Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Review: The Iron Wyrm Affair


The Iron Wyrm Affair 
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Emma Bannon, forensic sorceress in the service of the Empire, has a mission: to protect Archibald Clare, a failed, unregistered mentath. His skills of deduction are legendary, and her own sorcery is not inconsiderable. It doesn't help much that they barely tolerate each other, or that Bannon's Shield, Mikal, might just be a traitor himself. Or that the conspiracy killing registered mentaths and sorcerers alike will just as likely kill them as seduce them into treachery toward their Queen. 

In an alternate London where illogical magic has turned the Industrial Revolution on its head, Bannon and Clare now face hostility, treason, cannon fire, black sorcery, and the problem of reliably finding hansom cabs. 

The game is afoot...


I see from GoodReads that I'm one of the few who actually really enjoyed this book?! I read a previous series by the author and it's very different from this so I was curious when I was sent this steampunk offering! I do love a bit of steampunk as you all know and I found this to be brilliantly written, and original. 

I was intrigued from the start of the book, and the book clips along at a fast pace. There's plenty of action to go with the intrigue and never a dull moment. I loved the world of the book, it's so easy to slip in to and to visualise the settings. The world is rich and fascinating and has the history to match it. I'm so curious about the history to the world and I need to know more! It's such an original and unique world, with plenty of quirks on the London we all know and...kind of love. Sometimes. When it's not rush hour. Among other things. 

I really enjoyed our cast of characters, I thought they had depth and where fascinating. I loved Emma, she doesn't take anyone's crap. She's strong and she's very proper and she's kinda badass. She's a Prime Sorceress as she's quite fond of pointing out over and over again. Her particular distinction is towards the...darker death side of magic. Emma's in charge and she very much knows what she's doing and what she's capable of, which made a nice change from the usual female MC's I've come across in books. I felt like we didn't get to know her quite so much as Archibald, but then I think Emma's supposed to be a bit of a mystery. I'm assuming some of her past is going to come out in a future book when they face off with the past. 

As for Archibald Clare, we got to know him quite well. He's a mentath and he's veeerrryyy Sherlock Holmes. He deduces a lot, and so Clare throws his thoughts out left right and centre, something Emma doesn't do so much. So we get a better grasp on Clare and his character and what he's like and so on. He's quite the opposite of Emma so I enjoyed watching them work together. He's very much like the Sherlock from the Robert Downey Jr movies and I wasn't surprised that was the authors inspiration. I loved that Clare wasn't afraid to get stuck in and get his hands dirty. Clare's point of view and his deductions, I found, gave us some additional insight in to Emma and her past and why she acts the way she does and so on, which I thought was an interesting way to let us get to know Emma rather than through her narrative. Like we get to know her, but not to the extent we get to know Clare.

While we only switch between Emma and Archibalds POV's, there's a third main-ish character I want to mention. Mikal. He's Emma's only shield and they have a little something something going on, it became clear. They also have quite the history by the sounds of it. I am so curious about Mikal and his past, but then I'm curious about all the characters pasts, not just our main three, but some of the secondary characters too. I did like Mikal, he's protective of Emma, a little bit dangerous and very strong and silent. 

I totally ship Emma and Mikal but I was really surprised by the relationship between the two of them. I kind of assumed that any romance/relationship would be between Emma and Archibald, but nope. I'm quite intrigued to see Emma and Mikal's relationship grow over the course of the next books because Emma's trying to fight any feelings she might have and Mikal may not even be aware of his. Plus there's their past. There's not any romance as such, I should point out, but rather it's pretty obvious Emma and Mikal like each other, and there's a little moment out of scene. 

I felt like the writing was authentic and rich, at points I did have to re-read because I'd lost something. Emma's point of view provides all the sorcery, and Clare as a mentath provides most of the steampunk aspects. He also talks everything out which was useful throughout the narrative. I enjoyed the switching between the two point of views because they each have a different personality and they each have different elements to their parts. The descriptions for the steampunk elements among other things where fantastic, the writing was vivid and imaginative. As I said the world is rich and the history is fascinating. The plot kept me engaged and intrigued, and it kept me guessing until the end with plenty of twists and turns. 

My one little gripe with this book is that I'm still so curious about the characters and their pasts. The book is fast paced and full of action, and I love that. But at some points as I was reading, past events particularly concerning Emma and Mikal, kept being mentioned and brought up. I'm not sure if I missed something completely, but I did feel at a point or two that I felt like I was reading a second book purely on that front. Because it was so obviously a first book, I was a bit confused. There where just so many allusions to past events that weren't fully explained unless I missed something, it was a bit frustrating at one point. I have a feeling we'll eventually find out as I'm sure there'll be a book that focuses on it. I just felt like it was a tad annoying as the book went on. 

All in all, I found this enjoyable and imaginative, and very original. I'm excited to see what adventure Emma and Archibald go on next, and I'm excited to see Emma and Mikal's relationship develop! 

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