Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.
I'm just trying to light up the world as much as I can one SciFi/paranormal/fantasy/space opera/time travel book at a time.
Are you a fan of National Treasure? Enola Holmes? Indiana Jones? If you said yes to even one of those then you're in the right place. This book kept a brisk pace right from the start and was loaded... seams bursting... with action... not a sluggish spot to be found. There were treasure hunts and betrayls. There was rare book burnings and avenging of said sacrilegious book defilement. There was mystical magical juju and Apocalypse averting action starring our main trio (Sam, Joana and Bennnett) accompanied (sort of) by a group of end of the world avoidders called Solas Fior or the Sacred Brotherhood (of uselessness). Together, this motley crew, led by our MC Sam- who happens to be REALLY smart, observant, patient, a bit naive and an all around Enola- seeks to destroy the Evil magic wielding Cabal.
There were puzzles, ciphers, curses, chases by car, train and on a steamer ship all topped off with a nefarious magical cherry on top. There was even a wee-smidgen of a PG romance replete with stolen glances and some risqué hand holding. It was tame and not the main focal point of the story which, for those who are adverse to mixing good clean sleuthing with raging hormones, might be glad to hear it.
Then there was the similie fiasco... or at least one disturbing one that stuck with me waaaay longer than it should have. I'm not 100% sure how I feel about "stone walls slick from the damp interior and pulsing like newly formed skin". Firstly, ewww... Secondly, is this even a thing? Maybe I'm out of touch but I find it hard to believe that new skin pulses, it might be damp like slick, slimy stone walls but pulse?? Unfortunately, at each natural pause my OCD kicked in... I HAD to know. My brain obsessively wandered back to that sentence over and over again, pondering its validity and trying to visualize it... again, yuck! Luckily the action kicked up a few notches and the mind yuck of that sentence faded into the background.
Then I looked down and saw my progress, I was already at the 92% mark which, in my opinion, happened way too quickly.There was a lot of esplaining to do and very few pages to do it in. Trepidation crept in... I was fairly certain that there was about to be a cliffhanger in my immediate future BUT I read on... warily... because stopping now was unimaginable. Anyway, I am happy to report that, after reaching the end, I was pleasantly sated... all was right with the world and a peaceful night's sleep was had by all... especially me because I got my hands on this sparkling gem.
This Magically Realistic Historical Fiction period piece was beautifully crafted, fun to read and thoroughly unputdownable. The characters were substantial and wholey wholesome. The clever scenarios our MCs faced were nicely navigated especially by our resident plot accelerator, Samantha Knox. Is there any conundrum she can't suss out? She and her Friends -> Lovers beau were a duo to rival Indiana Jones, Sherlock Holmes or Nicholas Cage (hehehe) AND they (luckily) had a third partner in crime... Joana, a snarky, street smart, outside of the box quick thinker. She's Sam's best friend, Bennette's devil may care sister and a vital addition to the perfectly nerdy yet capable team. The world developement was also nicely done. It was visceral, emotive, compelling and convincing.
Was there wiggle room left for a sequel? Yes!! And that's a good thing because I can definitely see this being a binge worthy series!
*** I was given a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ***