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I normally eat up this type of world; set in a Victorian England with lots of steampunk toys and plenty of supernaturals. This just didn't hold my attention. Very disappointing.
I liked Quirk's narration. Unfortunately, Saintcrow's attempt to describe Bannon and Clare's surroundings, the mystery they were trying to solve, and the undertones of the character's relationships were all a jumbled mess. It didn't come together like many other Saintcrow books I have read. My comprehension skills are just fine, but I found it hard to make sense of the plot at certain points. I think the story needed to be restructured before it should have been published.
In terms of the storyline itself, I was equally disappointed. For every positive aspect of this book, there is a negative one. The most obvious example I can think of is Clare and Bannon. Archibald Clare is observant, pleasant, and candid. Clare's antithesis is definitely Emma Bannon. She came off as self-centered, haughty, and callous. I will openly admit that it has a lot to do with the social/class system. Nevertheless, it was disturbing. The Prime/Shield relationship seems to be set up to breed narcissists and lapdogs. I liked the 'mentaths,' but sorcery world's caste-like power system offended my American sensibilities.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Sorcery, conspiracy, extreme mental prowess and hey STEAMPUNK!
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more action packed ride then The Iron Wyrm Affair. Indeed I was blown away by just how nonstop the pace was with this particular novel. Whenever I think of Victorian London I just picture things moving along at a nice steady civil and proper pace *chuckles* – but how wrong I was – and delightfully so! This alternate Victorian London has a rich world building that I’m happy to say I haven’t come across before and marvelous fun set of characters!
A high strung sorceress if there ever was one
Now when I say high strung I don’t mean that at all in a bad way. Simply that Miss Emma Bannon knows what she is about and she knows her status and capabilities. She’s a prime sorceress. Now get used to hearing that word Prime and prima (what her bodyguard Mikal calls her) because she focuses so much on her rank that a few times I found it rather annoying. Sorcerers always have ‘Shields’ that act as their protectors and go about with them everywhere because while Sorcerers can be extremely powerful – using their skills can keep them so occupied that it can leave them vulnerable to attack. Someone of her station would normally have 4 or more Shields but right now Emma only has the one, Mikal. Her relationship with him is a very interesting one indeed and I have to admit very unexpected for me since I thought if there was going to be any romantic interest in this novel that it would have been between Emma Bannon and Archibald Clare – but again I was delightfully wrong. But don’t expect romance because really there isn’t any – just a tense mutual interest you can see simmering at times on both sides.
Oy! I’m having some trouble attaching!
I wish that there were more downtime or more insight into Emma’s thoughts so I could have gotten to know her character better. Because of the pace of the book I felt like I didn’t get as attached to her as I did to Archibald Clare. Though the reason for this was likely because of the narrative style of the book. I really don’t believe we actually did get internal thoughts much at all. Except for Clare – since he spoke his thoughts aloud. This luckily enabled me to get behind Clare as a character because of his penchant for voicing his thoughts and opinions out loud (something I already noted as mostly lacking with Emma). This undoubtedly was my biggest sticking point about the book. I do think things moved so fast I didn’t get to know the characters as well as I should have but I think that could have been resolved if the style of narrative had been tweaked somewhat. I even went so far as to look up 1st, 2nd and 3rd person narrative styles to try to figure out which exactly this was being delivered in – but I’m still at somewhat of a loss but I think it was mostly 3rd person. If anyone else has read it and has a beat on it, do let me know lol.
Did anyone call for a Sherlock?
Have you ever read any Sherlock Holmes? Watched any of it? Ok admittedly I haven’t read any but I love the movies starring Robert Downey Jr – and I have to tell you that Archibald Clare reminds me so much of Sherlock Holmes in those movies with all of his logical deductions and his scrappiness. He is a mentath, and in this novel that is pretty much equivalent to a human logic machine. Give him a puzzle, riddle, mystery or what have you and he will undoubtedly be able to deduce all of the answers. He’s quite the character and not opposed to getting into a bit of scrappy action when need be which I wouldn’t have expected from a mentath – but then again I guess I should if I liken him to Sherlock aye?
There is some crazy business afoot
I’ve had quite the run around of a time keeping up with the squirrely plot line in The Iron Wyrm Affair but I mean that in the most endearing way. However there were times when there was soo much going on that I had to go back and reread or re-listen to parts entirely because I felt I had gotten lost in the deluge of descriptive information being given. The way the mystery unfolds in the storytelling kept me engaged and an active participant. More so during Clare’s parts probably because of Clare’s knack for talking things out from time to time. I thought the way that the elements of sorcery and steampunk were blended together were done quite nicely. The sorcery area focuses more on Emma’s character since she is the sorceress and that’s what we see whenever she is on the scene and of course the mentath Clare gets to tackle quite a few cool steampunk incarnations. The descriptions given of them are excellent! It’s overall action to the max that is in store for you with a very big mystery that needs unraveling, so much so that there was no telling what would happen next. I’m ready for the next Affair!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful