Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Book Review: The Kaiser Affair

The Kaiser Affair

By:  Joseph Robert Lewis

Publisher:  Copper Crow Books

Publish Date:  March 6, 2013

Format:  ebook, 244pgs

Genre:  Fantasy, steampunk touches

Series:  2st book in The Drifting Isle Chronicles,
Mihir of Fantasy Book Critic reviewed - The Machine God
The Quillery reviewed Black Mercury
I will update with links to reviews.
*Note - each book is by a different author set in this world and can be read in any order.

Recommendation:  Mystery, fighting...and the chase is on in an unexpected and new world.  A blend of fantasy wonder and steampunk, worth a read.

When a master thief escapes from prison, detective Bettina Rothschild must put him back behind bars before the scandalous fiasco destroys the Ministry of Justice.  Her investigation leads from decaying cemeteries where ravens conspire to warehouses where wondrous machines are built in secret, and even to the fabled Drifting Isle above the city of Eisenstadt where an ancient tomb hides a deadly secret.

The relentless chase proves taxing for a young woman who relies on her cane and her steamcarriage to get about, but that's where a good husband steps in.  While Bettina picks locks and interrogates suspects, her beloved Arjuna defends her from the most brutal and bizarre assassins in Eisenstadt.

But as the clock ticks down, Bettina finds too many questions till remain.  How did the thief escape from prison?  How can he afford to hire so many killers?  And why would he go to the Drifting Isle only to steal a giant beetle?

First Sentence:
Bettina Rothschild stepped down from the steam carriage, carefully balancing her weight with one gloved hand on her gleaming black cane while her other hand held her hat in place against the stiff evening breeze.

Purchase At:
*Note: You can go purchase this book, but Joseph has made his books free on his site. If you enjoy and feel moved, he has a Donate button.

My Thoughts and Summary:
Partners on the job, and in life, Bettina Rothchild and Arjuna Rana race through their home town, Eisenstadt, on a wicked chase.  The Ministry of Justice's Minister, Minister Kaiser, has an urgent and sensitive case for them... her brother, Ranulf Kaiser, has stealthy escaped prison.  He only had twenty-three days until his release.  Why?  They don't know.  Also Gisel Kaiser's appointment as Minister will be under review in two weeks.  To keep her in position things need to stay quiet, or she'll be replaced with a politician with no criminal investigation background.  The duo work the case through their home town, in all areas with dangerous thugs of that aren't Ranulf's usual partners, to the drifting Isle above the city and back again, with the help from a talking raven looking for a crow who attacked him.  And the secret dark magical society, the Shadow's on their tail pushing the stop of visitors to the Isle.

Action, fights, guns, carriage chases, and mystical floating islands.  All part of an amazing world with unexpected turns as to what we will see next in this world.  Even a touch of what feels like magic as well.  So many great elements blended together in one little package.  There is a feel of steampowered as well!

Bettina and Arjuna are exactly what I've been looking for in a couple.  Refreshing.  They have a "proper" banter between them, teasing and flirting...and married!  There are always things that couples need to discuss, and that comes to light here - every marriage is work.  But they are not the couple that falls apart and teases us on whether they will be together or not.  I love their relationship.  They work together, tease each other, and compliment the other both on the job and in comments.

Arry, as Bettina calls Arjuna, seems to be the "muscle" of the pair.  But not only that, hes an amazing shot and quite the speed reader - Bettina calls him her little library.  He's nothing the prejudice of the town have of his race, a Dumastran.  Bettina is tough and has her fair share of fights, however, her ankle slows her down.  She's a strong woman and brilliant as well.

I'm taken with this world.  A mysterious drifting isle floating in the sky, which no one (until now) can get to.  One inventor has created an autogyro that flies and claims to have visited, show this is a time of the steel age and other crafty devices.  This seems to be the focus of another...to get whatever is up there.  We have the Shadow, secret society, that seems to have dark magical abilities.  Birds of most kinds talk!  Yes TALK!  And when we do finally set foot on the mystical drifting isle...well, the way of the world there is different, and magical feeling.

Definitely my kind of world.  Sometimes I felt the descriptions were drawn out, but at the same time they drew me to the world as well.

I felt for the duo as they came so close a few times to getting their man, but it happens especially with all the help he has.

I'm definitely curious to read the additional books set in this world.  The series is written by different authors in their own parts of the world, but I'm curious to continue with them to see what else I can learn and get lost in with this diverse world.

This is the 2nd book in The Drifting Isle Chronicles
The Quillery reviewed 1st book Black Mercury
Mihir of Fantasy Book Critic reviewed 3rd bookThe Machine God

*Note - each book is by a different author set in this world and can be read in any order.

*I read this for a group review from a blogger friend.


The Reader said...

Thanks for the review Mel, I'm about halfway done with this one and your review is spot on about the banter between Bettina and Arjuna. This is a fun story so far :)


Gina said...

I do like that cover...the splash of color from the purple outfit to the ray gun (I think that's what it is...^_^) add a little something extra. Will definitely be recommending it on as it might be a smidge too much fantasy for my own tastes...thanks for sharing!

Melliane said...

what a beautiful cover. It's seems like we have a lot of action, it's fun!!! I need to read the iron wyrm affair which seems in the same genre.

Blodeuedd said...

I am feeling a bit meh about steampunk these days, but that is mostly cos all steampunks books are too not steampunky enough

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Oh I like the last line where you said it could be read in any order. :) I also like the sound of this one. Reading a steampunk right now and I may be in the mood for more!

Victoria Hooper said...

This sounds like a really promising series - I'm intrigued that each book is by a different author. The setting sounds great (and that cover is gorgeous too!) :-)

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) said...

There's nothing like a good carriage chase to make a girl's day. This sounds like SO much fun. I'm adding it to my tbr right now.
Great review!

Jennifer @ Bad Bird Reads said...

I love books with fighting and guns. It's like my weakness.

Sharron said...

Sounds like a fun read. I haven't tried Steampunk yet, I may give it a go.

Unknown said...

"each book is by a different author set in this world and can be read in any order." That's new, they have the same setting but they made different stories and they don't necessarily connect? Interesting, I'd have to read them to see how that works out

Unknown said...

Actually, Mel has the books slightly out of order, chronologically speaking. Black Mercury is first, followed by The Kaiser Affair and then The Machine God. :)

Rivie blue, the books reference one another, but in such a way that you don't have to have read the others; they're not sequels, you don't have to know a lot of backstory. In fact, these first three books in the series have a lot of overlapping events.

Future books may coincide with these three, take place before them, or take place after them. The plan is for a reader to open any DIC novel--the first three and any subsequent--and start there.

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Oo, MeiLin Miranda, thank you! I didn't realize I had the books out of order. Ga! Goodreads goofed again. ;) Thank you, I'll get that fixed up.

Thank you for stopping by! I love the idea of these books and the world you all have created here!

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Hey Mihir! Thank you greatly for the chance to read and enjoy this one. :) I'm looking forward to reading more in this world. And I really did enjoy Bettina and Arjuna. It was great to find a couple that is strong.

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Gina R. The cover is amazing! And really relates to the story. :) And thank you greatly for sharing the story with others. :)

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Melliane, I have Iron Wyrm Affair on my shelf beside me too! I need to get to it. This one was a great read as well. :) Hope you get to give it a try one day. :)

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Blodeuedd, I have to agree with you on the books having a lack of steampunky in them. This one has a blend of steam and fantasy. It's not all one or the other, but is a nice blend. I really enjoyed it for that. :) And it's free on the authors site if you want to try it. ;) Thank you!

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Melissa (B&T) LOL!! You and reading out of order. ;D LOL! Yes, this is a perfect series for you. Oo, do hope you pick this one up. ;) Thank you!

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Victoria Hooper, I have yet to read the rest of the books, but I enjoyed myself with this one. Hope you get to give it a try. :) Thank you!

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) I agree! A great carriage chase. :D It was fun, and glad you added it to your tbr pile. Hope you enjoy it. ;)

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Me too Jennifer Bielman. ;) Thank you!

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Oh Sharron! We have to get you a few great steampunk stories. Hmmm, I don't want to take you away from stories you're creating, but we'll get you a few. :) Thank you for stopping!

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Rivie Bleu, MeiLin Miranda (commented as well) is one of the authors. She explained it really well. I like this idea, brings new elements into a set world. Really interesting. Hope you get to give the books a try. :)

Christine said...

I wrote a pretty long comment on this post and see that it never posted :( Oh well, here is the short version: I was so intrigued with this story when you posted a W?W?W? post about it. I'm so glad you liked it. The world sounds so interesting! A floating island? Cool! Also, who doesn't love a good carriage chase?! I know exactly what you mean by a "refreshing" couple, for a change. It seems like most books these days involve a couple who are together, split up for some dumb reason, then both struggle with their emotions and desire to be together again. It doesn't set a very good example for real life couples. You have to work at your relationship and shouldn't give up so easily. I'm definitely going to have to read this book. It sounds great!

Creative Mind said...

I haven't heard about this series till now, and it seems pretty interesting!! :-) Great review!!

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Oh no Christine P! So sorry the comment didn't come through. Glad the book caught your attention, in the W?W?W? and here too. It is really neat the creation of this world and the floating island. Yes, I was very happy with the couple here. We need more books like this in the world. :) Thank you!

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Thank you Creative Mind. And glad to share a new book with you. I seem to have a knack for doing just that. lol. I do hope you get to check the book, and the rest of the series out as well. :) Thank you greatly for stopping and commenting.