Another day, another review; I think I might have to slow down a little. I see so many blogs with Goodreads targets for books and I’m always so tempted to sign up for the year and then completely forget. I just looked up the average books a person reads in a year and it says fourteen? I apparently reviewed thirteen books just in June so maybe a little above average? Today’s review is of a lovely little novella with a steam-punk twist and a pop of passionate romance; I thought it was pretty great and I think you might to.
One man has swiped bounties from Viola, the Brass Violet, for years. Longstanding rivals, they’ve only had brief encounters, and if she had a choice, she’d avoid him entirely. When he saunters into her bar with an offer to work together on a job, the proper response would be to shoot him down and send him back to Shantytown. However, curiosity’s a wicked beast, and Viola needs to know why, after so many years of stealing her marks, he’d approach her now.
The man is insufferable, annoyingly cavalier, and tends to stir up memories she’d rather forget–but she needs assistance on this job and he’s offering aid and blueprints which could cut their work in half. Given the intense way he looks at her though, working together isn’t all he has in mind. Van Clef is known for his persistence and, with his charm, he wins women over effortlessly. Viola’s not so easy though–she’s wise to his tricks. But if he wants to play the game, she will gladly rise to the challenge. By the end of this bounty, she’ll be the one leaving him in the dust.
The book follows the deceptively sweet Viola Embrees who runs a bar, but makes her money as a bounty hunter. With the name ‘Brass Violet,’ to cover her tracks things are looking pretty dandy, until Edward Van Clef, (The Fox) steals her bounty a few too many times. When the notorious fox finds his way onto her door-step offering to share a bounty she knows she need to keep on her toes to avoid being burned by the infamous Fox.
In short this is an truly smart and quirky read; set in an alternate time, and with a few steam-punk touches thrown in for good measure the book is a brilliant way to watch a couple of hours float by. Although described as a steam-punk novel it’s not overly so; yes there are a number of techno-style gadgets and the wardrobes fit the genre but it’s not overly pushed. It’s done with a light touch and I liked that. I thought the characters are well developed. We learn enough about Viola’s (I love that name) past and the reasons why she has chosen the life of a bounty hunter and the author really fleshes out her character both in personality and also her features. Edward is equally well drawn. He is both mysterious and utterly tempting, and not seeing the story from his POV meant that he is kept in the dark.
My only real quibble with this book is how short it is. I mean I adore short books because I think they get to the point and they have to spin a tale with structure to allow it to be so short. But being only around 70 pages I felt that seeing how much stick Viola gives Edward at the beginning she then falls for him at a heart-beat. I think the author could have lengthened it a bit to make it feel more genuine. However, the steamy scene at the end although it felt a little cobbled in, was written really well.
Overall this book is a really strong read, although too short for me to really fall for the characters, the plot and the romance. I think it mixed action, romance and mystery wonderfully and with skill. I think if you’re looking for something to read on a short train journey or a lunch break or two this is perfect but if you want something that digs more into the characters and their burgeoning relationship it didn’t quite hit that mark for me. Saying that really enjoyed and interested to see what would happen next.
*EEEEE* Checks off another book on The Summer Reads Bingo Sheet! (A Novella!)