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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A successful new beginning
I absolutely love reading a brand new book in a brand new series. I rarely ask for books from The Library Thing, unless I really, really want one, but I saw this, put in for it, and then forgot I put in for it. Then it came in the mail - unfortunately it didn't come in time for me to post about it before the release date, but it's close. The Iron Wyrm Affair is one of...
Published on 11 Aug. 2012 by Mardel

versus
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ennoi'ing wurdes
This is a steampunk tale with magic and logic (although the latter is really a form of anti-magic), set in an alternate history England. As promised in the other reviews, the conclusions of the main characters aren't spelled out to the reader, which is a pleasant change from many similar books and adds a little spark.

Emma ("I am not a lady") is a rather...
Published on 3 Nov. 2012 by Paul Lynch


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A successful new beginning, 11 Aug. 2012
This review is from: The Iron Wyrm Affair: Bannon and Clare: Book One (Paperback)
I absolutely love reading a brand new book in a brand new series. I rarely ask for books from The Library Thing, unless I really, really want one, but I saw this, put in for it, and then forgot I put in for it. Then it came in the mail - unfortunately it didn't come in time for me to post about it before the release date, but it's close. The Iron Wyrm Affair is one of Lilith Saintcrow's newest novels, and it is unlike anything she's ever done before. Although - I know she's written some paranormal romance that I haven't read (the Watcher series- I think they're romance, anyway). I have read her two urban fantasy series and they are dark urban fantasy, both of which I enjoyed very much. If you're looking for something like that, you're not going to find it here. However, this is a very well written steampunk novel. There's magic, clockwork horses, altered people, Victorian setting and dialogue...Saintcrow has done a wonderful job of writing something completely different.

The Iron Wyrm Affair is the first of the Bannon and Clare series. Bannon is a sorceress, a very powerful one. Clare is a mentath - a man who MUST use his brain to solve patterns, problems, etc. or his brain will go mad. They live in an alternate historical London - it's actually called Londinium. In this version of history - there are sorcerers, prime (the most powerful of sorcerers) witches, gryffons, etc. It's a very rich world. As the story unfolds, you learn a bit more about the world and it's history.

Mentaths and sorcerers have been found murdered and Bannon is in charge of not only keeping Clare alive, but finding out just what the threat is, and who the real threat is ultimately for.

Lilith Saintcrow has once again delivered a novel that is full of plot, believable and fitting dialogue, rich environments (not $$ rich, rich in atmosphere) and mysterious pasts of characters. There is plenty of action, and just the barest tease of relationships. There is danger and twisty plots. A very enjoyable book - and I am looking forward - very much - to the next novel in the series.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ennoi'ing wurdes, 3 Nov. 2012
By 
Paul Lynch (UK) - See all my reviews
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This is a steampunk tale with magic and logic (although the latter is really a form of anti-magic), set in an alternate history England. As promised in the other reviews, the conclusions of the main characters aren't spelled out to the reader, which is a pleasant change from many similar books and adds a little spark.

Emma ("I am not a lady") is a rather overpowered magic user, and appears to be highly placed. It seems that she could do anything she wished, including solving the plot that this novel is based around, with a click of her fingers. I feel that she tells me rather more about the author than I need to know. Clare (male, surname) is a poor copy of Sherlock Holmes; the abilities without the character. The other principal characters are rather flat - Ludo, the Italian assassin who switches accents at the drop of a hat, and the rather forgettable "Bavarian genius".

The world has a history, as do the main characters, none of which is fully spelled out. This is probably a good thing, as we are given enough to drive the main parts of the plot. The main annoyance was that the story is largely set in a London that corresponds very closely to our own, with similar, but different for absolutely no reason, place names; the setting is a steampunk Victorian era. The history of this world obviously diverged a long time ago (I would guess pre-Roman), in the "Age of Fire" before the "Age of Bronze", and yet we are expected to accept the setting. The changes to names (St Jemes Park, or Victrix for Victoria, etc) are unnecessary given that we accept the setting, and so manage to annoy.

Unless you enjoy this authors other works, one to skip. Extra star for world building and background; two each deducted for annoying spelling and flat characters.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 4.5/5 Meticulous attention to detail, very enjoyable!, 28 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: The Iron Wyrm Affair: Bannon and Clare: Book One (Paperback)
Leave it to Lili to venture into steampunk and make her first book the most steampunkish I've read this year. She just doesn't do anything by halves.

Unbelievable, meticulous attention to detail. Clockwork horses and altered mechanically, seedy criminals of the underworld, reincarnated Britannia in each queen of England, here be dragons, griffins... and rise and fall of sorcerous forces each dawn and dusk.

The trademark of Miss Saintcrow's writing is still here, - extremely strong main heroine, Emma Bannon, a sorceress and Prime of the most dangerous of magic, Death magic, serving the Queen herself and trying to protect her by any means possible.

Emma crushes and subjugates everything and everyone in her way, she is destructive force of nature, paranoid and afraid that her own warrior-protector, her magical Shield, Mikal, is ready to kill her and works beside her back.

Archibald Clare is an entirely different matter. He is not an equal partner to Emma and there is certainly no romantic spark between them. He is a mentath, a person whose brain has to find logical connections in everything, even the most minuscule parts. He is like Sherlock Holmes on crack, he will go mad if his brain is not occupied by a complicated task.

But someone is killing mentaths one by one and taking their body parts, so Emma's task is to protect Archibald and at the same time work with him on uncovering a multi-layered conspiracy which threatens the foundations of British Empire.

It's a fantastic adventure, but it took few chapters for me to get used to the overabundance of detail and pretty rigid main heroine. However, once you warm up to this book, it really gets to you. There is sly humour and well-rounded characters, - Mikal, desperate to gain his sorceress's trust, Clare, curious and analytical about everything, Ludovico, a grubby assassin, who is tasked with Clare's protection and Emma herself, whose true nature shows through her actions towards those she protects, not through her cold and ruthless talk.

I am extremely excited to know more about the world Lili created and looking forward to Emma and Archibald's further adventures. Recommended to all fans of steampunk, especially Iron Seas series by Meljean Brook, and Miss Saintcrow's writing style in general.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Charming and interesting, but probably 3 1/2 stars, 4 Nov. 2012
I liked this book very much, because it is a cross of my two favorite genres, fantasy and mystery. It is set in an alternate victorian-era London and is best described as steampunk meets Sherlock Holmes. It is well written, the world-building is superb and the plot enthralling. It is the first of a series,so we are not told all the answers to the puzzle or all the characters' secrets, but it stands very well alone.

The balance between sorcery and deduction is not as perfect as the summary would make one think; magic does tend to overrun this world, being so much more impressive and powerfull than logic, and Bannon, the sorceress, is very much in the forefront. She is more fleshed out, has more power, authority and knowledge and generally dominates the story in comparison to her supposed partner, Clare. He is less engaging and interesting and appeares to be in many ways her tool; not quite a sidecick, but very much a junior partner. I wouldn't call this a defect of the book exactly, but, since I was eagerly anticipating the "detective" part of the story, I was a bit disappointed. Also, I would have to agree with a previous reviewer: the changes in names were completely unnecessary and got mildly annoying. The only serious problem I had with the book was with the "love-interest". Beware, mild spoilers ahead!

SPOILERS

Sorcerers of Emma Bannon's class have Shields, human bodyguards who are pledged to their service and protection, among whose duties appear to be sexual services to their sorcerer. Bannon has a kind of relationship with her Shield, decidedly unhealthy, because there is such an unequal distribution of power between them. Yes, he seems to want her, even be somewhat obsessed with her, but the fact remains that she has all the power in their relationship: he has to obey her in all things and, if he leaves her service, he will be killed. And there is a very disturbing scene, in which she appears to inflict some kind of physical punishment to him by means of her magic. I found this whole subplot distasteful, but it really is a very minro part of the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than Dante Valentine!, 22 Aug. 2012
By 
Paul (Worcestershire) - See all my reviews
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Lillith Saintcrow's take on SteamPunk, which she says is unintended, has produced a fascinating world in which the spirit of Britannia, the Queen, is reincarnated in a child when the old Queen dies. Clockhorses, a blend of flesh and mechanicals, pull the hackney carriages (when you can find one) through a strange city as the blended Flashboys serve crime lords, and the Sorceress Prime Emma Bannon rescues the Mentath Archibald Clare from boredom as she investigates to the death the conspiracy against Her Majesty... There's never a dull moment in this action-packed novel, as Bannon blasts her way from Londinium to Wales and back. The love interest is provided by Mikal, Bannon's Shield, and the characters are well-drawn with their own secrets, even the logical and emotionless Clare.
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1.0 out of 5 stars dnf - after two attempts, just horrible characters, 12 May 2015
This review is from: The Iron Wyrm Affair: Bannon and Clare: Book One (Paperback)
This was my second attempt at reading this book - the first time I managed only 10% - this time I was determined but reached the 50% mark and decided my time is too valuable for subjecting myself to bad books of this calibre.
Let's start with the story. It was a mess. The first chapter or two there were times when I completely failed to understand what exactly what was happening, to whom and why.
Lots of action happens (again rarely know what is actually happening) even worse action happens b/w chapters that we are not privy too - suddenly Emma is knifed, though the page before she was kicking ass and winning, it was weird.
Worse the author has settled on a technique of throwing a plethora of descriptive words at every page - to the detriment of the story. Seriously I don't want to read a three page description of the carriage and the ride to somewhere - instead tell me what the hell is going on.
Emma is seemly omnipotent but then several times is at death's door yet within hours she is up and once again back to full power - which means there are no stakes / nothing really at risk, boring.
Clare is described as being ugly with thinning hair....? Ummm, okay so no sexual tension is ever going to happen b/w these two.
I tried... I honestly did... twice! But enough is enough.
Don't like any of the characters, the way they distrust one another (needlessly as they have little choice but to share all the info / count on them to protect them) but the author has decided to use all the mistrust etc as a way to draw out the story - seriously? Who else is there for them to trust? Instead we have to deal with a lot of silly thoughts / with holding important info and road blocking - even though there is no alternative for them but to eventually trust each other - eye roll.
Putting a fork in this one - I'm done
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating first in series, 18 Nov. 2012
By 
Marleen (Cavan, Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Iron Wyrm Affair: Bannon and Clare: Book One (Paperback)
Emma Bannon is a powerful sorceress, in fact she is a Prime; magic doesn't come more powerful than hers. Archibald Clare is a Mentath, someone with incredible observational and deductive powers. Emma is in the service of Victrix, the young queen of England and vessel of the god-spirit Britannia. When Mentaths all over Londinium are being killed, Emma is send to Clare in order to keep him safe and recruit him to her quest to find out exactly what is going on. Combining their powers of deduction and sorcery soon brings them to the conclusion that it is the queen herself as well as her whole empire that are under threat. The ensuing battle will take everything Bannon and Clare have and take them beyond what they thought possible. They and their allies are few against many and powerful enemies. And failure is not an option.

Set in an alternate London where illogical magic has changed the course of the industrial revolution, this is a world filled with mechanical marvels and mysterious forces. Magic, in this world, is quite common and widely used, which is a bit of a problem for our hero Mentath who finds his logical mind can't cope with the illogical craft and its consequences. This is a London with clock-work horses, altered humans, dragon spirits and areas where the "normal" rules of nature don't apply.

Apart from Bannon and Clare there are a few other and very interesting characters. Mikal is a Shield, one whose sole purpose is to protect their Prime. And while Bannon is close to her solitary shield, she is not quite sure she can trust him. There is also an Italian mercenary, hired to protect Clare and a German inventor who seems to get really angry only when he's forced to miss his breakfast.
In fact there is an awful lot going on in this book. The reader is introduced to new characters operating in a freshly created and fantastical setting, surrounded by powers (both magical and logistical) that don't exist in our everyday world either. And all these novelties form the centre of a mystery and adventure that takes off on the very first page and rarely stops to catch a breath. The reader constantly finds themselves caught between the urge to speed along in order to find out what happens next and the need to go slowly so that they can take in all the details and form a good picture of the fictional world in all its fantastical detail. And this is a balance that the author almost finds in this book. I did find myself a bit overwhelmed by the amount of new information I had to absorb occasionally. There were times when my need to understand the setting took me right out of the story. Having said that, as the story continued and the world became better established it became ever easier to stay caught up in the adventure and stay there.

This story is told from both Bannon and Clare's perspective in alternating chapters and this means that more often than not the reader finds themselves leaving one character at a cliff-hanger moment only to follow the other until they reach their own. I don't always enjoy this way of telling a story but I found it worked quite well in this book, especially since the author never pictures the same scene twice but from different perspectives.

Both Bannon and Clare are fascinating main characters. Clare is obviously strongly based on Sherlock Holmes (up to and including his steepled hands resting against his chin when he is thinking and his use of certain stimulants), although you won't find Dr. Watson's twin on these pages. Emma Bannon is, as far as I know, an original creation by this author. And as such she is a triumph; very strong and independent she is also insecure when it comes to certain matters. Operating in a field that forces her to face evil, violence and destruction she still manages to come across as a true woman. It is going to be interesting to see how these characters, and their side-kicks, develop in future books.

Although the first part of this book did feel a bit like hard work at times I really enjoyed my introduction to this magical world and Bannon and Clare. And I can't help feeling that I would probably enjoy any sequel to this book even more. Without having to introduce the reader to a whole new world, the author will be able to concentrate more on the adventure and characters in any subsequent books, and that should turn them into true page-turners.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Charming and interesting, but probably 3 1/2 stars,, 8 Nov. 2012
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This review is from: The Iron Wyrm Affair: Bannon and Clare: Book One (Paperback)
I liked this book very much, because it is a cross of my two favorite genres, fantasy and mystery. It is set in an alternate victorian-era London and is best described as steampunk meets Sherlock Holmes. It is well written, the world-building is superb and the plot enthralling. It is the first of a series,so we are not told all the answers to the puzzle or all the characters' secrets, but it stands very well alone.

The balance between sorcery and deduction is not as perfect as the summary would make one think; magic does tend to overrun this world, being so much more impressive and powerfull than logic, and Bannon, the sorceress, is very much in the forefront. She is more fleshed out, has more power, authority and knowledge and generally dominates the story in comparison to her supposed partner, Clare. He is less engaging and interesting and appeares to be in many ways her tool; not quite a sidecick, but very much a junior partner. I wouldn't call this a defect of the book exactly, but, since I was eagerly anticipating the "detective" part of the story, I was a bit disappointed. Also, I would have to agree with a previous reviewer: the changes in names were completely unnecessary and got mildly annoying. The only serious problem I had with the book was with the "love-interest". Beware, mild spoilers ahead!

SPOILERS

Sorcerers of Emma Bannon's class have Shields, human bodyguards who are pledged to their service and protection, among whose duties appear to be sexual services to their sorcerer. Bannon has a kind of relationship with her Shield, decidedly unhealthy, because there is such an unequal distribution of power between them. Yes, he seems to want her, even be somewhat obsessed with her, but the fact remains that she has all the power in their relationship: he has to obey her in all things and, if he leaves her service, he will be killed. And there is a very disturbing scene, in which she appears to inflict some kind of physical punishment to him by means of her magic. I found this whole subplot distasteful, but it really is a very minor part of the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some nice ideas, but..., 6 Mar. 2013
By 
Karen Dewson (Worcester, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Iron Wyrm Affair: Bannon and Clare: Book One (Paperback)
I really wanted to like this book. It fits into the steampunk, Victoriana, mystery category and I love the idea of clockwork horses! But it's soooo slow - I got about a third of the way through and nearly gave up but, after re-reading the reviews on Amazon I thought I must be missing something so, persevered. It's not very often that I don't finish a book - this is one of them.

It's not clear, but this might be a young adult book - that might explain some things but, still it could be so much better.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid new title in a brand new world for Lili., 1 Aug. 2012
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Iron Wyrm Affair: Bannon and Clare: Book One (Paperback)
Whenever a favourite author starts a new series, I'm always a little apprehensive. Not that I doubt, their skills, but it's the feat that the characters that I loved from the previous series will leave a huge gap in my reading pleasure. In this new saga from author Lilith Saintcrow the reader gets a tale that brings the best of Steampunk Victoriana with a touch of magic. Whilst the lead in this title is a hard kickass lady, it's clear from between the lines that our lead heroine started out a lot lower in social class than where she currently is, throw in a traumatic event (that happened previously to the title) alongside a tough case that forces her to face demons and her own nagging emotional conflict and all in it's a satisfactory story.

Add to this a host of supporting cast members that not only help to flesh the world but add their own threads into the tapestry and all in it's a satisfactory read. Finally whilst I did enjoy this book I was a little weary of just how powerful the principle player was, that is something that is going to have to be carefully managed in future instalments otherwise it will make the whole series a little one sided.
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The Iron Wyrm Affair: Bannon and Clare: Book One
The Iron Wyrm Affair: Bannon and Clare: Book One by Lilith Saintcrow (Paperback - 2 Aug. 2012)
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