Bradley blanched in surprise.
The One That Got Away, by Elaine White
The One That Got Away, by Elaine White
Outstanding yet again! The Faraday Files is one of my most favorite series! The 1900s alternate steampunk London (Darrington City) and the diverse cast of characters found a place in my heart in Kate Mcintyre's debut, The Deathsniffer's Assistant, and I've been watching the characters struggle and cry, laugh and grow, sacrifice and persevere ever since.
But before I get into my review of Kate's newest release, book three, The Heartreader's Secret, I'd like to give you a brief overview of the first two books.
In the first book, The Deathsniffer's Assistant, we're introduced to the very eccentric and hard-hearted Olivia Faraday, a Deathsniffer (someone who hunts murderers) and her overly sensitive assistant, Christopher Buckley, a WordWeaver (transcribes thoughts directly to page).
Chris and his sister, Rosemary recently lost both of their parents in the Floating Castle accident and Chris has had to take on the responsibility of not only raising Rosemary but trying to keep her safe and out of the hands of the enemy that want to harness her unique and very strong gifts. Chris and Rosemary have been living on the savings that their wealthy parents left them but the money is starting to run out so Chris has to find a job to support them. He's never had to work before so he has absolutely no experience doing anything and Olivia Faraday, who's in need of an assistant to help with her investigations, is the only employer willing to take him on. So there begins the start of an unexpected but fond and spirited comradeship...
In book two, The Timeseer's Gambit, Olivia and Chris have their hands full hunting for someone using bound elementals to kill young priests and trying to find evidence to save Dr. Francis Livingstone who's been falsely accused and is now standing trial for the thousands of deaths caused by the falling of the Floating Castle. In his personal life Chris is struggling with his sexual identity and the mixed feelings he has for both Rachel Albany and his childhood friend, Will.
Then we come to Kate's newest masterpiece, The Heartreader's Secret. Chris's attraction to both Rachel and Will come to a roaring head in this book. We get an in-depth view of how conflicted Chris is with his sexual identity. He really struggles with reconciling his real feelings with his need to conform to society's expectations. On top of that, Emilia, a very brilliant engineer, poc and girlfriend to one of Chris and Olivia's good friends, Maris, has gone missing. Maris, a police officer, is absolutely devastated and she's convinced that something bad has happened to Emilia. On Maris's request, Chris and Olivia travel to the last place Emilia was working which happens to be Olivia's childhood home, Miller's farm. They've traveled under the guise of investigating the suicide of one the stable hands so as not to alert potential suspects that they're on their trail. As Chris and Olivia search for clues to Emilia's dissapearance, we also get a front row seat to the discord between Olivia and her mother and we learn the real reason why Olivia has given up her family legacy to be a Deathsniffer.
So that's a little background on the series thus far. It'a a spectacular series and each book just gets better and better! If you like mysteries with a dash of steampunk, then you should really give this series a try. I guarantee Darrington City and its diverse and eccentric inhabitants will reel you in like they did me!
*I received this ARC from the publisher, Curiosity Quills Press, and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
First thing's first: this is NOT a romance, so anyone reading this as a romance is going to be very disappointed. This is a war story with some romantic elements, but those elements make up a very small percentage of page time. Really, it's more a story of a squadron of pilots, focusing on three of the men, two of whom just happen to be gay and start a relationship with each other, but for the most part that relationship is between the lines.
HOWEVER, all that said, I still really enjoyed the story. I could tell that a lot of research went into this. The lingo, the fight scenes, the war diary, the protocols - I can't attest to how accurate anything is but it sure sounds legit. (Though the military lingo was a little too much at times. I even had to go back and relisten to the first few chapters because I was losing the thread of the story. Once I got used to it though, the story flowed well.) I thought many times while watching that this would make a great war movie, perhaps directed by Ron Howard, and I would've liked for the story to keep going after
Fred gets hurt and discharged
since I wasn't invested in the relationship as much as I was the squadron as a whole. So the ending felt a little anti-climatic. The epilogue covered about twenty-five years after the war's end, highlighting the major events in Fred and Jack's lives together. But even though this isn't a romance,
I was still disappointed this wasn't an HEA for them, since it ends with Jack's death by heart attack.
Keeping in mind this was originally written in 1979, it's no surprise then that this is not the gay-ok revisionist history that you get in too many m/m romances today. I get why people want their protags to be happy, but I always feel like it disrespects the men (and women) who had to live through those times. I really did like that aspect of it, and just the fact that this was published when it was is an example of all those little steps over the decades that brought us to where we are today.
The narrator does a good job, though I wished he'd made the voices a little more distinctive. My issues with the audiobook isn't because of him though. The editing was less than stellar. I lost track of how many times sentences were repeated, but it was easily over a dozen. This should've been caught before it was released and since I've had experience with this from Audible before, I doubt it's going to be fixed any time soon.
I do recommend this one if you're a WWII buff and enjoy action/adventure stories, but readers wanting Romance (™) should look elsewhere.