My first post for this new blog is about one of my favorite books of 2015. Because it is not romance (though there are hints….), I did not contribute my review to the other romance-oriented blogs I am affiliated with. So this is the first non-Goodreads/Amazon post for this review.
The blurb for this steampunk story reached out and grabbed me. An elegant assassin that can’t stand the sight of blood and a blackmailing, grammatically incorrect urchin. Really, I could not resist! The story of assassin Longinus and urchin Rory should not be resisted. I started and finished The Viper and the Urchin on the same day.
Longinus is an amazingly written character. As an assassin, he thinks himself quite elegant and dapper. Although he knows how to use a sword, he abhors the use of blades in the assassination business. He thinks great thoughts and writes them down. And the sight of blood makes him ill. But he has not let that deter him from becoming the famous Viper. Rory is a street urchin who has dreams of becoming a heroic swordswoman and works everyday of her life toward that goal. When Rory discovers that Viper has a flaw, she decides that blackmail might get him to train her in the ways of the sword. And so a partnership is formed.
I’ve found new author with a delightful talent for telling a tale! There are many things I liked about this book. The characters, the plot, the setting. But first and foremost, I loved the writing.
Ms. Jeanjean can certainly set a scene. She is so imaginative! The details of a scene are almost part of the action, described in a way that gets me into the book so that I too can experience what Rory experiences, right down to the sights, sounds and smells of the city of Damsport.
A memorable scene of a ride on Crazy Willy’s steamcoach includes a fire-breathing steamcoach, a dangerous leap onto said racing steamcoach, and a monkey that takes the fare from the teeth of Rory while she is clinging to the side and then sticks around until she yells ‘Eight’ to let the monkey know where she wants to get off. The steamcoach does stop at Eight to let Rory disembark – but barely!
There are so many wonderful imaginative elements in The Viper and the Urchin, I could almost forget there is an actual plot wrapped up in all this imagination. Just kidding. There is an assassin! There has to be some evil plot that involves Longinus/Viper. And Rory. People are dying and it looks like the Viper’s work. But Longinus denies responsibility and Rory believes him. But why would someone try to copy the Viper. Or discredit the Viper? In the meantime, Rory is warned away from Longinus. Some terrible business is afoot in Damsport. The team of Viper and the Rory are on the trail.
I can’t end this without adding a few more of the lovely images from the mind of Celine Jeanjean. So here are few just to pique your interest:
1) Voiceless cemetery cats
2) Giant mechanical spider
3) Lethal pony tails
4) Butterscotch coffee
5) The Old Girl
So – 5 Stars! If you like fascinating characters, steampunk devices, clever monkeys and just plain really good writing, you should check out The Viper and the Urchin. Yes, I loved this book!