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I am greatly enjoying the Extraordinaries series for its strong female characters who use their intelligence and patience to solve the problems they are presented. McShane has done an excellent job of giving us stories that are thoroughly researched and with 'magic' systems fully explained and explored. The plot is nuanced, the characters rich, and the concept especially fascinating. The series is satisfying on so many levels.
Wondering Sight gives us a very different character and situation than in Burning Bright. Where the first book was an action/adventure on the high seas, Wondering Sight is a psychological thriller set in the noble estates of Regency England. The characters from the first book are referenced but do not make an appearance, though a recurring character in this book will be the heroine of book 3.
Each of the Extraordinary talents are given excellent thought as to how they should work as well as the important limitations so they are not all-powerful. With Wondering Sight, we have a seer as the main character, though she works with a bounder and shaper. Smartly, having extraordinary talents gives the women a bit more freedom/leeway than was historically possible in the milieu yet they are also confined in many ways. McShane does an excellent job of making it work.
In the first book, we learned quite a bit about the pirates and military of the era. With this book, we go deep into banking and counterfeiting as well as the haute ton. In book three, we visit the British Raj and the effects of colonization in India. Each of the topics is very well researched yet also without annoying info dumps - McShane seamlessly integrates her research with the story and never trumps one for the other.
But there is one elephant in the room with this second novel and that is the character of Sophia, our heroine. We get a nicely different person from Elinor in the first novel but Sophia can be very hard to like. She is stubborn to the point of detriment and her very strong willed personality can be frustrating. She's very unlikable as a result and I think readers may be put off a bit by her obtuse stubborness. Too much emphasis was on the cat and mouse game and how she was so obsessed with petty revenge/insult to her pride that she would physically injure herself and even those around her. As well, the romance felt forced since she was so difficult a person to really like.
But even with the above reservation, I still enjoyed Wondering Sight. I just wish the cover was better - it doesn't look Regency at all and didn't feel reflective of the Sophia character or the story's essence. I listened to the Audible version of the book and the narrator did an ok job - she wasn't distracting from the story but I didn't connect with her voice acting.
I love listening to Cat Goulds narration, but the story lost my attention quite a few times. Still very good though, highly recommend.