*I received a free copy of this novel, with thanks to the author. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: Lucinda Ravensburgh sees the truth in everything she touches. When Captain Magda Stoner of the airship Verity, asks for her help in a very strange and messy crime, Lucinda cannot refuse.
From that moment on, Lucinda’s life is changed forever. She discovers, no matter what the obstacle, nor the troubles they encounter, finding the truth is paramount.
Raven, Fire and Ice is either a mystery with fantasy elements, or a fantasy with mystery elements. Either way it is an intriguing addition to either genre.
Aesthetically the novel is steampunk in style, with airships, corsets and clocks at the forefront of the action. There is also a strong ‘female power’ vibe, not just because all of the main characters are lesbian, but more because men do not feature strongly in the plot, with the females taking the lead in magic, leadership, decision-making and action. Nita Round has created a society which seems to be old-fashioned in technology and forward-thinking in equality.
The plot manages to cover a lot of ground in quite a short space of time: cults, old gods, murder mystery, and some Lovecraftian shenanigans with creatures of the deep. Lucinda keeps her cool and banters her way lightly through much of the gore and peril, even managing to score herself two or three love interests and a whole score of additional admirers! I was reminded of both Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate and Elizabeth Peters’ Peabody in terms of the witty style of dialogue and sharply affectionate relationships between the main characters.
Those who enjoy strongly femalecentric steampunk fantasy will really enjoy this book, and the great news is that it’s the first in the A Touch of Truth series, so there will be more to come from the psychometrist and her dashing ‘bodyguards’!
“You need to settle yourself. I’ll organiser a pot of tea for your whilst I arrange for the captain to be admitted.” She couldn’t hide the distaste in her voice. “Some food might be a good idea, too. I’m not sure when you last ate anything.”
Lucinda shook her head. She couldn’t recall her last meal either. “I know I forget sometimes, but a nice slice of fruitcake would be wonderful, and be a dear and fetch my shotgun at the same time please?”
“What on earth for?”
“I need to be ready for the soldier.”
“Well you don’t want him here either.”
“That’s no reason to shoot someone.”
Lucinda snorted. “Calm down, I’m not going to shoot anyone, not in here. It’d ruin the rug for a start. No, I want to wave the gun around in a threatening manner.”
“Right,” Amelia said as she left.
– Nita Round, Raven, Fire and Ice
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