This is the first book in the “Disenchanted & Co.” series by this author. I haven’t read that many steampunk stories before this, but was attracted by the book description, and because I usually like stories by this author. There was a very helpful glossary provided at the end. I read this on my kindle HD so, without knowing about the glossary, I highlighted certain names and terms to refer back to.
One thing I really liked about this story, as well as other books by this author, was that the female characters were very well-written and not stereotypes. Kit, the female protagonist, is independent without coming across as whiney. She does her best to live her life on her terms, despite living in a very restrictive society. In her line of work, others hire her to “dispell” harmful magic. From Kit’s perspective, she is investigating real crimes and exposing frauds. I think her lack of belief in magic in general, even though she sees ghosts and other magical things, is explained by her childhood experiences and when the story behind her pendant is totally explained. I am currently reading an ARC ebook copy of Book 2 so I forget if her pendant is explained in the first book or the second. In some ways, this reminded me of a Philip Marlowe type of story. Kit operates with according to her own moral code for her personal as well as her professional life. She tries to stay focused on the case she’s currently working on, faithful to her client, all while being pushed around from all sides. This being the first book in the series, there is a lot of info to absorb – the magical day-to-day realities of Kit’s world, a ghost haunting her, family scandals to investigate, and sorting friend from foe. The actual mystery Kit is hired to investigate is that of poor, tormented Lady Walsh who believes she is cursed. It’s interesting to watch Kit use her devices and test to figure out how things are done. The “why” of the Lady Walsh mystery is a little murky but all is revealed in book 2 of this series. This story might have been a little too intense for me, if not for Kit having the support of her friends – Bridget, Docket, and Rina. Rina herself describes them as, “a loomgel, a nutty mech, and a pissed strumpet”, but Kit describes her friends as “the honorable wife of Lord Duluc, the cleverest of disgraced mechs, and Queen of the Night”. I don’t normally like romantic triangles but I liked the potential for Kit to have some romance in the forms of rediscovered old family friend Chief Inspector Thomas Doyle and the very sexy, powerful deathmage Lucien Dredmore. I’m hoping Doyle winds up in the friend zone and I’m pulling for Kit and Lucien to somehow wind up together without compromising her principles – at least not too much. I look forward to reading more books in this series.