1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Charming and interesting, but probably 3 1/2 stars,
This review is from: The Iron Wyrm Affair (Bannon and Clare) (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!
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.