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Bronze Gods by A.A. Aguirre
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2411268,249 (3.53)4
  1. 10
    Phoenix Rising by Pip Ballantine (nessreader)
    nessreader: Both action-adventure steampunk swashbuckle romps in a city that never was
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Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
It's been weeks and it's time to admit it, I'm not going to finish this book. I absolutely hate to say this--and can't believe I'm saying this because it's co-written by Ann Aguirre whose books I adore--but this book is boring. There's very little suspense, which for a book about two people investigating a series of murders and one person very obviously targeted for murder, is not a good thing.

Everything about this book gave me a feeling of "almost, but not quite." I almost feel like I know the main characters because I've been told things about them, but at 74% into the book I still don't feel like I know them. I almost feel like I understand how this particular world differs from ours because I've been told certain things that happened, but I don't see those things playing out. It's that way with most things; very tell instead of show. ( )
  tldegray | Sep 21, 2018 |
The fact that this one took me so long to read is no reflection on the book. I was simply too busy to focus on reading at this time, especially a book so rich with content as this one. Set in an alternate historical London, the bulk of this book was pure police procedural. Those looking for a fantasy fix should look elsewhere. The two main protagonists are partners on the force. They are very different from each other but through the story come to realize their relationship may extend beyond the professional. I loved Mikani and Ritsuko and how they treated each other with genuine care and respect.

My one complaint would be the world of the story itself. Much of the world and the terminology that was used didn't make sense to me. There was not much effort to describe and explain this world, and it was a little confusing and frustrating at times.

I look forward to the next book however, to see how the relationship between Mikani and Ritsuko progresses. ( )
  dorie.craig | Jun 22, 2017 |
The "male female detective steampunk duo" is nothing new, but I found this a nice take on it, primarily due to two things: The worldbuilding, and the detective work

The world is rather different to the usual steampunk (or UF) fare. Instead of a psuedo steampowered advanced Victorian England, this is set in the world of Hy Breasil, which used to be fairyland. It provides an actual explanation why there is magic in the world, why there is a complete mashup of cultures as well as, and perhaps most importantly, both why technology seems stalled at the steam era and why the magic that is left is weak and growing weaker

In short, people washed up in the fairy world over the centuries, from all over the "real" world--the two main characters names appear to be slavic and japanese--but eventually in such numbers and bearing cold iron that they overwhelmed the natives. Some 200 years ago "The Architect" managed to close the veil between the worlds, preventing further influxes of people, but also preventing them bringing newer technology and science with. While some of the fae interbred with the usurpers, and fae or "ferisher" blood still runs, stronger in some families than others, most people are pretty much normal humans and the Summer and Winter clan are greatly reduced. It is above and beyond the most well thought out premise for a steampunk world I've yet come across

Secondly, the detective work. One of the main characters has Ferisher blood, but his only power is to read emotions (which he can use both on people and to gather information from crime scenes) and using it gives him blinding headaches and an increasing addiction. Although useful, it's costly, and slightly illicit so while it gives leads it's not proof enough for a court. His partner on the other hand, is the first woman Inspector (i.e. detective) and has had to work her way up from the bottom

Secondly, the detective work. One of the main characters has Ferisher blood, but his only power is to read emotions (which he can use both on people and to gather information from crime scenes) and using it gives him blinding headaches and an increasing addiction. Although useful, it's costly, and slightly illicit so while it gives leads it's not proof enough for a court. His partner on the other hand, is the first woman Inspector (i.e. detective) and has had to work her way up from the bottom

She is very serious about her work, and while she uses every advantage she can get, including her partner's readings, she backs them up with actual detective work: Gathering evidence, following down every lead, being methodical and careful to dot every i and cross every t, knowing that most of her peers are simply waiting for her to fail. While this is still a fantasy novel, it's nice to see some real attention paid to the actual mystery and characters actually trying to solve it rather than flailing around and coincidencing themselves into the answers. Although to be fair, there's a bit of that too, but only a little bit

Less successful for me, is the romantic aspect. There is no romance to speak of in this book, but there's clearly going to be because I haven't seen this much unresolved sexual tension since David and Maddy at Moonlighting. On the one hand, it's handled quite nicely in a lot of ways. These two have been partners for three years, they've come to depend on each other and understand each other, for good and for ill, and they are fast friends. That a period of intense stress and absolute dependence on each other to simply stay alive puts them both in a position of contemplating what more there could be is actually pretty natural. But for me, it just is a little too much "oh angst" in "... he thought to himself" asides, and given we are seeing alternating POV's here we get it from both sides. My tolerance for overt angst is pretty low (which is why I don't read YA), and personally I found it hammered home a bit hard. Given that every other reviewer on the planet seems to find it a swoonworthy luuuurve for the ages (or they hated the book), it's probably me, not the book

Overall, it's a solid fun read. Less angst and it would have got a 4 star. And I'll definitely read the next one. ( )
  krazykiwi | Aug 22, 2016 |
Inspectors Ritsuko and Mikani work for the CID in Dorstaad, and one night they are asked to look into the disappearance of a girl from one of the influential Houses on the island. Their investigation takes them into the theatre world, and they soon learn the name of a potential suspect. But then the girl's body is found next to a mysterious machine, and the whole affair becomes highly political. When Mikani and Ritsuko's enquiries end in dead end after dead end, and a second body is found, they are taken off the case. Can they prevent a third murder and catch the perpetrator?

This was a very enjoyable read, with great world building and strong characters, even though the dialogue and the inner monologues appeared a bit clunky at times. The novel successfully mixes elements of murder mystery, fantasy, magic and steampunk and blends them into a cohesive whole, with the plotting rather tense in places. I was never quite sure where the storyline was heading -- though there were one too many coincidences -- and the interpersonal relationship between the two lead characters was engaging, if slightly predictable. The ending leaves several plot threads open for the sequel, which I will definitely want to read in the not-too-distant future. ( )
  passion4reading | Nov 27, 2015 |
I really enjoyed this fantasy mystery. I like the setting in a world powered by steam and magic. And I liked the characters who are police inspectors. Janus Mikani has a mysterious power inherited by some long-forgotten Ferisher ancestor. Celeste Ritsuko is the first female inspector and uses logic and organization as her best tools. The two work really well together as partners.

Their current case has them investigating the deaths of young women who have some magic and have lots of political influence. The first is a daughter of one of the ruling houses. The second is a daughter of the Summer Clan who controls trade into and out of the city. They are under a lot of pressure to find the murderer and stop him before he kills again.

One of his potential victims is Aurelia Wright who is also a daughter of a high house and who left because of a dispute with her father. She is a dancer and choreographer at the same theater where the first victim worked as a costume designer.

One of the most interesting aspects of this story beyond the mystery was the changing relationship between Mikani and Ritsuko who find themselves becoming more personally interested in each other than they ever have been in their three years working together.

This was a great story and I can't wait to read SILVER MIRRORS which continues their adventures. ( )
  kmartin802 | Jun 16, 2015 |
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Haiku summary
Two deaths linked to two
infernal devices: a
job for CID.
(passion4reading)

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Janus Mikani and Celeste Ritsuko work all hours in the Criminal Investigation Division, keeping citizens safe. He's a charming rogue with an uncanny sixth sense; she's all logic--and the first female inspector. Between his instincts and her brains, they collar more criminals than any other partnership in the CID. Then they're assigned a potentially volatile case where one misstep could end their careers. At first, the search for a missing heiress seems straightforward, but when the girl is found murdered--her body charred to cinders--Mikani and Ritsuko's modus operandi will be challenged as never before. Before long, it's clear the bogeyman has stepped out of nightmares to stalk gaslit streets, and it's up to them to hunt him down. There's a madman on the loose, weaving blood and magic in an intricate, lethal ritual that could mean the end of everything.… (more)

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