Reading Level: Adult
Length: 464 pages
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: February 10th, 2015
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Electric Empire series
Source: eGalley from Edelweiss
Rating: 5/5 stars
I got a copy of this book to review through Edelweiss. This was a wonderfully dark steampunk story with an investigative urban fantasy feel to it. I loved the characters, the world, and the plot. The story was very engaging and incredibly fun to read.
Dr. Eliza Jekyll is the daughter of the notorious Henry. She is a doctor and works both as a crime scene investigator and as a doctor at the insane asylum Bethlam. She’s been helping to investigate a series of murders where women are found with their limbs chopped off, the murderer is being called the Chopper. Things get complicated when the Royal’s Captain Lafayette is put on the case as well, he has a side mission to prove that Eliza is a sorceress. Of course Eliza does have many dark secrets of her own, the main one being her Shadow persona…Lizzie. Eliza does a good job of keeping Lizzie locked away but once in a while Eliza has to take an elixir to let Lizzie out to play…
This book reminds a bit of the Penny Dreadful TV series; it incorporates a number of characters from literature during the Victorian time period in London. Also our main heroine is generally very composed as Eliza but when Lizzie comes out to play things get pretty dark.
Carr does a wonderful job of making Eliza and Lizzie two very different people. I really enjoyed reading about them both. Eliza is witty and smart and has all of these really nifty mechanical devices she likes to use. Eliza is struggling to make it as a woman doctor in an age where there just aren’t women doctors. Lizzie is all grit and sass and tough as nails and is a hoot to read about. The two have an interesting relationship together and I enjoy how they took care of each other and helped each other in their own ways.
The description throughout the book is fantastic, it is easy to picture settings and characters. There are a number of interesting side characters. Sweeney Todd is in here and he is delightful evil, yet intriguing. Captain Lafayette also has many dark and intriguing secretes. Then there is the mysterious man that sponsors Eliza’s lodging…
More than anything this book is just delightfully fun to read. It is gory and dark at points, but never over the top. The story does an excellent job of reflecting that Jack the Ripper era of London, but in an alternate history sort of way. Speaking of which this book is definitely set in an alternate London where there are Fey throughout the city who are seen as lesser citizens. I would have liked to see the world-building and history of this new and alternate London gone into a bit more, but that is really my only complaint about this book.
Overall this book was wonderful fun and I can’t wait to read the next book in this series. I love the characters in here and enjoy the setting of an alternate London. The book has a very investigative urban fantasy feel to it, but also has a lot of steampunk elements and some horror elements. I definitely recommend both to steampunk fans and urban fantasy fans. This is an excellent retelling/extension of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and it was great fun to read. I will definitely be reading more books in this series.
This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
– You Read How Many Books? Reading Challenge