Friday, May 5, 2017

Friday #Review - The Dastardly Miss Lizzie by Viola Carr #Steampunk #Fantasy @viola_carr ‏@HarperVoyagerUS

Series: Electric Empire # 3
Format: E-Galley, 464 pages
Release Date: April 18, 2017
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: Steampunk, Fantasy

Dr. Eliza Jekyll must turn to her dark side, Miss Lizzie Hyde, to stop a madman targeting London’s most important scientists and sorcerers terrorizing the city with dark magic in this third Electric Empire novel—a dazzlingly original steampunk fantasy set in the gritty world of alternate Victorian London, with echoes of H G. Wells classic, The Time Machine

Being two people in one body isn’t easy. Metropolitan Police crime scene physician Eliza Jekyll is trying to maintain a semblance of control, even as her rebellious second self, Lizzie, grows increasingly wild—threatening the respectable Eliza’s reputation and her marriage to Remy Lafayette, the Royal Society investigator and occasional lycanthrope. With England on the brink of war, Remy’s away in sorcery-riddled Paris on a secretive mission that grows ever more sinister. Has he been an enemy agent all along? Or is coping with Eliza’s secret divided self finally driving her mad?

Eliza needs her mind clear and sharp if she’s to catch an evil genius who is killing eminent scientists. The chase uncovers a murky world of forbidden books, secret laboratories, and a cabal of fanatical inventors whose work could change the world—or destroy it—and who may hold answers to Eliza's past.

As sorcery-wielding terrorists attack London, Eliza discovers her own enemies are closing in, driving her to desperate measures—enlisting the aid of the wily, resourceful, mercurial Lizzie—to thwart the killer. But Lizzie’s got her own life now, and true to her nature, will resort to the devious and diabolical to keep it. Even if it means throwing Eliza to the wolves, and letting the world burn. . . 

The Dastardly Miss Lizzie is the third installment in author Viola Carr's Electric Empire series. The author does her own take on the classic tale of the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. 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. Here is where things get really interesting. Carr tells her story by alternating first person narrative with third person. Dr. Eliza Jekyll is in the third person, while her "sister" Miss Lizzie Hyde, is in the first person.

Carr really does an amazing job of separating the two character’s voices and giving them a uniqueness and style all their own. Dr. Eliza Jekyll is a practitioner of legal medicine, a crime scene investigator who works for the Metropolitan Police hunting killers with newfangled technological gadgets. Because she is the daughter of the infamous Dr. Henry Jekyll, there are still people who don't trust her. Including a rather belligerent, misogynistic troll named Chief Inspector Reeve who is the poster child for how men treated women during the Victorian Era.

Miss Lizzie Hyde is Eliza's much darker side. Lizzie wears tight and revealing dresses and isn't afraid of getting into a fight, or going where Eliza wouldn't dare to go. She drinks heavily, her speech is that of a low-born, and she is rough around the edges. She mostly comes out when Eliza let's her guard down, and likes to get jiggy with the less than desirables. Lizzie and Eliza's relationship is adversarial at times, while being necessary to both of their survival. Eliza never wanted to become a split personality, but that was taken out of her hands by a well-meaning father.

Eliza has her hands full in this installment. She not only is working on helping try to catch the so called Slasher with Inspector Harley Griffin, but it appears that another killer is targeting prominent scientists with an unknown weapon. Her so called fiancé, Remy Lafayette, he of the Royal Society, has been away trying to stop a war. She also has to fight off Lizzie's growing impatience and discontentment of not having her own body, or being able to be herself whenever the hell she wants to. This leads to so much conflict that I dare say could have used a third party to stand between them and crack some heads to make them come to their senses.

Sad to say that apparently The Dastardly Miss Lizzie is the final installment in Viola Carr’s Electric Empire trilogy. Always a good time reading about Dr. Eliza Jekyll and her evil twin Miss Lizzie Hyde, and how even though they share the same body, they are polar opposites. Even though the book ends in a good place, there are still avenues to explore. Would I like there to be another book in this series? Hell Yes!

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