Time for a book review/recommendation! These were the first reason I joined the blog, but I’ve been very poor in keeping up with it.
The Deathsniffer’s Assisant is an old-fashion murder mystery splashed with magic and flavored by interesting characters. I highly suggest it, and here I will try to explain why. If I succeed is another thing altogether.
The Deathsniffer’s Assistant is a tightly woven story. There are two major plot lines going on at once and it does a good job of managing both in turns. The first plot line is the murder mystery where our protagonist, Chris Buckley (more on him later), has become employed by a Deathsniffer, Olivia Faraday, who gets hired to solve the murder of a noble man. The second plot line is Chris trying to protect his talented younger sister, Rosemary, from political forces in the city.
To explain the world and magic a bit:
It’s world is set similar to a 1900s London, where devices are powered by trapped elemental spirits and people are categorized into their set roles. When they become of age, people are tested and have their skills awakened. Chris is a Wordweaver, one of the lowest skill set, able to record things in writing at great speeds. Olivia is a Truthsniffer, but she’s only interesting in murders so she’s a Deathsniffer. Able to see patterns and have hunches that others don’t see or have.
The catch at the moment is that categorization is failing, turning out people with weaker or no skill sets. And elemental spirits are breaking free from their bindings. The city is unsettled, jobs are harder to find, and their is conflict between traditionalists and people wanting to seek out new technologies.
This unsettled state comes into play, first, mainly in the second plot line. Chris’ sister Rosemary is a strong Spiritbinder, who was awakened without being old enough to test. A natural talent. As the book info on amazon says: “the responsibility of keeping Rosemary and her magic safe from those who would use her up and toss her aside.”
The murder mystery element, does it succeed?
Yes, I think the murder mystery plot line did a great job. I had a hunch who it was about half-way in, but the reasoning behind it and how it was done I had not expected. It turned out to be really interesting to me how it turned out. Clues I hadn’t notice earlier suddenly made a lot of sense. Reasons why others hadn’t done it and things they had hidden that made them suspects were things I hadn’t seen coming. The murder case kept me entertained through the whole ride.
I liked every single of the characters involved, but part of the fun will be seeing them yourselves so I won’t go into much detail. The nanny is a good example of a character that seems one way on the surface, but once you get pass that you get a lot more. Her and Chris first real talk was a very organic scene. The Deathsniffer herself is quite outlandish, and I mean that in a good way. By the time you see the first crime scene, you see she has no personal limits in getting her job done. Chris is an interesting protagonist, much softer than other fantasy guys, and I also mean that in a good way. Because of the time period and his family’s previous social status, he cares a lot about keeping up appearances and manners. His loyalty to his sister is very sweet to see. The only character that felt somewhat flat is their family’s money handler. He was very helpful and loyal to the family, but I never really understood where that strong loyalty came from. May be an element I just missed.
I’d say it starts out, after the prologue, kind of slow for my tastes. But, the groundwork for the characters and both plot lines is real nice. When it gets to the climax and shit hits the fan, I was beyond enjoying it and smiling like a fool. The number of things going wrong was great. The way things came together was good. I felt the conclusion stuck the landing, leaving some hints at an over-reaching plot with the books to come. I would highly recommend this book.