Crimson & Steam by Liz Maverick- A Review
Before I begin, a word regarding full disclosure. I don’t really think I have a wide enough audience to worry about this, but well, you never know.
I am not a professional reviewer. What I mean, of course, is that I don’t get paid for this. Some might say that I am compensated by free books, and yes, I did not pay to receive this ARC. However, while that might be enough to make me feel guilty should I dislike said book, it’s not enough to make me lie about my feelings towards it. I say how I feel, and while I might try to be nice about it, because I know how hard authors toil over every little word they put to page, I am unable to rave about something I didn’t enjoy.
Now, allow me to rave about a book I DID enjoy. Unfortunately I don’t have a .jpg file of the drool-worthy coverart but I do have a blurb from Liz Maverick’s site. (Where you can see the pretty for yourself!)
As if peace might be achieved so easily…
Darkness is rising: a mysterious plot shall force every inhabitant of Crimson City to take sides. Deliverance exists, but first must come a tale of impossible passion and discovery, of Marius and Jill in a race against time leading back to the city’s paranormal beginnings, to Victorian London, to an era of invention and a world of *CRIMSON & STEAM*
By Chapter One, I was hooked.
By Chapter two, I was bawling.
By Chapter Three, I suspected this might very well be one of my favorite books of the year, never mind the fact that it hasn’t yet been released.
By Chapter Four, my suspicions were confirmed.
Marius, head of the House of Dumont, has always been about doing the right thing and not allowing himself to indulge in his own desires, no matter how strong. He seeks to form an alliance in the form of a marriage to Tatiana Asprey of the Asprey Werewolves to symbolize a strong united front and peace for all, even as he cannot deny the constant pull he feels towards one Jillian Cooper, a human reporter, his soulmate.
All Jillian wants is one night with Marius. One night to last her a life time, and really would that be so much to ask? But she knows Marius, knows the kind of man he is. Can you blame a girl for trying? I didn’t. She was ballsy about it too. Definitely liked her character, but then, I found it hard to dislike any of them.
Even Tatiana Asprey. Especially Tatiana Asprey. Thank GOD, Maverick didn’t make her a bitch (um, you know, in the un-literal sense, since she’s a werewolf and all). I think that route is taken far too often, though I know it is sometimes necessary.
I don’t think Liz Maverick is one to take the easy route though, and she makes you feel for every one of her characters. (even the ones who make terrible horrible mistakes) I felt and wept for Tatiana, even as I wanted Jill to have Marius. She’s a great character, caught between duty and unshakable desire for freedom, having to hide herself away during the Full Moon, believing herself to be a monster.
I’m afraid I must stifle myself before I give away any spoilers, specifically where Tatiana is concerned.
But, but-! You lucky devils, you’re getting two love stories for the price of one! I’m not sure which enthralled me more, the whole affair in Crimson City, or, the one going on back in Victorian London, where I found myself quite charmed by Maverick’s subtly. The scenes with Charlotte Paxton and Edward Vaughn were some of my very favorites. I’ve always been a firm believer that love should transcend all things: Color, Race, Social Status, Gender. While I can’t speak for the former, or latter, taking place in this story, the bitter struggle against Social Status (and race) dictating your every move and whim played a huge role in both stories. Ms. Maverick weaved them both seamlessly and I really hope she goes through with her intentions of dabbling more into the more steampunky world of her Victorian London, post Blood-Taint.
Even if I wasn’t such a hopeless romantic, there would still be enough here to satisfy me. I think that’s what garbed me from the beginning and refused to let me go. Liz Maverick tells a great story about a building war between four-count ‘em-FOUR factions, two (although, depending on your interpretation, there could certainly be more) pairs of star crossed lovers, with a dash of steampunk and a whole lot of flair. I’m really big on shades of gray, the changing of alliances, the proverbial line to be crossed. While Jillian, Marius, Tatiana, Charlotte and Edward and certainly enough to draw you in, it would be a disservice to not mention the support cast. Kata Marakova stole every scene she was in. So did Hayden Wilks, who both repelled and fascinated everyone around him, myself included. I became quite fond of Leyton and the Librarian, and I’m secretly hoping Folie, Tatiana’s sister, might one day get her own tale.
I can barely, just barely contain my excitement, but I must, I don’t want to give everything away.
You’ll get a Story. A very GOOD Story wrapped inside another very GOOD story.
Also, and please do forgive me for just a moment in my bias, but this book hit me in some very personal places. I’m the sort of person who revels in the emotional journey of a tale. I’d much prefer to bawl over a book than to come away from it having felt nothing. Crimson & Steam will pull at your heartstrings, I can guarantee that. I’m so delighted to have had the opportunity to sample Liz Maverick’s work and plan to look into her earlier Crimson City books. Crimson & Steam kept me on the edge of my seat (and totally distracted me from NaNo more often than I care to admit) with a kleenex box near by.
Not out as of yet, Crimson & Steam will be available (according to Amazon.com , where, if you click the link I provided, you will most certianly be able to pre-order it) December 29th, 2009. (Please do correct me if I’m mistaken!) I wholly recommend giving it a read or two.