Her Ladyship’s Curse by Lynn Viehl

August 12, 2013 Review 9 ★★★

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.

Her Ladyship’s Curse by Lynn ViehlHer Ladyship's Curse by Lynn Viehl
Series: Disenchanted & Co. #1
Published by Gallery Books on August 12, 2013
Genres: Paranormal, Steampunk
Pages: 200
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley
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In a steampunk version of America that lost the Revolutionary War, Charmian (Kit) Kittredge makes her living investigating magic crimes and exposing the frauds behind them. While Kit tries to avoid the nobs of high society, as the proprietor of Disenchanted & Co. she follows mysteries wherever they lead.

Lady Diana Walsh calls on Kit to investigate and dispel the curse she believes responsible for carving hateful words into her own flesh as she sleeps. While Kit doesn’t believe in magic herself, she can’t refuse to help a woman subjected nightly to such vicious assaults. As Kit investigates the Walsh family, she becomes convinced that the attacks on Diana are part of a larger, more ominous plot—one that may involve the lady’s obnoxious husband.

Sleuthing in the city of Rumsen is difficult enough, but soon Kit must also skirt the unwanted attentions of nefarious deathmage Lucien Dredmore and the unwelcome scrutiny of police Chief Inspector Thomas Doyle. Unwilling to surrender to either man’s passion for her, Kit struggles to remain independent as she draws closer to the heart of the mystery. Yet as she learns the truth behind her ladyship’s curse, Kit also uncovers a massive conspiracy that promises to ruin her life—and turn Rumsen into a supernatural battleground from which no one will escape alive.

So, if you’ve followed my reviews for a while you may have noticed that I really like steampunk books with a paranormal twist (and if you haven’t noticed, then shame on you, faithful reader!). I think it’s a spill-over from my first love of fantasy, mixed in with my new-found love of all things steampunk (I have spent many an hour gazing at steampunk clothing and jewelry online). Her Ladyship’s Curse is another book in that line.

This book is set in Victorian times, where steam rules, and magic is very real. Except Kit, our heroine, doesn’t actually believe in magic. Actually, she’s pretty set on magic users being a bunch of charlatans because in her experience, magic has never worked. And at first it seems like she’s right. As the reader we follow Kit on her many adventures, from visiting her friends to getting involved with the nobles’ affairs where she is decidedly not wanted.

The more we follow Kit, though, the more it becomes obvious that magic does exist. The reason Kit doesn’t believe it is because magic truly does not work for her. In fact, when magic comes into contact with Kit it ceases to work at all, and so assassination attempts are foiled, spells are broken, and Kit goes on debunking enchantments through a mix of old-fashioned detective work that would make Mr. Holmes quite proud, and her own strange talent that she doesn’t realize she even has!

I love how Kit is so determined to believe that magic doesn’t exist. She does a fantastic job at solving her cases with the detective work, she makes the most intriguing and unexpected contacts throughout the course of the novel (and prior to the novel), and she is more stubborn than a mule. It’s always nice to see such a distinctive trait that works both for her and against her, and lends such a sense of character to an otherwise ordinary character.

It would have been nice to see the secondary characters expanded on more. While Kit’s friends have been nicely developed (though they don’t seem to have any flaws to speak of), her client hasn’t been developed at all leaving me to wonder why Kit is putting in quite so much effort to solve this one.

The only real problem for me is that this book ends on a huge cliffhanger. Kit is snatched up, the case isn’t actually solved, and she’s being swept off her feet all at the same time. Those last few chapters are confusing! If you’re not a fan of cliff hangers you should probably wait for the next book because this one was a doozy!

Do you like steampunk paranormal novels as much as I do? Which is your favourite?

9 Responses to “Her Ladyship’s Curse by Lynn Viehl”

    • Laureen

      I guess both part one and two are going to be released together in 2014, so not everyone will deal with the cliffie, it just seemed very strange and so abrupt. But at least the second one comes out in a couple months! Thanks for commenting.

    • Laureen

      Steampunk novels are usually set in an Alternate History where we used steam and clockwork to power things. Did you ever watch Wild Wild West with Will Smith? It was this corny western/comedy movie that’s actually quite steampunk in nature. I loved it. 😀

  1. Jenni

    You know, I have always found that I am excited about steampunk novels but they usually end up letting me down. Though I did read The Dark Unwinding recently and really really enjoyed that one, so maybe I am warming up to the genre?

    • Laureen

      I love the steampunk genre, but lately I’m finding that a lot of steampunk novels are really light on the steampunk and clockwork elements. I’ll have to check out The Dark Unwinding sometime. I’ve heard so many great things about it.

  2. Vilia

    The cliff-hanger annoyed me too as it was so abrupt. I’ve read other novels that have been split where there has been a temporary resolution of sorts – much more satisfying. This half had lots of steampunk elements but the second half has far more magic. I really enjoyed both.

    I’m not sure if you’ve read it but you might like A.A. Aguirre’s “Bronze Gods” which is a police procedural set in a steampunk world. It is much heavier on the steampunk aspect.

    • Laureen

      Yeah, I’ve read some others where there was a cliffhanger but there was a temporary resolution so I didn’t wind up staring at the book wondering who took some scissors to it. It very much felt like it had simply been chopped in half! I’m looking forward to reading the second part, though!

      I haven’t read that one yet. I’ll have to look for it now. Thanks for the suggestion!

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