Cara Devon has always suffered curiosity and impetuousness, but tangling with a serial killer might cure that. Permanently.
1861. Cara has a simple mission in London - finalise her father's estate and sell off his damned collection of priceless artifacts. Her plan goes awry when a killer stalks the nobility, searching for an ancient Egyptian relic rumoured to hold the key to immortality.
Nathaniel Trent, known as the villainous viscount, is relentless in his desire to lay his hands on both Cara and the priceless artifacts. His icy exterior and fiery touch stirs Cara's demons, or could he lay them to rest?
Self-preservation fuels Cara's search for the gem known as Nefertiti's Heart. In a society where everyone wears a mask to hide their true intent, she needs to figure out who to trust, before she sacrifices her own heart and life.
This is the first book in The Artifact Hunters series. I have been wanting to read this book for some time, but due to my large reading list haven't been able to do so until recently.
Cara Devon is a character I found likeable, but did want to do her some physical harm when she made impetuous decisions that put her life on the line. She also rushed into a relationship with the viscount, even after being sexually abused for years. This aspect I found most unbelievable, considering she was uncomfortable even hugging an old childhood friend. She is a young woman living in Victorian London. She returns to her deceased father's house with the intention to sell off his collection of artefacts he had acquired. One of the artefacts is rumoured to be Nefertiti's Heart, a gem of immense power reputed to give the owner immortality. Unfortunately, there's a killer after the artefact too and Cara soon finds herself facing some hard choices - continuing to run from the killer, or being helped by Nathaniel Trent, a viscount and a pirate/businessman/crime lord who wants the artefact for himself.
As I said above, I have been wanting to read this book for some time, so when I started reading I was very excited. The story is told through the eyes of both Cara and Nathaniel, though mostly through Cara's. The story started off strongly, with danger around every corner, which kept me hooked. Then the story took a more sedate turn about half way in and somehow lost the immediacy when the two main protagonists became more romantically involved. I'm not saying this was a bad thing, only that the story flow seemed to slow down and it focused more on the romance side than the adventure/action one. I still found myself riveted to the story, but it somehow became more predictable and when certain events happened it felt inevitable. I love a good plot twist that surprises me, but I could see more than a few of them coming from a mile away, even the revelation of who the killer was. This dampened my excitement over the story somewhat. I reached the end of the book with mixed feelings.
I love reading books in the steampunk genre and feel I don't read them often enough. However, I feel the author did a wonderful job in bringing the characters to life, as well as the Victorian past. So why the low rating? This is because although I enjoyed the story, I didn't feel any emotional attachment to the characters. Other readers may have a different reaction, so I will leave it to you to decide whether or not to give this book a try. As for me, I am considering reading the remaining books of the series, though due to my large reading list it could be some time before I would be able to.
A.W. Exley has written a wonderful steampunk romance/adventure that kept me hooked from beginning to end. I loved her fast paced writing style. Though the pace slowed down half way through, I thought the flow was wonderful as it flowed easily from scene to scene.
Although there are scenes of a sexual nature that are not explicit, I do not recommend this book to younger readers due to some violence and gore. I do, however, recommend this book if you love Egyptian mythology, steampunk or fantasy genres. - Lynn Worton