Wednesday, October 21, 2015

#Wednesday Review - The Devious Dr. Jekyll by Viola Carr

Series: Electric Empire 2
Format: E-Galley, 464 pages
Release Date: October 27, 2015
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: Steampunk, Romance

Dr. Eliza Jekyll, heroine of the electrifying The Diabolical Miss Hyde—an edgy steampunk retelling of the classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde—investigates a bizarre murder case in an alternate Victorian London while battling her treacherous secret half: Lizzie Hyde.

Solving the infamous Chopper case has helped crime scene physician Dr. Eliza Jekyll establish her fledgling career in the chauvinistic world of Victorian law enforcement. But the scrutiny that comes with her newfound fame is unwelcome for a woman with a diabolical secret. And there is the mercurial Royal Society agent and wolf man Remy Lafayette. Does he want to marry her, eat her, or burn her at the stake? Though Eliza is uncertain about Remy, her dark and jealous shadow self, Lizzie, wants to steal the magnetic and persistent agent, and usurp Eliza’s life.

It’s impossible to push Remy away when he tempts her with the one thing she can’t resist: a bizarre crime. The search for a bloodthirsty ritual torturer dubbed the Pentacle Killer draws them into a terrifying world of spies, art thieves, and evil alchemy, where the price of immortality is madness—or damnation—and only Lizzie’s dark ingenuity can help Eliza survive.

As Eliza and Remy race to thwart a foul conspiracy involving the sorcerous French, they must also overcome a sinister enemy who is all too close: the vengeful Lizzie, determined to dispose of Eliza for good.

The Devious Dr. Jekyll is the second installment in Viola Carr's Electric Empire series. Following in the footsteps of The Diabolical Miss Hyde, Dr. Eliza Jekyll returns to more shenanigans, more intrigue, more mystery, suspense and romance in what is being called a retelling of the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mister Hyde. The Electric Empire is set to the background of an alternative Victorian London where steam rules, and monsters of both human and supernatural variety skulk in the darkness. One of those dark creatures is Lizzie Hyde who shares the same body with Dr. Jekyll. But, for now, let's focus on Dr. Jekyll since she has had a fairly ugly time of things of it lately and it doesn't get any easier or less bloody in this adventure.

Carr tells her story by alternating first person narrative with third person. Dr. Eliza Jekyll is in the third person narrative, while her "sister" Miss Lizzie Hyde, is in the first person narrative. Carr really does a good job separating the two characters voices and giving them a uniqueness all their own. Separating voices is important since there is a distinct characteristic that separates both women. Eliza is the more refined forensic investigator and physician who wouldn't be caught dead in a gin joint. Lizzie, on the other hand, swills gin like a man, has sex with whomever she pleases, and cusses like a gutter snipe. She makes absolutely no excuses for her ways, except to blame it on her parentage.

When last we left the Dr. Jekyll, she hadn't responded to Captain Remy Lafayette's marriage proposal. What's holding her back? The fact that he is a lycanthrope, and that he knows about Lizzie Hyde, Eliza's alter-ego. Plus, he and Lizzie had an intriguing escapade in the last book. This fact keeps Eliza up at night thinking that it will be a matter of time before she is outed and sent off to the Towers where nobody will ever see her again. Thankfully, Remy isn't one to expose Eliza, let alone himself. He also comes to rescue when Scotland Yard starts treating Eliza as though she was just another worthless female who should get married, and sign everything she owns over to her husband.

I truly loathe the mindset of this era's misogynistic male driven society where women are nothing but possessions, and have less rights than horses. It's even worse for Eliza because she is a crime scene investigator who uses state of the art gadgets in an attempt to solve crimes. I truly felt for Eliza at time, especially around Chief Inspector Reeve who continually looks down his nose at her. Forget the fact that Eliza helped stop the Chopper in his tracks. Make one mistake, and everyone thinks you're useless. 

An absolutely BRUTAL second novel in this series with a definite edge into the dark fantasy world. I was pulling my hair out at heroes for allowing the conspirators, and the villains to beat them to the punch, over and over again. I was distressed at the anger issues between Lizzie and Eliza. I think that issues took up way too much time better off working towards solving the problems at hand. I did like the ending, however. I liked that it gave me hope that Eliza and Lizzie may find a way to work together instead of worrying about who was doing what, with whom. 

**I received this book for free from (Publisher) via (Edelweiss) in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

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