As part of her devil’s bargain with the industrial steam barons, Evelina Cooper is finally enrolled in the Ladies’ College of London. However, she’s attending as the Gold King’s pet magician, in handcuffs and forbidden contact with even her closest relation, the detective Sherlock Holmes.
Not even Niccolo, the dashing pirate captain, and his sentient airship can save her. But Evelina’s problems are only part of a larger war. The Baskerville Affair is finally coming to light, and the rebels are making their move to wrest power from the barons and restore it to Queen Victoria. Missing heirs and nightmare hounds are the order of the day—or at least that’s what Dr. Watson is telling the press.
But their plans are doomed unless Evelina escapes to unite her magic with the rebels’ machines—and even then her powers aren’t what they used to be. A sorcerer has awakened a dark hunger in Evelina’s soul, and only he can keep her from endangering them all. The only problem is…he’s dead.
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Review By Isis:
I would like to thank both NetGalley and Del Ray for granting me the chance to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review. Though I received the e-book for free that in no way influenced this review.
DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU HAVE NOT YET READ THE FIRST TWO FULL BOOKS IN THIS SERIES, as there are spoilers for those inherent in this review.
We return to this creative and entertaining series to find Evelina attending college, both by her own request and at the Gold King's decree. After accidentally blowing up the chemistry lab in the men's college (as the women's college doesn't offer nearly the same level of education in the hard sciences), Evelina is summarily confined to the tiny women's quadrant of the college. She is well and truly trapped, just as she'd been ever since those damnable bracelets had been put on her - the cost of her desperate bid to save Nick. A bid that came too late and at much too high a cost since, despite her agreement with the Gold King, Nick's ship had been fired upon and gone down, with all aboard presumed dead.
Meanwhile Holmes is plotting a way to free Evelina, both from the college and the Gold King. With Watson's help, he manages to get Evelina released to help with a murder investigation. However he didn't count upon the Gold King sending Tobias Roth, of all people, to be Evelina's escort. Tobias had been sent in part to test his loyalties and in part because of something he'd done. However Tobias has grown up a great deal, and even before the birth of his son he and Alice had been making a go of their forced marriage. Between his past, present, and future Tobias elects to focus on his present and future - and that does not include being Evelina's jailor, or the Gold King's pawn any longer if he can help it. By making that choice he also allows for an unfortunate adventure to fall upon the lovely Evelina, one that all are blind to, with each party thinking she is safely ensconced with the other. However her reality is nothing like her friends and family are envisioning. Help comes from the most unlikely source, yet will it be enough, and will it be in time, or will Evelina be forever changed?
Imogen remains trapped in the grandfather clock at Hilliard House. The very clock built by the evil sorcerer Magnus back when he was still friends with Lord Roth. Her evil twin Anna ripped her soul from her very body, trapping her in the clock that Magnus had built as a safe haven for Serafina/Anna should anything ever happen to her 'housing.' Anna stole Imogen's soul from her body in order to kill her twin sister and take over her body, for Anna never thought that Imogen should have lived while she herself did not. During her struggle to survive, Imogen comes to discover facets of herself she never knew she possessed, and a core of strength no one ever expected of her, especially not she herself. As with Evelina help eventually comes, but is it a case of too little, too late?
Each of the characters undergo adventures that will test them to their very limits,some ending in great joy, others in deep sorrow. Evelina, to learn control over her increased powers; Tobias, to learn just what he is willing to sacrifice for his new family; and Imogen, to discover if she has what it takes to survive her sister's nefarious plot. And though may of the prior questions are answered in this book, more answers remain to be discovered. The Baskerville plot has been uncovered, and Ms. Holloway does an excellent job of creating an explanation for the history behind the story, "The Hound of the Baskervilles." She also does a tremendous job of reconciling her story with the original story. Finally, as some of Evelina's final actions have put victory in reach of the Baskervilles, her efforts may have forever altered London, not too mention a dear friend - leaving the door wide open for another book in the series.
RATING = 4 StarsEver since childhood, Emma Jane Holloway refused to accept that history was nothing but facts prisoned behind the closed door of time. Why waste a perfectly good playground coloring within the timelines? Accordingly, her novels are filled with whimsical impossibilities and the occasional eye-blinking impertinence—but always in the service of grand adventure.
Many thanks & wishes for a stellar new year!
Many thanks & wishes for a stellar new year!
Struggling between the practical and the artistic—a family tradition, along with ghosts and a belief in the curative powers of shortbread—Emma Jane has a degree in literature and job in finance. She lives in the Pacific Northwest in a house crammed with books, musical instruments, and half-finished sewing projects. In the meantime, she’s published articles, essays, short stories, and enough novels to build a fort for her stuffed hedgehog