‘The Jackal’s House’ is the second book in Anna Butler’s amazing series “Lancaster’s Luck” but before I get into trying to explain why it’s amazing without giving away anything about the story. I’m just going to do a bit of housekeeping here…first for anyone who’s familiar with steampunk it won’t come as any surprise that it has a bit of a language that’s all it’s own and at some point during the reading of this book I realized that when I did my review for ‘The Gilded Scarab’ the first book in the Lancaster’s Luck series I forgot to mention that the author has conveniently placed a glossary at the end of the book to assist the reader in clarifying those ‘what- does-that-mean?’ words…you may even want to have a peek at it before you start reading the book.
The other thing I want to say is if you haven’t read the first book…seriously reconsider starting with this one. Lancaster’s Luck is a series that needs to be read in order. There’s a lot in ‘The Gilded Scarab’ that connects to this book and I’m not sure that I would have enjoyed this story nearly as much without having read the first book.
Ok, now let’s see if I can do justice to this book. Because while I really, really liked ‘The Gilded Scarab’ this book…well damn this one just blew it all out of the water for me. ‘The Jackal’s House’ for me was totally a 5 star read…only because they tell me that’s all the stars I can give it, otherwise there’d be a hella’ lot more of them up there at the top of this review.
Unlike the first book most of this story takes place in Aegypt as Rafe accompanies Ned on his next archeological dig. Going with Ned isn’t an easy decision for Rafe to make…he’s got responsibilities, but eventually the idea of being parted from the man he’s come to love and has only had back in his live for a few short months tips the scales and Rafe agrees to go not wanting to miss out on the opportunity for them to have more time together…an opportunity that allows them to have some distance from their responsibilities and the pressures of their lives in Londinium.
While the adventure part of this story got a little bit of a slow start once it got started it kicked into high gear fairly quickly and honestly, I loved the first part of this book as much as the last. We’re given more of Ms. Butler’s amazing world building as she moves us from the steampunk world of Londinium to that of Aegypt and its ancient mysteries.
As Ned and Rafe dig to unearth the treasure of Aegypt’s past…things are happening in both Londinium and Aegypt that could affect the present and the future that they want together in ways that neither man has anticipated and ways that have given this story a whole new and intriguing potential.
As with the previous book this book has a story that is essentially complete but with threads that connect to an overall story arc that extends to the next book…and please, oh please let there be a next book…because there are things that in my heart I just know are lining up to happen. There was a lot that happened in this story by no means an overwhelming amount but some of saw closure to certain events and some things laid the ground work for new possibilities and I am so on board for all of it.
While I’m not a huge fan of historical novels the addition of this being set not in Victorian times but steampunk Victorian times has only added to this story giving it more interest and an entirely unique feeling for me and when it comes to steampunk ironically the Victorian era is my favorite…I’m a total fan of ‘The League of Extraordinary Gentelmen’ or the more recent ‘Sherlock Holmes’ movies staring Robert Downey Jr. and while Will Smith did an admirable job in ‘The Wild, Wild West’ for me nothing compares to the original television series starting Robert Conrad. I’m by no means an expert when it comes to steampunk but I am an expert on what I like and the fact that these stories fit so easily onto the virtual shelf where I keep my favorite steampunk movies and shows…things that have been longtime favorites of mine, is for me indicative of the fact that “Lancaster’s Luck” is a series that has struck just the right cord with me and I have no doubt that if someone were to ask me tomorrow, next week, next year or years down the road for an example of what I like when it comes to steampunk this series will be on that list.
An ARC of ‘The Jackal’s House’ was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
While I really enjoy steampunk, I have to admit I'm kinda' picky about what I read. I've had this book for a while now and I kept doing that thing where I squirrel off to this and that but when I saw that a second book was being released I decided that it was time to buckle down and get it done and I am more than a little happy that I did.
'The Gilded Scarab' is my first time reading a book by this author and let me just say 'not only is this Ms. Butler's wheel house she is in the driver's seat' and before the end of the first chapter I was more than a little confused as to why I didn't read this sooner.
I was totally enamored with both the world building and the character development. The world building in this story was huge which can sometimes be an obstacle for me because I admit I can become bored in spite of the fact that world building especially in genres like scifi, fantasy or steampunk can be as crucial to the story as the characters and plot but Ms Butler has created a story here that perfectly mixes the development of plot, characters and world building both getting and keeping my attention no matter what the story focus was at the time.
Rafe Lancaster is the main character and the focus of much of this story and he's awesome. Rafe became a fighter pilot in an effort to remove himself from his families influence and basically because flying is his passion. Unfortunately the resulting injury from an accident forces Rafe out of the Aero Corps and into making some life changes...one of which is his return to Londinium.
Rafe's return to the place of his birth also brings him under closer scrutiny from his house...houses are the social system that this society functions under and their influence over the individual members is both considerable and unwanted by Rafe.
When Rafe takes his maiden journey back into society he meets one Ned Winters. It's just suppose to be casual, no attachments, an evenings dalliance. But as their evening progresses each man realizes that they want more than one night and how much they enjoy each others company...unfortunately Ned is an Aegyptologist and about to leave for Aegypt for a few months separating him and Rafe before things can really even start between them. Rafe's efforts to reintegrate himself into society and rebuild his life goes from challenging to more than a little complicated as new people enter his life and old friends re-emerge.
With Ned gone Rafe throws himself into rebuilding his life and becomes the owner of a coffee house...how can you not love a man who appreciates coffee? Personally I'm not even going to try and honestly I just like Rafe. He's someone I'd sit down and have coffee with. With the successful launch of his coffee house Rafe again ventures out into society looking for company and finding an entanglement that may be a whole lot more than he'd bargained for...especially once Ned returns. Things begin to get more than a little bit complicated and interesting as Rafe and Ned are reunited and realize that one night months ago was only a small sample of what they could have and despite the obstacles both men want more.
I was so enchanted with this story it's twist, turns and complexities drew me in and kept me both interested and wanting more. This is neither a simple nor easy story it's filled with twist, turns and complexities as the story unfolds while this story contains two plots the first one being an over all arc that begins with this book but continues, the second plotline is contained within this book but still connected to the overall story arc and the growing relationship between Rafe and Ned.
As the first book in Anna Butler's series "Lancaster's Luck"...'The Gilded Scarab' undertakes a big task setting the scene for a series that's filled with a diverse group of characters, it's own unique settings, social structure and story lines that take the reader to a different place and time, but it's a task that's been accomplished and has left this reader wanting more so I'm definitely on board for whatever comes next at the Lancaster's Luck Coffee House...anyone care to join me for a little adventure and a cuppa'?
I will list the rating and to the side add commentary.
Breakfast in Bed by Rochelle Alers (solid read)
Seeking Sarah by Reshonda Tate Billingsley (solid read)
To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander (fantastic story, pleasantly surprised)
Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebeyo (unforgettable stand out read)
Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Damian Duffy (Liked this, LOVE book)
Surrender to Me by Donna Hill (solid read)
Pretty, Nast, Lovely by Rosalind Noonin (interesting story)
Gravel Heart by Abdulrazak Gurnah (good story)
The Mothers by Brit Bennett
* I've been thinking what to say about my displeasure with this book. It was an okay read for me. Such a hyped book that I did everything possible to get my hands on it for months; giveaways, egalleys and such. To only be disappointed. There's nothing new here for me. It definitely wasn't what I expected in terms of the storyline. Maybe it's my age. I've read a lot of books and many heavy hitters at a young age. It takes a lot to impress me in story and writing. However, both don't have to be great. I'll take a good story with subpar writing or a well written book with just okay plot. Many love this one. It just wasn't for me. Beautiful cover and great publicity with a new up and coming author, I do believe Ms. Bennett is definitely one to watch!