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What would you do to save your loved ones from slavery and a blood-draining serial killer?

Rook is an unapologetic thief, determined to do anything to ensure her mother and siblings survive the squalid and dangerous streets of Stamchester.

Rook slips, like a shadow, in and out of the homes of the ruling elite, the Avanish, and steals what she needs. She feels no regret, afterall, the Avanish have enslaved her people, the Saosuíasei, and worse, have now determined the Saosuíasei to be disposable and worthy of nothing other than death.

However, Rook is not the only shadowy figure in Stamchester. And far more deadly one haunts the filthy streets, striking fear into Avanish and Saosuíasei alike. A serial killer who drains every ounce of blood from his victims, and satisfies the elite’s demand for blood to burn in the magical art of Bloodskill and enhance their own natural, and sometimes unnatural, abilities.

How can Rook outfox the serial killer and raise her people from the ashes left by the Avanish oppression?

A dark Victorian thriller. Perfect for fans of Charlie N. Holmberg’s cozy mystery Spellbreaker and Susanna Clarke’s enchanting and magical world of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.


I received a promotional free copy of this book in exchange of my honest opinion. And I was very excited because Steampunk is a genre that I enjoy, as well as stories that take place in Victorian times. But my excitement turned into disappointment quite soon.

The story had more hints of dystopian than Steampunk. Actually, if it hadn’t been for the gazillion times the author uses the phrase “green gaslight”, plus the occasional mention of a top hat or a phone, I wouldn’t have noticed the actual genre of the book. So not Steampunk enough for me. And I don’t like it when I’m promised something and that something never happens.

This book is a clear example of plot where lots of things happen, but you cannot decide really what the main event is. If I had been the editor, I would have reduced this book to a half of its length. The action is fast, yes, but it is too busy.

As for the characters, I didn’t feel any connection or sympathy for any of them. The protagonist, Rook, is the typical heroine who feels that has to solve everything by herself. And the rest of the characters are not fleshed out enough as to get to really know them or feel for them. I would also like to point out that, just by adding a character who happens to be a transexual person, and who is not even that relevant to the story, this book doesn’t get to be categorized as LGBTQ fiction. It felt forced and I don’t think it does any favor to that collective of people.

The whole thing about the characters getting powers through blood was confusing and I would have loved to see it better explained, because it appeared mentioned out of the blue and it felt like the reader already had to know what the narrator was talking about. It also felt kind of random, like how can I make this people special in Victorian times? But again, that doesn’t make this book any more Steampunk.

Oh, and it was impossible for me to pronounce any of the names. I guess it must be Irish or Gaelic, but I couldn’t figure out how to pronounce them. That’s sort of a personal pet peeve of mine.

If you are into stories with a certain YA feel, then go for it. But if you are looking for a proper Steampunk, Victorian story, then this is not your book.

For all the disappointment, I give this book… 2 TEA CUPS!

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on

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