As the proprietor of Disenchanted & Co. in a steampunk version of America, Charmian “Kit” Kittredge makes her living solving magical crimes. But when a snobbish lady begs for help, saving her reputation might very well cost Kit her life.
Doing a favor for deathmage Lucien Dredmore, Kit agrees to interview a newly widowed lady as a potential client. Upon meeting, however, she learns that the woman in question is none other than Lady Eugenia Bestly, president of the Rumsen Ladies Decency Society— someone who once led a vicious campaign to ruin Kit’s life. Ironically Lady Bestly now lives in fear herself, for the press is about to unmask her husband as the savage “Wolfman” who died while terrorizing the city.
As monstrous rampages continue to occur, Kit soon determines there is more than one Wolfman, and that they may themselves be victims of evil players. While avoiding both mechanized assassins and attempts by Dredmore and Chief Inspector Tom Doyle to take her under their protection, Kit follows a tangled path that leads from a prestigious gentlemen’s club fronting a hellish secret to a vengeful native tribe and dangerous, ancient magics.
Lynn Viehl has exceeded my expectations with The Clockwork Wolf, giving more character development between Kit, Lucien and Tommy than expected, while combining a well thought plot involving mechs, society, and magic with an in-depth, creative steampunk world. So many layers to peel away, yet nothing felt strained or contrived. Kit is like a female Sherlock Holmes, very unconventional in her methods, yet underneath her feisty facade she is loyal, caring, and kind. Her curiosity and need for independence places her in grave situations, but I wouldn't say she acts foolishly, which would grate on my nerves after awhile. Every action is done most unselfishly.
Kit has many relationships to manage, including her involvement with Lucien Dredmore, the sexiest darkmage ever to grace the page (as far as I'm concerned). Everything he does demonstrates his power, including the times when he concedes to Kit, which is never the easiest decision on his part because he wants to protect her and keep her away from those that seek to harm her. He has an image in society as a fearsome deathmage that uses the darkest magicks at his disposal, but never with Kit and those she loves. He respects her, even as he's driven to shield her, and he is equally determined to have her by his side. Although he might come across as overbearing, Kit realizes all the reasons why, even when she wants to cosh him on the head! His need for control clashes with his feelings for Kit, and her headstrong behavior hides just how strongly she feels for him. The are a contradiction and so very complicated. The relationship is further complicated by her kinder, gentler attraction to Inspector Tommy Doyle. He's respectable, kind, strong, hardworking and willing to arrest Kit at a moment's notice. Tommy tries to protect her from society and the law, and his feelings are more subtle than the blatant desire of Dredmore. For the record, I am 100% on the side of Lucien here. Tommy is a nice enough guy but I prefer the intensity and barely contained passion that Dredmore brings.
The Clockwork Wolf is the second full book of the Disenchanted and Co. series and each book is better than the one before! Please say we will get a book 3!!
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