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A muddled plot, flat characters, and amateur writing make this historical fantasy a catastrophic disappointment.

The main issue with this book is the writing. The style is heavily reportive, it’s stilted, and there’s an excess of telling. Nothing is shown – it’s all exposition. This creates a void between the character and the reader, and I felt it. I also don’t like how it disconnected the heroine – and her emotions - from the story.

It doesn’t help that the grammar is horrendous, too. For some examples, see the sentences below:

“My legs felt weak at the headline.”

“I felt bad for my demeanor.”

“Lucas momentarily looked fazed…” 

“I then saw him look up at the impressive building…”

“We all ran to the window and watched as the bat-like being flew upwards, being swallowed by the mist.”

“Stepping back out into the night, an excitement I had hardly felt before set upon me.”

“I grabbed the iron chair I had just been seated on.”

“I had no words, only emotions flowed through me, and then as tears from my eyes.”

With some more editing and rearranging, these sentences could work. They could become active, alive, and flowing. As it is, they’re sloppy and poor English.

In addition, the dialogue is boring. It’s flat, it’s dull, and the characters’ voices are too inconsistent to come through. It’s also a little too contemporary. This story is supposed to take place in Victorian London, but with the occasional “Ok” popping up, it’s hard to take seriously.

As for the characters, they don’t have any personality. I like how active Cog is, but otherwise she does not have a personality. She is one-dimensional and bland. The same goes for the rest of the cast. I also thought that the romance – the little bit we got – was contrived and unrealistic; the kiss happened at the wrong time, and there was no development. It was like the author threw it in just because he thought there needed to be a romance. 

The plot is a weak aspect, too. There is no structure, the incidents are either boring or just plain confusing, and the pacing is a mess. It moves fast, but at the same time it is up and down and inconsistent. There is no clear logic or structure. The ending of the novel is also abrupt. 

Another disappointment was the lack of atmosphere. It could have been fantastically Gothic and eerie considering the time period, but instead there was a lack of sensory details and the scenes were never lush or vivid. 

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I'm passionate about books & providing honest reviews. My reviews are very in-depth, informative, & balanced, & I am extremely analytical. I take reviewing seriously & I analyse deeply. If I receive books to review, I do my best to provide a thorough, objective analysis of the work.

About the author

P.M. Cole is a forty something author, living at the top of a Victorian house in greater London. This is his first historical fantasy novel, but he has always had a love of Victoriana. He's looking forward to continuing the adventures of Cog in 2019. view profile

Published on February 01, 2019

Published by

60000 words

Genre: Fantasy

Reviewed by