The Whiskey With My Book blog header is currently featuring a picture I took of my bookshelf. On it are several SciFi Romance and Steampunk Romance titles. These are all favorites of mine and wonderful 5-star adventures, so they will be featured in several posts over the next few weeks.
A.A. Aguirre is the pseudonym for the husband and wife writing team of Ann and Andres Aguirre. Already a fan of Ann Aguirre from her Sirantha Jax series, I had to try the new series Apparatus Infernum when the first book came out in 2013. I loved the first book, Bronze Gods. My copy of the second book, Silver Mirrors, is actually an ARC that some lucky reviewers received. I might have had a ‘squee’ moment when I got my copy!
The series is described as ‘Steampunk Noir’ on Ann Aguirre’s website. That description fits the first book, Bronze Gods but you also need to add something about supernatural crimes. Silver Mirrors is less about detective work and more about an all out confrontation of the dark forces that plague Hy Breasil.
As powerful magic comes creeping back, dangerous days are dawning…
Criminal Investigation Division inspectors Janus Mikani and Celeste Ritsuko were lucky to make it out of their last mission alive. Since then, strange troubles have plagued the city of steam and shadows, apparently as a result of magic released during the CID inspectors’ desperate interruption of an ancient ritual. The fabric of the world has been unsettled, and the Council has assigned Mikani and Ritsuko to investigate.
They soon discover that matters are worse than they imagined. Machines have developed minds of their own, cragger pirates are raiding the seas with relentless aggression, and mad elementals are running amok. As the chaos builds to a crescendo, Mikani and Ritsuko must fight a war on two fronts—and this time, they may not be able to turn the deadly tide…
Here is an excerpt from Silver Mirrors.
Their boss, Commander Gunwood, came to his office doorway, looking cranky. “Mikani! Ritsuko! What were you doing out there, planting roses? Get in here.”
Mikani heard his partner stifle a sigh, but they both answered the commander’s dulcet tones. “Something we can do to protect and serve?”
“Damn right. In case you hadn’t noticed, the city’s going insane. More than usual. She’s never been a sweet lady, but bronze gods, she’s gone well and truly mad this time.”
Mikani exchanged a look with Ritsuko. “What’s going on?”
“Take your pick!” Gunwood strode past them, all but shouldering them aside as he headed for the torn and weathered map of the city hung from the wall. “There’s a freak thunderstorm hovering over the Mountain District. Just the Mountain District; the bloody cloud ends at the walls. Something’s making the trains wail like damn’d souls between Temple and North stations. And every car, bus, and trolley that tries to make its way past Golden Way starts looping faster and faster around the park until they crash or break down.” He paused to glare at them, then slammed his open hand down in the middle of the map. “Two dozen suicides, and I’ve lost count of the number of calls for help with invisible intruders.”
“I knew it was bad,” Ritsuko said, “but not to this extent. Where do you want us, Commander?”
Mikani wasn’t about to take an assignment when he had been offered a choice. “We’ll head for North station and see what’s making the trains sad, shall we? Maybe they just need a shoulder to cry on and a stern talking-to.” Ritsuko laughed.
“This isn’t the sort of thing they cover in the manual, is it?”
The commander looked so aggravated that he might actually burst a blood vessel, so Mikani figured it was time to leave. He took note of the huge stack of unusual incident reports on his boss’s desk on the way out.
They didn’t linger long in the duty room. Other CID personnel shared the lift with them as they headed down to the lobby. Even the guard on duty seemed harried, which was odd, as the man seemed relatively unflappable. On the street, there were less pedestrians than normal, just a few bondsmen in House colors, looking none too pleased with their assignments.
The underground was a short walk from CID Headquarters. On the way, Mikani passed the coffee stand where he always used to buy drinks from Electra, a daughter of the Summer Clan whom he had failed to save. He’d always regret that, and he knew a pang of guilt as they strode past. He hadn’t bought anything from them since.
Down in the Park station, it was quiet, no inhuman wailing here. Mikani glanced at Ritsuko. “Seems calm enough.”
“Let’s ride up to Temple and farther, see when the mood changes.”
With a murmur of agreement, he boarded the train just before the doors closed. There were a handful of other passengers, all of whom were carefully not looking at one another. And they all disembarked at the next station. Ritsuko was frowning.
“Did that seem odd to you?” Mikani asked.
“Just a bit.”
“Well, I know it was not something I said. Maybe you gave them one of your looks. The ones you give me when you accuse me of dodging the paperwork.”
He kept a straight face but could not help looking around the empty carriage. There was something definitely off about the feel of the train: in all his years of riding the underground to and from Central, he’d never felt uneasy. Until tonight. I feel eyes at the nape of my neck, and I swear someone’s whispering just outside the damned window.
Usually, his partner would banter back, but she didn’t rise to the bait this time. “It’s cold in here. Really cold.”
“I’d— wait. Yes, it is. And there’s that same bitterness in the air as in the mirror station yesterday.” Now that he was paying attention, he could make out a rhythmic pounding at his temples and an uncomfortable pressure at the center of his chest. Hells and Winter.
It seemed to Mikani as if the train was actually picking up speed. That’s not normal. The usual announcement was conspicuously absent. He shifted in his seat as they approached the Temple station to catch sight of six people waiting on the platform, but the train didn’t slow. Instead, it zoomed past, and the hammering in his head grew more intense.
If you are interested in my review, please visit Goodreads.
Bronze Gods came first in the series. For Steampunk lovers, Bronze Gods has more of that steampunk flavor, while Silver Mirrors starts to bend toward fantasy/paranormal. But somehow, they still fit together. I’d read Bronze Gods first, mainly because both books are great and deserve to be read so why not read them in order.
Here is a blurb for Bronze Gods:
Danger stalks the city of steam and shadows.
Janus Mikani and Celeste Ritsuko work all hours in the Criminal Investigation Division, keeping citizens safe. He’s a charming rogue with an uncanny sixth sense; she’s all logic—and the division’s first female inspector. Between his instincts and her brains, they collar more criminals than any other partnership in the CID.
Then they’re assigned a potentially volatile case in which one misstep could end their careers. At first, the search for a missing heiress seems straightforward, but when the girl is found murdered—her body charred to cinders—Mikani and Ritsuko’s modus operandi is challenged as never before. It soon becomes clear the bogeyman has stepped out of nightmares to stalk gaslit streets, and it’s up to them to hunt him down. There’s a madman on the loose, weaving blood and magic in an intricate, lethal ritual that could mean the end of everything…
Sound interesting? Already decided you want to get one or both books for your bookshelf or e-reader? As of 2/18, Bronze Gods was on sale at Amazon. Hopefully it will still be a bargain when you click on the link!
Website – http://www.annaguirre.com/