Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction/Thriller
Length: 336 pages
Publisher: jimmy patterson
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: ARC from Amazon Vine
Rating: 4/5 stars
“Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.
Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.
The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.”
I got an ARC of this novel to review through the Amazon Vine program. This was a pretty typical YA steampunk type of novel (it has a bit more gore than most) but is still mainly investigative at heart.
The main heroine, Audrey, is straddling the world of a well-bred noble lady and the dark world of post-mortem dissection which interests her immensely. Audrey is a very typical YA steampunk heroine; she bridles at the concepts of what it means to be feminine and rails against the restrictions put on her by the men in her family.
I really enjoy this sort of novel and this type of heroine, so I ended up enjoying the book. However, there wasn’t a lot here to set this apart from other historical urban fantasies or steampunk YA novels out there.
The writing does flow well and there is some witty dialogue throughout. I enjoyed the character of Thomas who is apprenticed to Audrey’s uncle (her uncle is the one who dissects corpses). Audrey and Thomas spend many hours dissecting dead bodies together. Thomas was very intriguing and incredibly witty and a fun character to read about.
The “twist” at the end was pretty predictable, so no real surprises here. I did enjoy that this was a re-imagining of the Jack the Ripper incidents that happened in London. There is a nice afterward by Maniscalco in which she talks about the history of Jack the Ripper and how it relates to this book.
Overall a good YA steampunk novel with a lot of investigation and some gore. If you enjoy YA steampunk I would highly recommend The Baskerville Affair series by Emma Jane Holloway which is an amazing historical fantasy/steampunk series and better than this book.