Thursday, May 23, 2013

Book Review: The Iron Wyrm Affair

The Iron Wyrm Affair

By:  Lilith Saintcrow

Publisher:  Orbit Books

Publish Date:  August 7, 2012

Format:  Paperback, 5"x8" 308pgs

Genre:  Urban Fantasy, Steampunk, Fantasy

Series:  1st in Bannon and Clare series

Recommendation:  Oh yes!  London in a new light, full of magic and clockworks all with a strong murder mystery to solve! To save lives, and the country.

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...

First Sentence:
When the young dark-haired woman stepped into his parlour, Archibald Clare was only mildly intrigued.

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My Thoughts and Summary:
Emma Bannon might have been a late to save one unregistered mentath, but she was in time to save Archibald Clare.  Though they will have to fight sorcery to keep him safe, that's where Emma comes in - a Prime Sorceress.  The Queen relies on sorcerers and mentath's to help her run the country.  Someone has been killing registered mentath's of the Queens, and now moved on to unregistered ones.  Clare does not feel he was fully the focus after the first attack in the presence of Emma.  Maybe the focus on sorcery too?

A story with an alternate Victorian Era of elegance, full of crafted magic, touch of steampunk style mystery, and a cunning of Sherlock Holmes creating a memorable and stunning partnership of Emma Bannon and Archibald Clare.  I am a magic lover.  I also truly enjoy the Victorian Era feel with steam accents.  Blend them together and I'm sold!  Lilith blows you away with the combination and an intriguing murder mystery.

Each paragraph is compacted with details of every angle. The world grows, the characters grow.  The case reveals.  Every word is needed to feel the creation here.

I enjoyed the Prelude.  Clare and Bannon first meeting as Clare is called to the Queen by Bannon's visit.  Ooooo, makes me curious of Clare and his history along with the strong-ness present in Bannon.  When danger is afoot for Clare.  We learn quick as the story takes off and doesn't slow with the information or action.

I was taken with the term mentath.  See, Clare is a mentath.  Mentath's are like walking talking calculators and logic analysts.  He reads everything from reactions of people to encyclopedias and deduces logical answers.  And he's right!  But magic throws a wrench in the gears of his thinking process.  For any mentath actually.  Clare handles the "logic" of magic rather well...but does find an aspect that doesn't compute for him.  When this happens, a mentath can be lost in their minds.  Emma finds Clare is unexpectedly digesting magic easier than any mentath has, and could use his logic and calculating to find the murderer.

Now we have the magical side of things.  Oh, I don't know where to start to describe this best.  Emma is a special brand and branch of magic.  It is so COOL! to see her at her best (or worst she might thing).  The wave of magic that flows through the city each morning.  The powers present.  Wow.  The Queen and the country...WOW!  Emma is strong and a protector.  yet, she still wonders about her Shield, her protector that fights to protect her as she is one of many valued sorcerers, with his history.

We get to see the thinking and reasoning from both Emma Bannon and Archibald Clare, Sorceress and Mentath.  Two completely different takes on things and the world.  Magic and Calculating.  We get a chapter from both point of views, moving the story and mystery forward at a solid pace.

This book is worth picking up.  It's heavy with amazing building and story.

**I read this book for my own enjoyment.


carol said...

I really need to get this. How can I pass up magic meets a Sherlock Holmesish story?

Jessica@a GREAT read said...

Nice review! Have had this in the TBR mountain since its release and haven't gotten close to unburying it! Might need to dig it out soon since I miss the worlds Lilith creates, even if it takes me awhile to grow accustom to it!

Melliane said...

Oh I have this one since its release, but I really need to get into it! It sounds soooo good! thank you! can't wait!

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I have a cousin who would love to be a mentath. I should recommend it to him. LOL Hm... this does sound interesting. I really do like this kind of mystery.

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Carol, I would have loved a bit more in Clare's head as he's the one like Sherlock Holmesish. It was great. And lots here! :D Hope you give it a try.

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Thank you Jessica @ a GREAT read. It really was worth the read, and the world grows with each word. Hope you like it. :)

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Melliane, I do hope you get to give it a go one day. :) And enjoy it. :)

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

LOL! Melissa (B&T) That would be cool to have a cousin who was a Mentath. :D Thank you. And hope you get to give the book a try. :)

Sharron said...

This was a great review. Sounds like a fun and exciting story.

kimbacaffeinate said...

Ahh I love your review Melissa and darn you because I must buy this and I was trying to be good..but you broke through my walls!

Christine P said...

Okay I have to admit, this sounds REALLY cool! I love the Victorian Era and love magic. This sounds like a winner. I like how you said that every word is crucial to the growth and development of the characters and story. That is so refreshing to hear. Nothing is worse that a story with unnecessary paragraphs, chapters, what have you. I'll have to add this to my TBR list. You kind of have me begging to know more about it :)

Silverlight said...

I have this sitting on my bookshelf and now that I read your review, it has me excited to start it. I do enjoy steampunk, and always had a liking to the Victorian era. Great review!

kara-karina@Nocturnal Book Reviews said...

I'm so glad you've read it, Melissa!!! :) I've enjoyed it and I'm just reading book #2 right now. I like how thoroughly Lily creates world-building for each of her series, and this one is not an exception.

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Thank you Sharron! It was really a story full of depth of world, story, and character. Lots here to enjoy. :)

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

LOL! Oh thank you Kimba. I really do hope you enjoy it as much as I did. :)

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Oh Christine P, I do hope you love it then! Sounds like this book is the right one for you. :) Thank you greatly!!

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

I'm curious to see what you think of it Silverlight. :) Do hope you enjoy it. Thank you!

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Oh Kara, I'm so in neeeed of the next book. LOL! I really enjoyed the creation here as well. ;) Thank you!