This second installment of the Baskerville Affair picks up a few months after the first story ends. It leaped right in giving a check in with each plot thread and each of them more exciting and intriguing that the one that came before it. As with the first story, there are a multitude of perspectives and storylines that just left me reeling. Apparently I’ve gotten used to it and learned to appreciate the storytelling style because I was enthralled with the zinging here and there I did in this book trying to work out the plotting, the mystery, the romances and how in the world all my favorites were going to come through it alive and unscathed.
Fair warning, this absolutely positively must be read in order or you will think you tumbled into a loony bin.
For the sake of sanity, I’m going to summarize the main storyline here and not try to follow each storyline that is there. Evalina Cooper has spent a few months of peace and quiet with her Grandmother Holmes in the country recovering from all that went on before, but now she is back in London to sort her life out. It all seems so dismal- she’s lost Nick, she’s lost the Roth family including her love interest to be sacrificed to the Gold King Jasper Keating’s ambition, and she’s lost her purpose. But then there is a bomb blast at Uncle Sherlock’s and Imogene requests her to come to her because something odd is happening and enemies are becoming friends. Her uncle sends her to nose out what’s going on.
Spying only gets her in trouble and into the Gold King’s clutches. They strike a deal. Evalina agrees to go into the Blue King’s territory to hunt down his mechanical genius and right into the dark streets where a murderer is loose and the rebels plot sedition. Keating gives her a time limit and an ultimatum. So many people have their fingers in the pie and the stakes just get higher.
The plot on this one just drove forward at a punishing pace because of all the threads that were going on at once. I picture the author like one of those six-horse team carriage drivers who have to keep so many animals under control and going in the right direction. Admirable to say the least. Evalina is still the main character though other narrators are Nick, Imogene, Sherlock Holmes, Lord Bancroft, Alice Keating and Jasper Keating. See? A boatload of storytellers. While I found it overwhelming in the first story, I was able to hang with it and enjoy the pacing and tone it created this time.
The atmosphere on this one grew decidedly darker even from the first one. If the gruesome murders don’t do it, the Roth’s vile secret with the automatons and the Steam Council’s slimy ploys will do it. Evalina really gets herself into a bad spot in this one and she is totally on her own. She’s young and impetuous, but she’s also smart and courageous. Her decisions bothered me, but then again I couldn’t think of better solutions either. It just bugs me that it always comes down to her throwing herself on the sacrificial altar and it just ends up making stuff worse.
This book was definitely a transition book. I could tell that things were being lined up and readied for some big stuff that is still to come. The steam barons are allies against the rebels, but also enemies to each other. There is the shadowy rebel movement and the mysterious black wraiths controlling the depths of London that hopefully will get some more page time in the next book. Evalina has learned a bit more about her powers and to have a healthy respect for them. The situation with Nick and that last bit about Imogene has me rabid to find out what happens next.
This series is a dark gritty Sherlockian Paranormal Steampunk Romantic Suspense that offers something for everybody. The romance is slow building as is the plot. Totally delicious series that fans of these blended genres should give a look-see at.
My thanks to Net Galley for providing the book for review purposes.