- Bonnie Dee
Victoria's work with automatons has gained her renown and changed the face of London. But her concern that the clockworks are taking too many jobs away from humans, creating social unrest, is ignored. Given the ugly mood of the underclass, she fears more outbreaks of violence similar to the murder spree of the notorious Southwark Slasher.
Dash, unemployed thanks to the clockworks, has pledged fealty to The Brotherhood, a group determined to bring about the downfall of the automatons by any means necessary. His plan to kidnap Victoria goes awry when the unorthodox scientist pledges her assistance to their cause.
Despite their opposite social classes, a bond grows between them, and Victoria begins to feel emotions she never expected for the passionate Dash. But when the Slasher strikes close to home, Dash and Victoria realize that the boundaries of polite society are far from the only threat to their happiness...
Another steampunk novella and this story has a beginning a middle and a satisfying end with loose ends tied up. This is basically a steampunk romance, similar in style to paranormal romance with the main part of the story about a hero and heroine meeting and over coming their differences. But what made this story work for me was the world building – the difference the automatons have made to Victorian society and how different people have reacted to their introduction. The growing unrest among the working classes as their unskilled jobs are taken by the new machines and how quickly the upper class have taken to them working as servants in their home paints a realistic and well considered view of what the world would be like with automatons.
There are a few sub-plots in addition to the main romance which centre around the political implications of the new automatons, a killer of prostitutes in Whitechapel and a government conspiracy. As such a lot is packed into a relatively short space, but it never feels overcrowded. The areas are linked together nicely by the two main characters. I really admired Victoria as she is definitely a strong woman determined to make her own way in the world. Even before the start of the story she has struggled to be taken seriously as a scientist in most part because of her gender. She overcomes this without seeming cold or and I liked how quickly she made the connection with Dash and made him take her seriously.
Overall, this is a fun read and a good introduction for those who are just dipping their toes into the world of steampunk.
For fans of Gail Carriger and Meljean Brooks. 8 out of 10.