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416 pages, Hardcover
First published August 29, 2017
A vast downward-pointing cone of rock bristling with an upside-down forest of salt-encrusted, aether-emitting cloud-choral stalactites that kept the Skyland aloft.
The nitty-gritty: As twisty and complex as Shakespeare, this story surprised me in every way possible. This is definitely one of 2017’s “must reads!” . . . I can honestly say I’ve never encountered a world quite like this before. If you love genre mash-ups, then you’ll love this heady combination of steampunk, court intrigue, and mystery, with a dash of Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers.” . . . [This be] one of the most surprising books I’ve read in quite some time. And by surprising, I mean that it continued to surprise me up to the end. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, Craddock adds yet another layer to his story. I often use the term “multi-layered” when writing book reviews, but reading this book was literally like watching a garden of strange and beautiful flowers unfurl their petals.
Its story’s scattered allusions initially prompted me to approach this one with a wariness I usually reserve for unknown quantities, but ultimately this mishmash of genre elements ended up being one of my favorite aspects of the book. There seems to be something for everyone, whether it’s science fiction, fantasy, historicals, steampunk or action and adventure that tickles your fancy . . . Musketeers, Bloodshadows, clockwork cyborgs, Glasswalkers, airships and floating islands…is there anything this book doesn’t have? And as if that wasn’t enough, in the middle of all this is also a disorienting jumble of court intrigue and deadly politics . . .Also, I can’t tell you what a breath of fresh air it is to read a book where the heroine actually SHOWS readers how smart, strong and capable she is through her actions.
So, great characters and an amazing world. What more could you possibly want. Oh, maybe a beautifully written story that puts you in mind of the likes of Dumas, easy to digest prose, vivid descriptions and a slippery eel of a plot that is huge in scope but that comes together in a very satisfying way? Well, if that’s what you’re looking for then prepare to be happy because it’s all here in abundance . . . A mash up of European alternate history and steampunk told with flair and absolutely wonderful to read. I loved this.
Half a girl wide and a girl and a half tall, with a long face, Isabelle was well on her way to being horsey.
“She slapped down a mug of something that was, he suspected, technically alcohol, but only because it had a good lawyer.”