I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Pocket Star on 14 October 2013
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I’m going to write this review assuming you have read the first half of the Disenchanted & Co. You simply can’t dive into this one without having read the first if you want to avoid complete and utter confusion. The two halves are going to be published as one new book called Disenchanted & Co on the 28th January 2014. The last novel finished with Kit being kidnapped by Dredmore (again).
Kit remains a resourceful and independent young woman who is determined not to be underestimated by the men around her. Her business and life has been under threat ever since she took on Lady Diana Walsh’s case. In this half, Lady Diana’s husband begins to exert even more pressure and I half expected Kit to crack. Instead, she rallies her friends around her and continues to investigate. She screws up more than once, invariably when she lets her emotions overrule her head. Often the best way to judge a character is how they behave when they have nothing left to lose. Kit’s persistence, strong moral compass and caring nature are what make her a really great character.
Kit’s propensity for getting kidnapped and then escaping her captors started to grate. Belatedly, I realised Viehl must have been paying homage to the original antics of Kit’s grandfather, Harry Houdini. Kit’s relationship with Lucian Dredmore develops further and I appreciated the inclusion of his backstory as it allowed me to see him as more than just a creepy, mysterious deathmage. I hope Viehl won’t give these two a simple ‘normal’ relationship because they are both too headstrong and it is too much fun watching them fence with each other. Viehl’s use of a plot device that allowed her to ‘reset’ parts of the relationship irked me when I initially read it. In hindsight, I think it was a smart move as it gave the relationship a bit more equilibrium. I was a bit surprised that Tommy, Kit’s other would-be suitor, made such a small appearance given his involvement in the first half but with a bit of luck he’ll pop up in later books.
I simply adored the world Viehl created in the first half of this novel because the steampunk was so well integrated. We had all manner of technical whatchamacallits and thingamabobs that added verisimilitude. In this half however Viehl has lightened the steampunk aspect and focused more heavily on magic. I was fascinated with how magic was being used and abused by those around Kit but I couldn’t help mourning the partial loss of the steampunk though. The introduction of the Aramanthans took the novel in an entirely different direction from what I was expecting and I can’t help feeling that Viehl has only scratched the surface with them.
I really liked the two halves of Disenchanted & Co and they complimented each other well. The former was far stronger in terms of characterisation and steampunk but the latter (this one) had all the action you could possibly want and magic. I hope Viehl returns to her steampunk roots though as that is a clear strength.