by Mary Wine
- File Size: 985 KB
- Print Length: 321 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1402264801
- Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (August 7, 2012)
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B008B8A7C4
My Rating: 3.75 of 5.0
Publication Date: August 7, 2012
Beneath the Surface of Victorian Life Lies a Very Different World...
Hated and feared by the upper classes, the Illuminists guard their secrets with their lives. Janette Aston's insatiable quest for answers brings her to their locked golden doors, where she encounters the most formidable man she's ever met.
Darius Lawley's job is to eliminate would–be infiltrators, but even he may be no match for Janette's cunning and charm...
Janette has an insatiable desire for learning instilled, somewhat secretly, by her mother. Her society conscious father insists that she be prim and proper and that she have nothing to due with the Illuminists, an organization of scientists. Janette sneaks into the Illuminist compound and slips into a lecture. There it is discovered that she has certain unique skills that make her valuable to the Illuminists and their enemies, the Helikeians.
Darius is the head of the Illluminist Guard and he finds himself reluctantly attracted to Janette. He doesn’t believe she could ever leave her privileged society to become part of the Illuminists. Then Janette’s father sends her to a mental doctor to straighten her out and remove her interest in the Illuminists. Darius and his friend rescue her and he sets himself as her personal protector even if she does threaten his control.
Janette is glad to have Darius’ help but isn’t so happy that he wants to make decisions for her and tell her what to do. She is thrilled to pass the Illuminist exam and be allowed to train. She is to study as a novice for a year before taking the oath. There is trouble in the ranks though when certain authorities show up insisting that her skills be put to use before her year is up.
I really enjoyed the underlying story of the battle for the crystal energy source and I loved the steampunk elements with all of the inventions used by the Illuminists in the 1843 setting. There is also an interesting view on the fine line of male and female equality. Janette is a wonderfully strong character seeking independence and willing to explore the free love attitude of the Illuminists. Darius is brooding and resistant but also dedicated, loyal and a grand protector. There seemed to be some experience in his past that made him distrust Janette but I never quite figured out what that was. There are other characters who have some conflict and may be paired off in the further books.
Unfortunately, the plot of this story was overshadowed by bantering, resisting ‘foreplay’ between Janette and Darius that soon moved into rather graphic sexual encounters. It got to a point where another intimate scene would begin and I would say “Come on! Get on with the story.”
There are numerous traitors in the Illuminists organization and it seemed that the guard was doing little to discover their identities. Several actions near the end didn’t quite make sense and there are loose threads which I hope will get resolved in the next book. Having two thirds of the book as love scenes, no matter how creative, is more than I want to wade through. If you like your stories with strong characters, a mysterious and interesting ‘good versus evil’ plot and steamy romance you should like this.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Darius has lots of warnings for Janette:
You long for something you know comes with consequences. Reaching for it will cost you the security of the position you currently occupy. Location 334
The ride will be intense, but it will have to end eventually. Reality will be waiting, I assure you. Location 3127.
Thank you to Sourcebooks who provided this book from NetGalley.