The Case of the Dragon-Bone Engine
by Galadriel Coffeen
Apparently this is the author’s debut novel and what a great read it is. The story held my attention throughout and I found myself not wanting the story to end. In Beka and Donovan (I have to say I would have loved at least a few chapters from his point of view) we have to finely crafted protagonists who I quickly found myself warming too. It took most of the book for us to witness real character growth, but since this seems to very possibly be the start of a series there needs to be something left in reserve for future books!
The setting has a wonderful Edwardian steampunk-with-magic feel to it and had subtle elements of oppression of both women and minorities, in this case fairies. The author carefully and cleverly included elements that reflected some issues of our modern world, adding depth and texture to the story but without unwelcome political overtones. The plot was very satisfying, the pieces of the mystery fit together well with the unwrapping of the mystery feeling unforced and believable. The author’s world building was also excellent, balancing perfectly the need for providing information without overwhelming, losing pace or becoming repetitive.
I liked that neither Beka, who is the sole narrator of the story, nor Donovan were perfect or too good to be true. Beka is unusual in that she is a trailblazer in terms of female emancipation and whilst she does feel empathy for the much mistreated fairies, she condemns those who feel breaking the law is the only way to fight this oppression. Her empathy only stretches so far!
I am very much looking forward to seeing more of this eminently delightful pair, along with their colleagues, friends and family. I recommend this to all fans of steampunk/gaslight fantasy.
Gaslamp Fantasy Mystery
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56171699-the-case-of-the-dragon-bone-engine
Dynamite couldn’t cause such a big explosion. It must be something worse, Agent Beka Finley is sure of it. As she and her partner investigate the devastating train crash, she’s convinced the train was sabotaged.
But everyone seems bent on persuading her it was an accident.
Just like the crash that killed her father six years ago.
Determined to protect more lives from the growing unrest between humans and fairies, Beka puts her own life and reputation on the line to find the truth. But that truth might lead to more questions than answers.
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