Author: A.A. Aguirre
Genre: Steampunk, Fantasy
Series: Apparatus Infernum #1
Mass Market Paperback, 322 pages
Publication: April 30, 2014 by ACE
Source: Purchased myself
Hy Breasil is grimmer than it used to be.
Before the Architect closed the door, there were regular crossings, and a great war decimated both humans and Ferishers. The native fae who refused to treat with the invaders faded; their bodies withered and died, stranding them as hungry, angry spirits that haunt the countryside.
That means there’s always trouble brewing in Dorstaad.
Janus Mikani and Celeste Ritsuko work for the Criminal Investigation Department, keeping citizens safe from things that go bump in the night. He’s a hardboiled cynic with an uncanny sixth sense; she’s determined to justify her promotion as the first female detective in her division. Together, they’re trying to keep a black tide from drowning the city.
But when the second body surfaces, murdered with the same type of infernal device, the entire CID must face the truth. There’s a madman on the loose, twining magic and blood… and only Mikani and Ritsuko can unravel the intricate, lethal conspiracy before the Royale killer completes his macabre plan, unleashing old, forbidden magic on an unsuspecting populace. If the maniac succeeds, it could mean the end of everything…
I bought Bronze Gods for primarily two reasons; the cover and because it is half written by Ann Aguirre. I have only read one of Ann’s series (Corine Solomon series, the first book) but it was enough to know that I’ll probably like everything else she writes. You’re probably wondering if I even read the synopsis…I probably did but truthfully I don’t even remember it because when I started Bronze Gods my initial reaction was there’s fae in this book?! But I am so glad I bought this book because it exceeded my expectations yet I am kicking myself for reading it a year after I bought it. What was I thinking?
The world building was done beautifully. The authors created such a vivid world, with realistic characters that you can’t help but emotionally empathize and connect with. The writing was superb, there were no detail too small to describe; from a description of a small loose button to the dark and grim atmosphere of Dorstaad. I was fully immersed into this wonderful new word that Ann and Andres created. I never once found myself questioning the make-up of the world/or its foundation. There were times I was a bit confused as to what was what because there were flashback/dreams sprinkled throughout the book (the time before the gates were closed to the faes) but I was able to make sense of things as the book progressed. And more so when the book concluded with most of my questions explained.
While the world building was incredible, the best part is actually the two leads. Bronze Gods is centered around two CID: Criminal Investigation Department inspectors, Ritsuko and Mikani who are working on a murder case. Someone or something is going around murdering daughters from prominent/Ferishers houses. I was a little worried that our two lead characters would be bland and boring…the whole stereotypical idea of two detectives with the label ‘one is the brain, the other the brawn of the operation’ is used synonymously when it comes to the Steampunk genre (most of the time, when it has the crime noir element). However, a couple of chapters in; I was assured that Mikani and Ritsuko are nothing of the sorts. Stereotypical that is. Both characters have so much depth, with rich history/background that made them come alive on paper. I like that they weren’t perfect either. Ritsuko is clever, organized, always poised while Mikani is the complete opposite. It was interesting to see two completely different type of people counterbalance one another perfectly. I love how the two worked together, their friendship and overall admiration for one another. They always had each other’s back no matter the situation; they were even willing to die for each other. It went beyond just partners, it was more…It was sweet. As you can guess, their work/friendship-relationship evolves over the course of the book into something more, a slow burning sexual tension between the two. Both Ritsuko and Mikani feel something but are too scared to risk the special bond they already have. I mean something is definitely there, they feel it and the readers feel it…it just a matter of if or when will they act on these new feelings. Ritsuko and Mikani’s work/friendship-relationship had me thinking of Hank and Charlie (Charlie Madigan series by Kelly Gay, an awesome UF series I love). I LOVE Hank and Charlie, they are one of my all-time favorite lead couple/duo and Ritsuko and Mikani are very reminiscent of them…so it comes as no surprise that Ritsuko and Mikani just landed a spot on my favorites list. They are definitely characters readers will fall in love with and will root for…I already am.
Overall Bronze Gods was an excellent debut by wife and husband team, Ann and Andres Aguirre. It is everything a Steampunk should be; excellent world building, characters, and mystery plot and a dash of romance. The ending wrapped up nicely answering questions to the current problem (for the most part) but also leaves an opening for the next book, SILVER MIRRORS which comes out next month! I am super excited and can’t wait to see what happens next with Mikani and Ritsuko! I loved this book way more than I expected, and would highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys Steampunk, PNR and UF…not a series to be missed. Read it, you won’t regret it!