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November 30, 2014

Steampunk Sundays: Ashes & Alchemy by Cindy Spencer Pape

Series: Gaslight Chronicles 6
Format: eGalley
Release Date: January 6, 2014
Publisher: Carina Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Steampunk
A Gaslight Chronicles novella
London, 1860

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!









11 comments:

  1. The past two books I have read that claimed to be steampunk were both just like this, more historical or fantasy than punk and it makes me so sad! Sorry this was another one of those reads.

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    1. oh well, i'm only happy it prevented me from dozing off

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  2. When I saw it was book 6 I wondered how it was that I didn't know about the series but now that I see it's the first one you're reading, I understand. I didn't know about it and I'm sorry it was more an ok read but at least you're now intrigued by the others. I wonder if they're better.

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    1. my expectations are low and maybe that's a good thing, I might be surprised :)

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    2. I need to check book 1 now cos it rings a bell

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    3. If you recall and have read it, let me know if it's worth reading/picking up.

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  3. I prefer them to have more gadgets and mystery/suspense so this probably isn't for me, but you are right sometimes length can hurt.

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    1. Me too, it's the gadgetry and unique super industrialized world that makes it unique

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  4. Novellas are so tricky to get right and have them tell a full story that actually felt like it had enough in it without going to the other end and having too much. I didn't know about this series so thanks for the intro.

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    1. That's so true, there's only a few novellas that pulls it off.

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  5. Glad it served purpose and entertained even if could have been longer

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