by A.A. Aguirre
Series: Apparatus Infernum #1
Published by: Penguin
Hy Breasil is grimmer than it used to be. Before the Architect closed the door, there were regular crossings, and a great war decimated both humans and Ferishers. The native fae who refused to treat with the invaders faded; their bodies withered and died, stranding them as hungry, angry spirits that haunt the countryside. That means there’s always trouble brewing in Dorstaad. Janus Mikani and Celeste Ritsuko work for the Criminal Investigation Department, keeping citizens safe from things that go bump in the night. He’s a hardboiled cynic with an uncanny sixth sense; she’s determined to justify her promotion as the first female detective in her division. Together, they’re trying to keep a black tide from drowning the city. But when the second body surfaces, murdered with the same type of infernal device, the entire CID must face the truth. There’s a madman on the loose, twining magic and blood… and only Mikani and Ritsuko can unravel the intricate, lethal conspiracy before the Royale killer completes his macabre plan, unleashing old, forbidden magic on an unsuspecting populace. If the maniac succeeds, it could mean the end of everything…
Hell and Winter Bronze Gods was good! A.A. Aguirre blends together noir, steampunk, a pinch of fantasy and paranormal with a generous portion of mystery and suspense and then she adds brilliant characters. All of which create a tale that quickly captured my attention and allowed me to slip into the pages. Three word review: suspenseful, charming, and impressive.
Criminal Investigators Janus Mikani and Celeste Ritsuko are partners at the CID Dorstaad branch. Years ago the Architect closed the door to Hy Breasil after a war between humans and Ferishers. This has left unwelcome elements of magic within the city. They been assigned an unusual murder case, but when a second body is found and an infernal device was used they quickly realize they have a madman on the loose. With their careers and more at stake the tale that unfolds is action-packed, suspenseful and filled with delicious banter.
I abso-freakin-lutely love the dynamic duo Aguirre created with Mikani and Ritsuko. In a way they are exact opposites and it creates this dynamic team that feeds off of each other. Ritsuko dots her I’s, is organized, detail oriented and is constantly working to prove herself as the first female in her division. She is also quite clever at thinking outside the box and good at the politics and toe side stepping necessary in their field especially as Mikani’s partner. He can be brass at times and a tad too forward as he reads people. Mikani from his appearance to his actions seemed unorganized but he works on instinct and some Fae abilities in his bloodline. He can be a real charmer, and while not quite a rake he isn’t interested in commitment. His abilities cause him to suffer from excruciating headaches and he self medicates. I loved their partnership; they trust each other, make the other one better and stand up for one another. This makes them the perfect crime solving team. Their banter is charming, hilarious and has a little romantic edge to it. Each isn’t willing to cross the line, but ooh it created moments and I so wanted it to happen. Which caused me to suffer verbal fits of, “Kiss her!” “Tell him!” and, “You idiot” It was delicious and I cannot wait to see how things develop. The characters are wonderfully fleshed-out even the secondary characters creating a world I slipped into.
Aguirre’s world-building is exceptional from the period to the characters. She gave a panoramic view and her attention to detail made me not only see but taste the world she created. The characters were so fleshed out that they literally came to life in my mind’s eye. I could see them fully from their style to mannerism. The mystery itself was intense, fascinating and had moments where I held my breath as it unfolded. The gadgets and magic were filled with steampunk goodness and so true to this genre. I loved the reference to Hy Breasil the mystical island and am anxious to learn more. The threads of the investigation were solid and the author weaved them all together slowly building to the climatic ending which had my heart racing. The villain and suspects were dark and intriguing and while I began to suspect who the villain was it wasn’t until the reveal that all the pieces clicked together. This isn’t a book you read it one sitting as you will want to savor it and absorb all the complexities of the world. I closed the book with a smile and then felt sadness as I will have to endure the wait for book two.
Fans of noir, steampunk and epic world building with fleshed-out characters will adore Bronze Gods and the duo writing team of A.A. Aguirre. Silver Mirrors is the next book in the Apparatus Infernum series and there is at this time no news on its expected release *sigh* * FYI for those who have difficulty reading small print the paperback version uses a really small font and even with my reading glasses it was difficult to read. I ended up buying the eBook version so that I could change the font.
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