Release Date: January 6, 2014
Publisher: Carina Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
A Gaslight Chronicles novella
Police inspector Sebastian Brown served Queen and country in India before returning to England to investigate supernatural crimes alongside the Order of the Round Table. If his wifeless, childless life feels a little empty sometimes, that's not too great a price to pay in the name of duty.
Minerva Shaw is desperately seeking a doctor when she mistakenly lands on Sebastian's doorstep. Her daughter Ivy has fallen gravely ill with a mysterious illness the same illness, it seems, that's responsible for taking the lives of many of Ivy's classmates.
Seb sniffs a case, and taking in Minnie and Ivy seems the only way to protect them while he solves it. But as mother and daughter work their way into his heart and Seb uses every magickal and technological resource he can muster to uncover the source of the deadly plague, it's he who will need protecting from emotions he'd thought buried long ago.
I'd like to note that my rating for Cindy Spencer Pape's ASHES & ALCHEMY is leaning more towards It's Okay than a solid I Liked It! I was hoping for a short and sound Steampunk novella to get me through a tryptophan coma but instead I got more of a historical fiction with hints of fantasy and the faintest touch of steam and punk.
Now I didn't read the series in order, this is my first CSPape and Gaslight Chronicles book and my curiosity is stoked enough for me to check out the previous installments although I'm not in a hurry to do so. But I did some research and the series doesn't follow a particular couple although it involves a certain group of people descended from King Arthur and his honorable round table Knights. That background was interesting and naturally the fey are involved somewhat, I do love Arthurian based fantasies. That said, CSPape gave a good briefing on her myth in this installment so I got a good grasp of what's going on behind the curtains apart from the obvious mystery. Minnie and Seb's story was independent from the group despite some connections to the rest of the cast but they held their own so I didn't feel like I'm starting mid-tale.
Now ASHES & ALCHEMY is one of those novellas that would've been better if it was longer. Because of the length and the intricate mystery about Minnie's child, Ivy, there wasn't much room for romantic and character development especially for Minnie. I felt like she just jumped in Seb's world and his arms, taking for granted all the revelations he shared with her. Seb seemed like a hunk unfortunately his story didn't allow much facetime for me to develop swoony feelings for him.
That said, ASHES & ALCHEMY did it's purpose and that's to keep me entertained and prevent me from going through another food coma. So I still say job well done, CSPape!