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Monday, May 5, 2014

Review: 'Disenchanted & Co.'

Disenchanted & Co.
By Lynn Viehl
Paranormal steampunk
January 2014
Pocket Books
ISBN: 978-1476722351

In a steampunk world in which the United States lost the Revolutionary War and people believe in the evil power of magic, Kit stands out.

She is an independent woman, a rarity, who makes her own living. She is more feisty and more spunky than any standard romance heroine, with quick wits, a sharp tongue and a network of friends. She doesn't believe in magic. Kit actually makes her living as an investigator disproving the existence of magic and proving the existence of charlatans and quacks.

But in accepting the case of Lady Diana Walsh, a noblewoman suffering unexplained cruel words carved onto her at night, our intrepid heroine may well have gone too far. Her client's powerful husband is dead-set against the investigation. So is Lucien Dredmore, another powerful man who may present a very personal challenge to Kit. Lucien is wicked and urbane, the complete opposite of Kit's childhood pal, Inspector Tommy Doyle. So it's easy to predict who Kit is drawn to, even as she fights him off.

This is the set-up of the full-length novel of Lynn Viehl's story, which sets up the beginning of a gloriously realized steampunk world in which magic and the Industrial Revolution collide in what is now the western United States. Disenchanted & Co. also sets up Kit's own journey from a female adventurer to a deeper, more feeling character with a backstory she is just discovering for herself as the narrative unfolds.

The only problem with the novel is that Viehl apparently wrote herself into a corner with the plot machinations and pulls a twist near the end that didn't have the same swashbuckling, clever tone as the rest of the novel in which Kit is the mistress of her own destiny and rescues herself. Once that point is passed, however, Viehl sets things up for a series that can appeal to steampunk, mystery and romance fans. It's certainly a series that deserves a look at the second novel, The Clockwork Wolf.

©2014 All Rights Reserved CompuServe Books Reviews and reprinted with permission

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