I’m so angry at this book.
Let me back up and start with all the amazing things this book has going for it.
Let’s start with the description that first got my attention: black lesbian steampunk cozy mystery. For real, what’s not to love about that?
How about that it’s set in an alternate history where there was no Civil War? Instead of the Civil War, there was a successful slave rebellion that led to the end of slavery in America? How about a late 1800s America with equality for people of color and women (and, obviously, people of color who are women)? How about that not only are the main characters are women, but so are many of the supporting characters?
If ever there were a book where I wished there were recipes included, it’s this one. The descriptions of food are detailed and luscious, and I’m deeply curious about some blue cheese chocolates that make an appearance.
The characters are good.
The story is good.
The world is good.
So why am I angry?
Because this book could have been great.
Instead, it reads like a rough draft that no one bothered to line edit or proofread. It looks like someone ran a spellcheck and hit ‘accept all’ instead of making sure the suggested corrections worked. It doesn’t have a lot of typos or misspellings, but it is full of correctly spelled but wrong words that make reading it a chore. There are also a lot of misplaced commas, awkwardly repeated words, and confusing sentence fragments and run on sentences.
This night’s too many customers for one stud problems which attention from someone on Honfleur’s emergency medical staff.
There are also a few research mistakes that threw me out of the story, such as a cooking instructor informing her class that the handle of a knife is otherwise known as the pommel. She also told her class that since they were studying to be pastry chefs, they wouldn’t need to worry about using knives much, then they spent the rest of the class chopping fruit with their knives.
Also, the prime suspect used an alias. If there was a reason why the main character knew it was an alias, I missed it, but either way, until they could discover her real identity, they had a name to use. Instead, the main character nicknamed her ‘Furious Angel,’ and for some reason everyone…understood who she was talking about and rolled with it? Even after they did find her real identity and had a real name for her, she continued to be called ‘Furious Angel,’ and it made me roll my eyes so hard every time it came up.
Despite all that, I did like this book. I just wanted so badly to love it. And when the sequel comes out, I’m going to be right there to grab a copy.
I really, really hope the next one gets the love and attention it deserves before it’s released, because I’m excited to read more about this world and these characters.
If the good points that I mentioned got your attention, too, I still suggest you get a copy of this book immediately. It’s a book and author well worth supporting.