Thursday, May 30, 2013
Review: Bronze Gods (Apparatus Infernum #1) by A.A. Aguirre
Hy Breasil is grimmer than it used to be.
Before the Architect closed the door, there were regular crossings, and a great war decimated both humans and Ferishers. The native fae who refused to treat with the invaders faded; their bodies withered and died, stranding them as hungry, angry spirits that haunt the countryside.
That means there’s always trouble brewing in Dorstaad.
Janus Mikani and Celeste Ritsuko work for the Criminal Investigation Department, keeping citizens safe from things that go bump in the night. He’s a hardboiled cynic with an uncanny sixth sense; she’s determined to justify her promotion as the first female detective in her division. Together, they’re trying to keep a black tide from drowning the city.
But when the second body surfaces, murdered with the same type of infernal device, the entire CID must face the truth. There’s a madman on the loose, twining magic and blood… and only Mikani and Ritsuko can unravel the intricate, lethal conspiracy before the Royale killer completes his macabre plan, unleashing old, forbidden magic on an unsuspecting populace. If the maniac succeeds, it could mean the end of everything. ~ Goodreads
Grimspace (Sirantha Jax #1) was the first Ann Aguirre book that I read. I did not like sci-fi. I now love reading sci-fi.. Then I heard she was writing a YA dystopian – Enclave (Book #1 in the Razorland trilogy). I was desperate to read that book and see what she could do with YA and it’s now one of my all time favorite series. My point is that I think Ann Aguirre can write any genre and knock it out of the park.
I was excited for Bronze Gods because this was Ann's first foray into steampunk (that I'm aware of anyway). In this case, co-authored with her husband Andres who brings very strong world building skills to the table. I’m not a huge fan of steampunk but I had faith that she/they could convince me. As expected, I loved it.
The series opens with the tale of a centuries old feud between the Ferishers (Fey) and humans. While this war seems to be a thing of the past, old wounds are unearthed after the gruesome murder of a daughter belonging to a prominent family. Longtime partners in the Criminal Investigation Division, Janus Mikani and Celeste Ritsuko are brought into solve the murder. They quickly realize that there is more to this case. Old, poweful magic is involved and there may be more victims.
Mikani and Ritsuko are the biggest strength of Bronze Gods. Their chemistry both smolders and explodes off the page with them barely touching. She is organized and pragmatic while he is messy and relies on magic to solve his cases. They have a strong Mulder & Scully from the X-Files vibe going on. It was so interesting to see their awkward realization that they may be attracted to each other. They’ve been working together for years but have always been in other relationships and unavailable until recently. What I loved though is that the romance while promising to be intense, takes a back seat to the central plot of solving the case.
The murders are terrifying & gruesome with the race to save the next intended victim leaving the reader tense with anticipation.
There are shifting POV’s not only between Mikani & Ritsuko but also between two other characters. At first I couldn’t understand why and honestly wasn’t very interested but it all tied in to the main plot and I ended up very invested in the outcome. The secondary characters were very well developed and added yet another layer to this already intricately woven story.
What surprised me most about this book was that this wasn’t so much steampunk (although there are a few steampunk elements – kind of creepy ones) as it was Urban Fantasy/Noir and they all blended together beautifully. The thing about Bronze Gods is that the world building is always happening – almost without you even noticing – until the pieces all click into place.
Final thoughts: The Aguirre’s have created a fascinating new world that unfolds at an almost languid pace yet you can cut the tension, both sexual and otherwise, with a knife. Fantastic, complex characters with plenty of twists and turns that have me wondering where the heck Apparatus Infernum book #2 - Silver Mirrors will take my beloved Mikani and Ritsuko next.
** There was a fun blog tour for Bronze Gods, hosted by Maja - The Nocturnal Library, You really should check it out. Instead of the typical guest posts/interviews, Ann and Andres shared Mikani and Ritsuko’s notes while investigating the case. Start at the blog tour link then follow along using the links at the end of Maja’s post.
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Buy the book! Bronze Gods (An Apparatus Infernum Novel)