Author: Lilith Saintcrow
Genre: Fantasy, Steampunk
Series: Bannon and Clare #1
Trade paperback, 320 pages
Published on August 7, 2012 by Orbit
Buy the Book
Emma Bannon, forensic sorceress in the service of the Empire, has a mission: to protect Archibald Clare, a failed, unregistered mentath. His skills of deduction are legendary, and her own sorcery is not inconsiderable. It doesn't help much that they barely tolerate each other, or that Bannon's Shield, Mikal, might just be a traitor himself. Or that the conspiracy killing registered mentaths and sorcerers alike will just as likely kill them as seduce them into treachery toward their Queen.
In an alternate London where illogical magic has turned the Industrial Revolution on its head, Bannon and Clare now face hostility, treason, cannon fire, black sorcery, and the problem of reliably finding hansom cabs.
The game is afoot..
I am a big fan of steampunk/fantasy, and The Iron Wrym Affair’s cover sucked me in. I’m thinking with a kick-butt cover like that, the story must be just as good. Wrong. The book is somewhat package and said to be a steampunk novel in an alternate Victorian England but I never got that. Yes, there were clockwork horses, the mechanical wrym, and gadget terms thrown at readers but I don’t think that qualifies as being ‘steampunk’. This is one of the most confusing books I have ever read, like to the point where the book has ended and I still am unsure of what I just read! This new world that Saintcrow created felt like it was thrown together, without a clear structure or explanation. It’s as if readers are supposed to understand everything that is presented in the book.
The characters were another problem; I didn’t feel the connection to them or even between them. Clare is suppose to be a great Mentath, a person that solves problem and puzzles using method of deduction but half the time it sounded like he was just rattling off on the obvious. I didn’t really need to read him stating what readers can see for themselves. Then we have Bannon, who has trust issue with her shield, Mikal (The man saved you countless of times, he isn’t going to murder you!) Yes, we know you’re the most powerful prime sorceress in Londinium and readers get reminded every few pages/or chapters which was quite vexing in my opinion.
Overall not my cup of tea, there were way too much going on and it confused me to the end. If you’re new the steampunk genre, or interested in it…try another book. This is a pretty bad representation of steampunk, and I wouldn’t want people to get the wrong idea of the genre because they read this book. I get authors creating their own world, and making up their own terms but this was just a big mess. If you still want to check it out, I advised saving your money by borrowing from a friend or from a library.
**Thank you Orbit for sending me a copy of this book for review**
FTC disclaimer: Orbit provided me with a copy of The Iron Wrym Affair, and in return I provide an honest review.