Release Date: February 10, 2015
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: Adult Steampunk
Magic, mystery, and romance mix in this edgy retelling of the classic The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde–in which Dr. Eliza Jekyll is the daughter of the infamous Henry
In an electric-powered Victorian London, Dr. Eliza Jekyll is a crime scene investigator, hunting killers with inventive new technological gadgets. Now, a new killer is splattering London with blood, drugging beautiful women and slicing off their limbs. Catching "the Chopper" could make Eliza's career—or get her burned. Because Eliza has a dark secret. A seductive second self, set free by her father's forbidden magical elixir: wild, impulsive Lizzie Hyde.
When the Royal Society sends their enforcer, the mercurial Captain Lafayette, to prove she's a sorceress, Eliza must resist the elixir with all her power. But as the Chopper case draws her into London's luminous, magical underworld, Eliza will need all the help she can get. Even if it means getting close to Lafayette, who harbors an evil curse of his own.
Even if it means risking everything and setting vengeful Lizzie free
THE DIABOLICAL MISS HYDE by Viola Carr, is the first book in a brand new series called, Electric Empire, and it's Gothic Steampunk! Not only do you have a Jekyll/Hyde adaptation, but Dr. Frankenstein's legacy is also present as well as peppering of fey, alchemy, and lycanthrope to boot. This book is pure madness! I don't think I've ever come across a lot of cray-crays in one tome, and I absolutely loved it!
So Dr. Eliza Jekyll, as you probably assume, is the daughter of The Dr. Jekyll, and apparently she inherited her father's "condition", and Eliza is trying in earnest to control her strange affliction with a serum of some sort. During the day, Eliza plays the doctor, helping the Royal Society investigate a series of murders. At night, Lizzie Hyde comes out to play, prowling the dank streets and pubs of London, acting like a vigilante of some sort. But is this all Lizzie's doing at night or is she the one responsible for all the killings? Eliza can't answer for certain because once Lizzie's back in the shadows, Eliza barely remembers what her other half has done the night before.
I love not only the plot but how THE DIABOLICAL MISS HYDE was told. The setting is very gritty, the people Eliza finds herself in company with, thanks to her work, are the scum of London. There's nothing comely or even harmless about them. Everyone looks suspicious, a lot of them looks like they're guilty of something. Very foreboding and exciting at the same time. Like part of me is thinking that something or someone is lurking in the shadows, waiting for the right moment to jump Eliza/Lizzie. There is this one scene where Eliza went to this club, it's like a members-only place, and to me, that scene is the epitome of this book's madness! That chapter illustrates how insane this series is going to be and I cannot wait to read more of Eliza/Lizzie's story.
THE DIABOLICAL MISS HYDE was told in a very interesting way as well. It shifts from the 3rd person POV to Lizzie's voice when Eliza has a hold of their body. I love Lizzie's musings, VCarr successfully contrasted how different Eliza is from her alter-ego in these moments, it's very much like the two are different characters. It's very night and day and the concept about split personality is well fleshed out and wonderfully executed. Now there are some parts in the middle that were slow, I had to put the book down for a day, but it picked up again on the last quarter. The murder mystery was a good twist too! The conflict-resolution was charged with adrenalin and the ending provided a good hook, designed to have you waiting for the next book and following the series.