|The first book in the highly anticipated Elemental World series from Elizabeth Hunter, author of the best-selling Elemental Mysteries.
In a world teetering on the edge of change, two beings struggle to find their purpose. Will their paths lead them closer together or tear their worlds apart?
For a thousand years, powerful earth vampire Carwyn ap Bryn has served others. God. His family. His friends. But tragedy and loss disrupt his peaceful existence, causing him to question everything he has committed his eternity to.
Brigid Connor has known about vampires since they rescued her from a painful childhood. But not even their vast elemental power can save her from the demons that torment her.
As loyalties are tested and new paths are forged, a lurking danger slowly grows in the Elemental World. Carwyn and Brigid learn that even secrets revealed can come back to haunt you when you least expect it.
The Golden Spider by Anne Renwick
Series: The Elemental Web Chronicles
Genre: Steampunk Romance
|London papers scream of dirigible attacks, kraken swarms, and lung-clogging, sulfurous fogs. But a rash of gypsy murders barely rates mention.
Lady Amanda is tired of having both her intelligence and her work dismissed.
After blackmailing her way into medical school, she catches the eye of her anatomy professor from the moment she walks into his lecture hall. Is he interested in her? Or only her invention–a clockwork spider that can spin artificial nerves?
Lord Thornton, a prominent neurobiologist, has been betrayed.
Secret government technology has been stolen from his laboratory, and a foreign spy is attempting to perfect it via a grisly procedure… using gypsies as test subjects. The last thing he needs is the distraction of a beautiful–and brilliant–new student, even if her spider could heal a deteriorating personal injury.
Until her device is stolen and used in the latest murder.
Lord Thornton has no option but to bring her into his laboratory as well as the investigation where they must fight their growing, yet forbidden, attraction. Bodies accumulate and fragile bonds are tested as they race across London, trying to catch the spy before it’s too late.
I am always on the lookout for a decent steampunk read and The Golden Spider blurb caught my attention. What is there not to like, Victorian London, intelligent and feisty female character and a growling male?
The book can be read as a mystery with a touch of romance. The steampunk world is mostly there with krakens and dirigibles. The clockwork spider was definitely a unique piece of equipment that I haven´t come across in any other books. The London setting is well described but could have had a bit more. The plot is well developed with a few twists that keeps reading interesting. I enjoyed the main characters and secondary characters are well written that along the book you grasp the different personalities. There are no editing issues in this book that I noticed, whether typos or grammatically.
My one negative remark on this book is the medical lingo, way too much and too detailed for someone without medical background. At a certain point I started skipping the dialogue feeling utterly lost and confused with the exchanges. There is also no way to verify what the author is saying is accurate or not, well I could google it but that is not the point of reading a book.
If you like steampunk you should enjoy this book, you will probably enjoy it more if you have some medical knowledge to help you through the technical dialogue. If like me you don´t, it´s still readable .
Overall I did enjoy this book and will read book 2 in the series, The Silver Skull.
I am sure that Jane Austen fans have imagined their own version of Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy, mine didn´t look like the actors Colin Firth or Matthew MacFadyen but he most certainly was tall, dark and handsome, broad chest and defined strong arms…. you get the picture.
Then comes along Professor John Sutherland from University College London and Professor Amanda Vickery from Queen Mary University of London and for a whole month they take on a study to gain a historically accurate idea of what Darcy would have looked like.
I wish they hadn’t.
The study revealed that the revered Darcy would have had powdered white hair, a pointy chin, a pale complexion, a long nose and sloping shoulders. Not quite the brooding, chiselled chap portrayed on-screen by modern-day actors.
His hair, according to the research, would have been mid-length and powdered white, reflective of the norms of the Austen era. His face would have been long and oval-shaped with a small mouth — common features among gentlemen of the era. His skin would have been pink and white; a sign of wealth and privilege.
His build would have been slender, with a “modest chest”, but with “large quads, thighs and calves”. According to the research, strong legs were an attractive and important feature to females of the time, with “well-modelled thighs a sign of virility, a good fencer and horseman”.
Unlike Colin Firth and Matthew MacFadyen — who are both over 6ft tall — the real Darcy would have only been 5ft 11 inches.
Either way, here is what he would have looked like, the powdered hair is enough to cringe and sloping shoulders? Nope. I will stick to my imagined version of Mr. Darcy this is fiction after all and isn´t that the purpose of reading? That we lose ourselves in somebody´s else´s world with a touch of our own?
Enjoying a book I hated, I don´t get it either. My excuse is not enough coffee.
I am reviewing all three books together as I feel this should have been one book.
There are so many things wrong with this series but something about the story made me want to read all three. This was painfully awful and at the same time it wasn’t, there is so much potential in this series to make it great but as it stands it is unexceptional.
So let me start with everything I did not like about the books.
This book desperately needs some serious TLC in the editing department, and I’m not just speaking about the typos and grammar issues. Content wise the author would have greatly benefited from a good editor to give insight on the flow of the story and character development. The author claims that this was a new edited version, fire your editor and find somebody competent.
Syssi, the main character is a coward. Annoyingly so. She supposedly has premonitions, very accurate ones at that. Yet, throughout the book she gets two bad feelings. This was the only thing that made her interesting, the first three pages of the book were what got me interested and this was an important aspect. It was so disappointing that this “minor detail” only gets mentioned as her supernatural ability and not actually explored in the plot or to enrich her character. Seriously author?
Her inner self lamenting monologue is excessive and infuriating; she is insecure in the beginning of the book and remains so until the very end. AGH!!! Please give the girl a pair of balls! Work on character development and for pity’s sake make her something better than she was when we first met her.
Then there is her obsession with saving money, I’m all for smart spending and avoiding unnecessary expenditures but the character was beyond obsessed, every time money was mentioned I wanted to scream in sheer anger at how absurdly ridiculous she came across (there must be a more appropriate adjective to insult her but it’s not coming to mind right now). I skipped any conversation that included money. Author your character requires serious therapy.
Kian is a two thousand year old immortal, with the mentality of a teenage boy from an ultra conservative family that has never seen beyond the walls of the village somewhere in the dark ages. He never does anything that marks him as alpha of his clan, fighting is done by others, with the exception of scaring the crap out of a kid and biting the insecure money obsessed female. This guy can morph into any shape he desires, but does the author exploit this? Not once, there is not one scene that shows the beast and how bad ass he is. So sad.
The author pays too much attention to secondary characters in these three books. Should they be excluded? Absolutely not, they should however have been integrated in a different manner without focussing on them.
These three books should have been one book, Kian and Syssi’s story, introduction to the secondary characters, their presence but focus on the two main characters’ story.
I reached the end of book 3, the last of Kian’s and Syssi’s story and guess what? There is no ending! No ENDING!
How do you tell a story about two people for three books and come the end of book three and there is no end?
FRUSTRATING as HELL!
I will not be reading the remaining books; I sincerely hope the author reconsiders these first three books. Rewrite them, make one book, focus on your two main characters, give the story a beginning a middle and an end. Reconsider character development, surely Syssi does not need to be such an insecure creature throughout the book, does she?
Think about including her gifts of premonition, use Kian’s badass gifts and make him more the alpha and the immortal you kind of expect a two thousand year old creature to be.
So why did I read it and am giving these books a reasonably decent rating with 3 stars despite all of the above?
Because for some screwed up reason beyond mortal comprehension I actually enjoyed them. Overall the concept of the story is good, the secondary characters are interesting enough to warrant further development and with a good editor these books could truly be compared to the Black Dagger Brotherhood. As they stand, I am sorry to say but they are so far behind that the BDB are not even within their sights.