The beginning of the book was great, the end was awful.
In London, we've got murderers by the dozen. Rampsmen, garroters, wife beaters and baby farmers, poisoners and pie makers and folk who'll crack you over the noddle with a ha'penny cosh for the sake of your flashy watch chain and leave your meat for the rats. Never mind what you read in them penny dreadful: there ain't no romance in murder.
This was a mashup of steampunk, Victorian, Gothic, and classic horror. Our heroine is Dr. Eliza Jekyll AND Lizzie Hyde. She helps Inspector Griffin study crime scenes to catch the killers, currently trying to find The Chopper, and works/studies at Bedlam. Captain Lafayette comes on the scene, he works for the Royal Society. The Royal Society works to keep fey/magical people from society, they burn them when they find them. We also have a Mr. Todd who currently resides in Bedlam courtesy of Eliza, Finch who makes Eliza's elixir that helps keep Lizzie at bay, A.R. who is Eliza's mysterious benefactor, two doctors at Bedlam who may be up to no good, Johnny the mysterious fey boy, a Penny Dreadful writer, and a bunch of characters I'm probably forgetting because holy cow. All those characters I mentioned bring with them previously created horror themes. We've got Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (of course), Frankenstein, Werewolves, Sweeny Todd, Jack the Ripper, and a sort of Silence of the Lambs relationship. Again, I'm probably forgetting something.
It took me until around the 15% mark to get any sort of footing because of the amazing amount of characters and story threads happening, I felt like I was starting in the middle of a series. The Chopper plot started off the strongest and I thought that was the main one but towards the middle, it starts to get left behind as we focus more on Eliza and issues in her life. All male characters seem to be in love with her, which was sort of annoying and the few female characters seemed to be jealous of her.
I pull his hand beneath my skirts, between my thighs, an inch above my garter where the stiletto sings. "See?" My breath is sultry against his neck. "Told you I had a weapon."
"Consider me ambushed."
Eliza, Inspector Griffin, and Captain Lafayette had fun chemistry when they went back and forth in their conversations but then Griffin heads more to the sides and a romance teases around Lafayette and Eliza and Lizzie. This is clearly the first in a series that will follow Eliza and I'm sure there will be a deepening of this relationship as we just get the start here.
Most of this was in first person pov from Eliza, with Lizzie cutting in and as so, when action scenes happen it was sometimes hard to follow along. I'm sure the author had a clear picture in her mind of what was happening but as a new to the scene reader, it was far from being clear and some of it breezed by me, it would have been nice to have a third person overview.
Basically, this story was jammed packed with characters and storylines (Sir Isaac Newton makes an appearance and starts a storyline that I'm not sure was ever really explained) and I spent a lot of time feeling lost. It was different and interesting and I might try the second now that I have at least an introduction to the world and characters.
(If anyone has read this, who is supposed to be on the guy on the cover?! Johnny?)
A woman lies dead, in a bleak slum alley just yards from the glittering theaters and smoking purple arc-lights of Haymarket. He's bunched her petticoats around her thighs, a black mess of blood. And above the knee, smart as a slice o' bacon, he's hacked her legs clean off.
Talk about a good seasonal read :)
The Diabolical Miss Hyde was a fun read, if a little out there. My only strong complaints are that Lizzie's character was more unformed than I prefer <spoiler>her personality had a tendency to flip-flop depending on the moment & what was convenient</spoiler> and Eliza was occasionally stupid for such an intelligent women, in addition to being ridiculously suspicious of EVERYONE, except for those she should be of course. *bangs head on the desk*
Otherwise an intriguing enough book, the split in personality and love interest was certainly interesting <spoiler> especially with that psycho Mr Todd, boy is he insane! can't see how Eliza could possibly feel anything positive for him, though I do fancy the red hair</spoiler>. Wouldn't mind seeing where that went, and I did so enjoy the struggle between Lizze & Eliza & there odd affection for each other. So I might pick up the other books in the series at some time, but not for a while I don't think.
Oh and for some odd reason I couldn't get the idea of Hippocrates being bug shaped out of my head, they constantly referred to him as a dog, but based on the descriptions but brain kept referring to him as a bug, maybe a lady beetle? sadly we saw less and less of him as the book went on. Hopefully he'll be in the next one.