Madeleine Holly-Rosing’s deep dive into a steam-punk world is a remarkably well-written and well-edited novel that captures your imagination and draws you in. The rich imagery and detailed descriptions help create a well-organized universe where Boston is part of the Great States of America and the “Great Houses” of the American aristocracy run business and politics. The story is intricate and is filled with wonderful characters and gripping twists and turns. It is the entre into this world and is the beginning of a series of stories, but at the same time is self-contained enough to be a satisfying single story. It is a terrific read for both steam punk enthusiasts and novices alike.
The story starts out a little slowly as the author lays the foundations for the universe she has created and introduces most of the important characters. It takes some focus to follow everything in the first few chapters, but the author rewards persistent readers by slowly leading us down a crooked path into an interesting story that includes business intrigue, international politics, and the spiritual (metaphysical) realm of psychic powers, mediums, and the terrors that await in a dimension between our own world and something that only a gifted few can visit.
Along the way there are some characters who are described in great detail and who have deep back stories, but who don’t seem to be critical to this story. They will no doubt come back in future books to reward readers who remember them, but sometimes those loose ends are a bit of a distraction. And sometimes the authors rich details slow down the progress of the main story more than I might have preferred, but these are minor blemishes on what is generally a well-crafted narrative. The text is not marred by excessive typos or editing errors, and there are plenty of surprises waiting at the end of the story. Be ready to dive deeper into this world, because this book will make it hard to step away once you are inside.