*This review is for the second book in a series, you can read my review of the first book here.
Overall Score: 7/10
Genre: Fantasy, Mystery, Steampunk
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Release Date: August 4, 2016
Source: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher (Curiosity Quills Press) in exchange for an honest review.
Book Summary (From GoodReads)
It’s been three months since mild-mannered Christopher Buckley began working with Olivia Faraday, the eccentric Deathsniffer. They’ve hunted killers, solved murders, and learned to work together. But their greatest challenges are yet to come…
As a brutal heat wave wracks an increasingly unstable Darrington City, someone is killing young priests. Worse, they are using bound elementals to do it. As Chris and Olivia contend with rogue spiritbinders and a church under siege, the clock ticks down toward the trial of Doctor Francis Livingstone, accused of orchestrating the fall of the Floating Castle and the death of thousands. Chris believes the doctor is innocent, but the tide of the conspiracy aligned against him is strong enough to wash away anyone who would stand for him.
How far is Chris willing to go to save the doctor? Can Darrington city survive the rival forces tearing it apart? And can Olivia find her first serial killer before another body drops?
Review – some spoilers
This novel picks up a few weeks after the ending of the first book in the series, The Deathsniffer’s Assistant. Chris is still dealing with the suicide of Fernand, his old family friend and mentor, as well as coming to terms with Rosemary’s departure for the country. This novel starts out with the mysterious murders of young priests. The clergy in this world are those without magic and yet the murders are being committed in locked rooms through the use of bound elementals, something no one in the clergy should be able to do.
Locked room mysteries are usually quite entertaining, however the mystery was not the focus of the novel. The investigation and the clues were interspersed between moments of Chris’ life outside of the investigation. While the multiple subplots worked for the previous book, I think that the author tried to accomplish too much in this sequel. Continuing the political aspect with the trial of Dr. Livingston, including Rosemary and her life in the country, as well as Chris’ exploration of his sexuality meant that not much time was spent on the investigation.
The growing romance between Chris and Will was an absolute delight to see. This was one of the few instances where I did not mind seeing a love triangle, mostly because of how understandable it was. Will is a wonderful character and we find out more of his backstory in this book (which made me like him even more). While I am rooting for the two of them to end up together, I applaud the author for allowing Chris to be confused and take the time to figure out where his heart belongs. Additionally, there was another couple revealed in the story that showed a new dimension to a secondary character and the society they live in.
Regarding the actual murder mystery, it wasn’t quite as interesting as the first. The investigations did reveal how individuals are categorized and the effects the testing had one those who were not gifted. The insular nature of the clergy and the variety of backgrounds made for some interesting revelations. However, the ending was rushed and was entirely unexpected. Had the novel been focused on building the suspense of the mystery, I think that the resolution would have had a much greater impact on the reader.
This book was enjoyable and a relatively quick read despite how slow certain parts were. I am very intrigued to see what overall story the author is building to and I will read any future installments in this series.