Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Artifact Hunters

Hey guys! 
So I'm going a bit unusual today with my review! So, as you all know my Kindle has been broken and recently I finally got it sorted so I'm currently dealing with a backlog of NetGalley books in between the ones I'm sent by publishers! 
I got asked to a review a book that was the fourth in a series and have been sent the others to read and review, SO, instead of doing individual posts for each book I thought I'd do one big post about the series! No matter what I tried, however, my Kindle refused to add the fourth and final book, but I thought I'd post the reviews of the first three anyway! So here we go! 

Nefertiti's Heart
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy 

Cara Devon has always suffered curiosity and impetuousness, but tangling with a serial killer might cure that. Permanently.

London, 1861. Impoverished noble Cara has a simple mission after the strange death of her father - sell off his damned collection of priceless artifacts. Her plan goes awry when aristocratic beauties start dying of broken hearts, an eight inch long brass key hammered through their chests. A killer hunts amongst the nobility, searching for a regal beauty and an ancient Egyptian relic rumored to hold the key to immortality.

Her Majesty's Enforcers are in pursuit of the murderer and they see a connection between the gruesome deaths and Cara. So does she, somewhere in London her father hid Nefertiti's Heart, a fist sized diamond with strange mechanical workings. Adding further complication to her life, notorious crime lord, Viscount Nathaniel Lyons is relentless in his desire to lay his hands on Cara and the priceless artifact. If only she could figure out his motive.

Self-preservation fuels Cara's search for the gem. In a society where everyone wears a mask to hide their true intent, she needs to figure out who to trust, before she makes a fatal mistake.

Okay, so knowing me and my love for all things Ancient Egypt did you really think I would pass up reviewing a book that has an Egyptian artefact in it? Let alone one that's full of steampunk and murder and said artefact making people immortal supposedly? I couldn't have been more excited to start reading this series and I freaking loved it. The first book has been everything I have ever wanted in a book and I'm sure the others are going to follow suit. Steampunk, artefacts, history, romance. EVERYTHING I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR. 

This book gave me some serious warm and fuzzies in regard to the romance between Nate and Cara, like seriously, so cute and so fuzzy. He's the right amount of protective as well, not like psycho protective but the level that is socially acceptable. Mostly. Sort of. Also they clearly have a connection and they work very well together as a couple. Anyway, Cara is an incredibly strong character and I connected with her straight away, she's kind of a great role model, at least I thought so. I mean she came back from what happened to her and takes no crap from anyone. She's my favourite kind of lead female. Just saying. She's completely badass and awesome because of her lack of effs about what the Ton think of her. 

You get introduced to the world and the world building is such that you disappear entirely in to the world, and the steampunk elements where perfect, pitched just right and really gave your imagination something to work with. They weren't so overcomplicated that you got confused or couldn't picture them, they where simple enough to picture and understand how they'd work but not to simple, and the steampunk elements weren't overdone or shoved in your face every five seconds.

I loved both Cara and Nate, both are interesting in their own ways, and I definitely want to know more about both of them and their backstories although we get a dose of Cara's in this first book and it's pretty brutal and I was impressed that it wasn't glossed over or romanticised and was laid bare. I was also impressed with how it was handled, Cara is talking to Fraser about it and she makes a comment about the victim and it gives you a pretty good, hard, true look at that particular time era no matter that this one is an alternate, it was very like that. It was also quite shocking when you think about the fact that the victim statement Cara makes could be true of today as well. 

I loved all of the history and myth surrounding the artifact, seriously, it's very rare that I come across a book that covers all my interests or things that I love in a book, I mean, this one has history, artifacts with a twist doing dodgy things, romance that gives you the fuzzies and on top of this, this one has some perfectly done steampunk elements and mystery and murder. As if there wasn't enough intrigue to start with, there's more and more as more threads are added to come together to make an intricate plot with lots going on to keep you occupied and for you to try and fail at working out so you end up being surprised at all the different plot twists. I feel like I've been waiting for this book and this series and it's really too awesome! 

Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy

Cara and Nate's fledgling relationship is threatened when Nate reveals that Cara's father sold her to him 3 years ago and they're actually married....he just needs her certificate on the papers to make it official. Cara is enraged, but before she can do anything soldiers come to the house and arrest Nate on charges of Treason and imprison him in the Tower of London. Nate has many secrets, and while being accused of passing intelligence to the Russians, it would appear he has something the Queen wants. Something he lied about and said he didn't have. A dragon egg. Except he also has 3 instead of the one he told the Queen he didn't have. Nate has days to deliver it to the Queen. However, the Queen isn't quite herself, she's wearing an Egyptian artifact called Hatshepsut's Collar, a necklace that is driving her mad. Mad with power and mad enough to amass an army and try to take over China. 

Tempted as Cara is to let Nate die on Tower Green after a shot drop and a sudden stop, she can't, because their connection would mean she would die as well. So enlisting the help of Loki the pirate and an underwater vessel designed by Da Vinci, they bust him out of the Tower. In order to figure out how to get the necklace from the Queen's neck before she plunges England in to a world war they may not win, Cara finds herself at the winter palace in St. Petersburg meeting the Tsar and participating in a hunt with nobles from all over. Cara also finds herself hatching Dragons on a pirate air ship, and in Siberia, constantly shadowed by the enemy who has far darker plans than anyone had guessed. 

Oh my God, I could re-read these books again and again. They're just so good, and this one is no exception, it's on a much larger scope than the previous, and it's so cinematic, you can picture everything clearly, and picture it on a big screen. 

The prose and world building are both atmospheric, and as I said, cinematic. The entire story is fast paced and flows smoothly from plot point to plot point and location to location, it's a whirlwind adventure. 

The characters are well written, and full of depth. Nate has a crazy amount of layers to him that slowly get revealed, and his protectiveness is just too cute and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. In fact the entire romance and relationship between Cara and Nate makes you get an attack of the warm and fuzzies! Cara is forever one of my favourite protagonists, she's strong and shes independent as well as being totally badass. 

The plot had lots of twists and turns, and it was a nice little rich web of a plot, with different threads weaved in to it, romance, action, mystery, intrigue and some history too! I love books set in this kind of universe, with the romance and artificats and history, so this series has fast become one of my favourites! 

Hatshepsut's Collar is a fast paced tale, filled with pirates, Egyptian artifacts, Queen Victoria and her Prince, mystery, history and romance! Full of twists and turns, and packed with cinematic world building, it's a read that will draw you in and refuse to let go!

Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy 

One... death by spontaneous human combustion is a rare act of God

Two... is surely a freakish coincidence

Three... well, that’s starting to look deliberate.

Cara's life has taken a change, she's settling in to married life in a house that makes Mausoleums look downright cheery and she's Queen Victoria's brand new artifact hunter. Meanwhile in London Inspector Fraser is investigating a series of strange deaths, ya know....death by Divine fire, strange, and it's certainly not a coincidence when it hits more than two. He finds himself having to enlist Cara's help to identify and locate the artifact that could be causing such horrifying deaths, but he hasn't quenched his desire to bring her husband to justice....awkward. 

Someone is determined to make sure decades old secrets stay buried and Cara has to figure out who's responsible before the case consumes her family (literally) and rocks the entire realm to its foundations. 

I LOVE THIS SERIES! Have a mentioned that lately!? It gets better and better and ugh. So much awesome. 
I love how we have two storylines, (Cara and Nate tracking down her father's artifact collection, and Fraser and said dodgy deaths) that perfectly converge in to one big, huge mystery that is pretty much impossible to work out for those of us who aren't Sherlock Holmes. The previous book was heavy on the adventure and the thrills, and light on the mystery, in contrast this installment is heavy on the mystery and I love a good mystery! 

This installment is also heavy on the character development! Like serious in depth look at certain characters! I've personally been waiting for this, we get more on Cara's family's past, which had me sitting there like "yaaaaaaaaassss", aaaand there's some insight in to Fraser and a load more of Nan and Nessy's history/friendship which is another "yaaaaaaaas", they even get their own chapters! And if that wasn't enough for you, there's even some back-story for the Queen!  

I still love Cara, she is still one of my favourite heroines, and I just really, really love her. She's so well written and I found myself having a strong connection to her again in this installment. 

I have failed to read the novella The Unicorns Tail so I was a tad bit confused with the whole Loki/Jackson/Amy thingy. But then I would imagine everyone's more on top of things than me and you all would have read it! Shame on me, I know! BUT I really love Loki, so I need to read the novella ASAP, I mean HELLO! Air pirate! What's not to love, more of him pleeaassee! 

It also has to be noted that the villain in this installment? Creepiest villain EVER. Truly shudder inducing and probably the best villain yet for that reason! As well as this incredibly creepy villain, we get new characters! Brick was my favourite, like seriously, best bodyguard ever! 

I love this series, it's unique, it has steampunk, romance and the supernatural, and characters so well written with plenty of depth, they're characters that will stay with you after you've left the vivid and atmospheric world, and trust me, you never want to leave! 

Nero's Fiddle is another fantastic installment in a series I stumbled upon quite by accident via a publishers newsletter, the series gets better and better as more little nuggets of information are leaked out each book and you get a better picture of the characters you love. Intricate with lots of historic detail, Nero's Fiddle is dark, cold and has disturbing depths, as well as lighter moments, it twists and turns and is everything we've come to love and expect from this series! I really can't wait for Moseh's Staff and I wish the series never had to end!

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