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review 2018-01-29 14:41
Review: A Trace of Copper by Anne Renwick
A Trace of Copper (An Elemental Web Tale Book 2) - Anne Renwick

Dr. Piyali Mukherji, an agent of the Queen, is on her first assignment: she is sent to a small village to determine the cause of a mysterious infection. Although she’s excited to solve the challenging case, she’s on edge because her once-fiancé is the town’s pharmacist.

 

Evan Tredegar never stopped loving Piyali, however the day he returned from his travels abroad, a tragic event prevented him from contacting her. When she shows up in his small town, he realizes that time cannot erase his love or passion.

 

A Trace of Copper is a wonderful novella set in the Elemental Web steampunk world. It’s a standalone mystery/romance, and knowledge of the series/world is not needed. The main characters are smart and witty. Ms. Renwick’s storytelling is both intellectually stimulating as well as emotionally satisfying. 

 

Piyali and Evan remained loyal to one another for the years he was abroad and she was in medical school, and through the mystery of the blue frog, have a means to reconnect and rekindle their love story. The romance is always present in glances and small touches, but the pair would have to push aside feelings to work on the case. But passion can only be bottled for so long when working next to the person you love. Their love story is innocent and sweet, while the separation added a flame of heat to their romance. 

 

Solving the medical case, as well as watching all of the other pieces of the story fall into place was exciting. I so enjoy the Elemental Web world and Ms. Renwick’s writing style! I cannot wait to read (or listen to) more! 

 

My Rating:  A- Enjoyed A Lot

 

Review copy (eARC) was provided by the author.

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review 2017-09-01 00:00
The Silver Skull (The Elemental Web Chronicles Book 2)
The Silver Skull (The Elemental Web Chronicles Book 2) - Anne Renwick One of my first forays into the steampunk mystery genre. Well written and exciting.
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review 2017-08-29 00:00
The Golden Spider
The Golden Spider - Anne Renwick The Golden Spider - Anne Renwick One of my first forays into the steampunk mystery genre. Well written and exciting.
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review 2017-08-03 16:10
#Audiobook Review: Th Silver Skull by Anne Renwick
The Silver Skull: The Elemental Web Chronicles, Book 2 - Henrietta Meire,Anne Renwick,Tantor Audio

As the daughter of a prominent Duke, Lady Olivia is expected to marry, produce heirs for her husband, and run a successful household - all things she was taught to do. Except Olivia is also a Queen’s agent, trained to marry a politically motivated target and report on his activities. Olivia sees this as a means to an end; becoming a widow and then a field agent. Tired of waiting for field assignment, Olivia takes matters in her own hands when she decides to follow Lord Ian Rathsburn.

 

Ian is a man with a tarnished reputation; a former Queen’s agent whose life work was stolen and is being developed by the enemy: Germany. Yet when his enemies kidnap his sister, Ian must act traitor to his country and help the Germans further develop his ideas, working along side his former friend - the man who stole his work. Finding stowaway Lady Olivia on his dirigible, Ian isn’t certain if she’s a bubble-headed woman looking for a husband, or an agent of the Queen looking to bring him in.

 

The second story in Ms. Renwick’s wonderful Elemental Web Chronicles is equally exciting and doubly adventurous as its predecessor. The story not only takes readers across the sea to Germany, but also opens up the setting to the much larger world. The world building continues as new characters are introduced, some with long-term potential. I feel like the entire Elemental Web Chronicles universe has expanded immensely after just one additional book. Even though things are growing within the series mythos, The Silver Skull is a tightly-woven story. The author does a fabulous job bring her world and characters to life without overwhelming readers/listeners. 

 

The romance between physician Ian and engineer Olivia is entertaining. I love the use of “scientific exploration” as a means for examining their mutual and intense attraction. They banter and play as only two geeks could, which is very enduring to me. I appreciate the conundrum of being spies and the need to keep secrets versus creating a solid rapport  based on honesty. Their romance burns slowly, but the unfulfilled desire keeps pulling the two together.

 

At first I was concerned that the similarities between The Silver Skull and the first title, The Golden Spider, would make for a repetitive listen; a scientist working to save a sibling, confiscation of experimental equipment, etc. However, the stories truly are very different. This story is very dark. Rathsburn’s sister, Elizabeth, is not only being held against her will but she's being experimented on, and she's been forced into an engagement to the evil faux doctor. There are several scenes that left me a bit uncomfortable because of the extent of coercion and/or “torture” involved. But with that said, the story never ventures into gratuitous violence, and there is a happy ending!

 

Once again, I adored the narration by Ms. Meire. Her “proper English” accent fits my ideas of how these ladies and lords would speak. She tosses in some lower-brow voices, as well as German and Chinese accents. Each male and female has their own, unique voice, with both genders well-presented.

 

While at first I was thrown by what appeared to be a “one-eighty” in Olivia’s character between the first and second books, I grew to appreciate the extent Olivia goes to find her own happiness out of life, regardless of her mother’s expectations and desires. Finding love despite one’s preconceived notions, while accepting someone for who they are in earnest, is the true message behind this exciting steampunk adventure. 

 

My Rating: B+

Narration: A-

 

Review copy provided by Tantor Audio

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review 2017-06-09 04:20
#Audiobook Review: The Golden Spider by Anne Renwick
The Golden Spider: Elemental Web Chronicles Series, Book 1 - Henrietta Meire,Anne Renwick,Tantor Audio

Set in a time when England and Germany have heightened tensions, spy networks are vast, and the ton continues with its balls and social obligations unaware of the secrets around them, Lady Amanda wars with her father, the Duke, over her ability to attend medical school. Amanda is driven by her keen intelligence and a guilt over her brother’s injured leg, to produce a clockwork device to repair nerve damage. Under pressure to find a husband within the year, Amanda courts a classmate, but finds no sparks. However, when her work captures the attention of Lord Thornton, noted physician and neurologist, Lady Amanda finally knows what it is like to have her mind appreciated.


Lord Thornton lives with the guilt over the betrayal of his best friend in his damaged leg that will never heal. As a spy for the Queen herself, he finds Amanda’s work to be the break he needs in a rash of Gypsy murders. However much he is attracted to both her brain and her body, Thornton must keep the relationship professional, especially since he’s not on the market for a wife.

 

The Golden Spider is a delicious treat for fans of gadgets, science, and steampunk romance! Right from the start, I was drawn into this exciting mystery, trying to discover who is behind the Gypsy murders. Watching Amanda’s mind work to piece the puzzle together is fascinating, and made all the much better as she and Thornton grow closer. I love the science of the story - the author does not brush over Amanda and Thornton’s work, but rather gives listeners the details of both test subjects and gadgets. 

 

While the engineering, science, action, and adventure is completely fascinating, it is the romance between Lord Thornton and Lady Amanda that gives The Golden Spider heart and makes it such a wonderful story. The pair are meant for one another; not only do they share a passion for science and ingenuity, but they are able to openly be themselves with each other. Thornton doesn’t trust easily, but he finds a confidant in Amanda. Working side by side, their passion grows until they finally give into their burning desires.

 

The story is read by British-born actress Henrietta Meire, who embodies the Regency Steampunk setting perfectly. She modulates her tone to fit both high society snobbery and working class Roma. Her narrator tone is mostly neutral, but seems to be a tad bit softer when expressing Amanda’s POV than Thornton’s. I enjoyed all of her voices, although it took a while for me to warm up to Thornton’s speaking voice, which came off robotic. As I got to know his character, I became accustomed to his unique voice, and it even softened some as he grew closer to Amanda. Ms. Meire also tosses in German and French accents wonderfully.

 

In the end, I enjoyed devouring The Golden Spider. A wonderful mix of mystery, adventure, steampunk, and romance, the story unfolded at a thrilling pace, building passion and excitement along the way. I cannot wait for the second title, The Silver Skull, to be released in audiobook format.

 

My Rating: A

Narration: A-

 

Review copy provided by Tantor Audio

Originally posted at That's What I'm Talking About

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