E-galley received through Netgalley for review.
Need next book(s) in the series *right now*.
Evelina Cooper, the niece of detective Shelock Holmes, has finished school and is about to enter her first Season in London. She's been living with her friend Imogen, the daughter of Lord Bancroft - a politician and former ambassador. However, when one of the Bancroft servants is murdered, Evelina begins her own investigation to discover the name of the killer.
The world in which Ms Holloway's series is set is a fascinating mix of steampunk and magic. London is powered by steam and gas and controlled by the wealthy steam barons, who have cut up the city in different areas of influence. But even more powerful than steam is magic, a mysterious force which has been declared illegal.
Evelina has magic in her blood. The daughter of a noble woman who had eloped with a soldier, she spent her childhood with her Gran Cooper at the Ploughman circus, learning to walk the rope and perform on the trapeze. Then Grandma Holmes came to take her away, so that she could be raised as a young lady from the gentry. In school she made friends with Imogen Roth and was invited to spend time at her family residence, Hilliard House.
Evelina has feelings for Tobias, Imogen's elder brother, but she also has a soft spot for her childhood friend and former sweetheart Nick, alias the Indomitable Niccolo, an accomplished rider and the main attraction at the Ploughman circus. Nick has magic in his blood, too, and their being together causes their magic to flow free and unrestrained. Evelina's relationship with Tobias is further complicated by his father, who asks him to seduce her in order to distract her from the murder case. Tobias, however, refuses to do so.
Evelina is an intelligent, passionate young lady. She wishes to complete her education at Women's College in London, but her grandmother is opposed to the idea and wants to see her married instead. Evelina, in addition to her knowledge about magic, also has interests in mechanics and the creation of small mechanical objects. This is a passion she shares with Tobias, but they both need to keep it a secret, as it is frowned upon for members of the upper classes to do manual work.
Ms Holloway's description are very vivid, rich, and detailed. Maybe even a little too much detailed. If I had to find a fault in this book, it would be its size. About 480 pages is a bit too much, in my opinion. Many descriptions could be cut a little without any real loss in meaning. I do want to keep reading this series - I am eager for the next book - but I hope it's slightly shorter.