(Spoiler Alert if you haven’t finished book 5)
Aubrey Fitzwilliam is considered a renegade and traitor in his own land. instead of seeking to right this problem he chooses to track down his enemy Dr Mordecai Tremaine. To do this he ventures deep into the heart of enemy territory and finally has Tremaine in his crosshairs. Things seldom go smoothly for Aubrey though and what he uncovers at Tremaine’s base leaves him wondering and very worried. He has known for a while that his enemy was seeking immortality and that the path to that is a bloody one, but what Tremaine appears to be doing to attain his goal leaves Aubrey’s blood running cold.
A terrifying combination of electrical science and cutting edge but soul shattering magic seems destined to bring the world far closer to destruction than most people realise. Only Aubrey appears to grasp what is going on and how much is at stake.To stop Tremaine may cost Aubrey the very life he fought so long to save. Fortunately Aubrey isn’t alone.
Wow, what a way to end a series.
I feel I should warn you I may gush a little here but this is the final book in this series so I am going to talk about the things I loved about these books.
Aubrey, for all his ability is a very thoughtful and moral character, though he is in no way perfect. He doesn’t always know the answer but he always tries. He stands for what he believes and does what needs to be done without much thought about personal accolades, he just doesn’t want to let his friends or family down.
George is a wonderful counterpoint to Aubrey, in so many ways. He is in no way considered less by Aubrey because he has no magic, like a true friend Aubrey sees George’s strengths and abilities and he values his friend for them.
Caroline is a wonderful character. She is strong, smart and thoroughly enjoyable to read about, though like her friends she is in no way perfect. It is a real pleasure to find stories where the girls are strong of mind, will and ability. Where they are able to go toe to toe with the boys and in a manner that is indicative of equals. Caroline doesn’t need magic to stand side by side with Aubrey she just needs to be herself. In addition I’d like to mention the suffragette movement in these books. It never seemed preachy to me and I think that is a credit to Pryor and the way he developed and wrote Caroline, Lady Rose and Sophie.
Dr Mordecai Tremaine is all about power and self. He is not a character we ever like or even really understand, but as Aubrey tries to do just that, he comes to know more about himself. This really works on two levels; the character development of Aubrey and in giving texture to the story as a whole.
These were the first steampunk novels I bought and I love them. I found myself totally immersed in the world Pryor created; the depth of character and a story wonderfully balanced with action, espionage, humour and humanity. These books are filled with light and shade. The labyrinthine layers to Tremaine’s plotting may have gotten confusing, clunky or even obvious in another’s hand, but Pryor never allows it to get that way. Cleverly and seemingly effortlessly (though I am sure it wasn’t) he weaves complex pieces together producing a fascinating and addictive read. I think I am going to miss these characters.
A Bug in a Book review
by Kylie Calwell