to find out why a group of sorcerers and mentaths have been killed. Archibald Clare is the only unregistered mentath still alive and Emma comes to his rescue just as he is being attacked. Although, the question afterwards is who was the actual target of the attack, Bannon or Clare? Bannon doesn’t let Clare know the reasons for his protection at first, letting him deduce the crimes with his brilliant mentath mind. She eventually opens up and gives details to him so he can come up with plans to find out who and what is behind the plan to most likely overthrow Queen Victrix.

Emma is a Sorcerer Prime and welds quite a bit of power. She is also a black sorcerer capable of some extreme magic. She must use all her powers if she wants to destroy the people behind this terrible plan. Bannon and Clare are dragged into a terrible scheme that includes steampunk style mecha-machines, dragons (wyrms) and more. Bannon will certainly find out that magic may not always help in a fight.

Emma is certainly a woman that is way to tough for her times. She makes sure she is appropriately dressed with her gowns and jewelry. The jewelry helps to hold her magic and spells. She often curses, although it is mentioned through Clare as using words more suitable to a sailer. I throughly enjoyed Emma, she made no excuses for her actions, she may have had regrets but she took no crap from anyone.

Archibald Clare was a little harder to understand. I never really quite understood the mentath ability, just that they were trained, they are very smart and the fact that their brain can melt with too much information or the fact that they could go crazy with no stimulation. Clare and his companions were definitely more of the comic relief in the book to counteract with Emma’s seriousness.

The Iron Wyrm Affair is a very involved and in-depth book. Some of the speech and names took a while to get used to but the story is constantly moving forward and unraveling new clues. There is a lot of action and intrigue. The short chapters mixing between Bannon and Clare’s point of views also added quite a bit of tension and what’s going to happen next, as they both undertake different paths to uncover pieces of the puzzle.

In the end, I really enjoyed The Iron Wyrm Affair. It was a dark, magical steampunk tale that set up a world of its own. Even though I may have gotten lost at times, especially with the sorcery fights, I would definitely pick up another novel in this series

Notable Scene:

Emma’s hands shot out, sorcery crackling between them. She squeezed, smoke rising from her rings and the scorched material of her gloves, and Mehitabel shrieked again. The flashboys froze, workers dropping where they stood. The chant died away now that Emma had her grip.

“I can crush flesh just as easily,” she called, the words slicing through snap-crackling flame and shuddering metallic clanking. The simulacrum’s face continued melting, runnels of liquid iron sliding down, its unfashionable dress a torch. “Even your flesh. Where is it, Me-hi-ta-beh-ru-la gu’rush Me-hi-lwa?” The foreign syllables punctured tortured air; Emma’s throat scorched and her eyes watering as she accented each in its proper place.

Hours of study and careful tortuous work had suddenly returned its investment. Mehitabel had obviously never guessed that Emma might uncover her truename, much less use it.

A wyrm would never forget, let alone forgive such a thing.

The Blackwerks . . . stopped.

Sparks and cinders hung in mid-air. The burning simulacrum was a painting, flames caught in mid-twist, its face terribly ruined.

A huge, narrow head, triple-crowned and triple-tongued, rose from a crucible of molten metal, snaking forward on a flexible, black-scaled neck. The eyes were jewels of flame, matching the now-cracked rubies of the simulacrum, and leathery wings spread through the cinderfall, their bladed edges cutting through individual flecks and sparks held in stasis.

The tongues flickered, smoke wreathing the wyrm’s long body in curiously lethargic veils. Mehitabel held the Werks out of Time’s slipstream, her wings ruffling as they combed slumbering air. The heat was immense, awesome, the cup of metal holding the lower half of her body bubbling with thick tearing sounds. She turned her head sideways, one ruby eye glinting, but Emma leaned back, fingers burning, the thin fine leash of her will cutting across the dragon’s snout.

They are the children of Time, her teacher had intoned long ago. They are of the Powers, and their elders sleep. We should be glad of that slumber, for if those wyrms awakened they would shake this isle – and plenty more – from their backs, and the Age of Flame would return.

FTC Advisory: Orbit provided me with a copy of The Iron Wyrm Affair. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. ( )
  DarkFaerieTales | Aug 22, 2013 |
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First words
When the young dark-haired woman stepped into his parlor, Archibald Clare was only mildly intrigued.
Come now. In theory, yes. In practice, no. All we care about is practice, correct? We have not achieved our position by being impractical. . . .
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Book description
Archibald Clare is a detective of truly uncanny abilities-a mentath, capable of feats of deduction and logic that border on the supernatural. He is also abruptly, uniquely, the only unregistered mentath left alive in Londoninium. Someone has murdered the others and, if not for the timely intervention of the Prime sorceress Emma Bannon, there would have been no one left to stop... whatever is coming.

Mentaths and sorcerers are dying-or worse, being seduced into betraying Queen and Country. Bannon and Clare must uncover treachery, conspiracy, and sorcery of the blackest hue. And in a Britannia where magic has turned the Industrial Revolution on its head, time is short.

The game is afoot...
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 031620126X, Paperback)

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..

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:28:44 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"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. Unfortunately, they can barely tolerate each other..."--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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Average: (3.44)
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1.5 1
2 8
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3 17
3.5 12
4 22
4.5 6
5 8

Orbit Books

An edition of this book was published by Orbit Books.

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