Monday, February 9, 2015

*Book Review* The Diabolical Miss Hyde by Viola Carr

Series: Electric Empire
Published by Harper Voyager
Release Date: February 10, 2015
Format: E-Book, 464 pages
Source: Edelweiss/Publisher
Genre: Science Fiction / Steampunk

In an electric-powered Victorian London, Dr. Eliza Jekyll is a crime scene investigator, hunting killers with inventive new technological gadgets. Now, a new killer is splattering London with blood, drugging beautiful women and slicing off their limbs. Catching "the Chopper" could make Eliza's career--or get her burned. Because Eliza has a dark secret. A seductive second self, set free by her father's forbidden magical elixir: wild, impulsive Lizzie Hyde.   When the Royal Society sends their enforcer, the mercurial Captain Lafayette, to prove she's a sorceress, Eliza must resist the elixir with all her power. But as the Chopper case draws her into London's luminous, magical underworld, Eliza will need all the help she can get. Even if it means getting close to Lafayette, who harbors an evil curse of his own.  Even if it means risking everything and setting vengeful Lizzie free.

I was going to hold off writing my review for this book, and save it for my Steampunk Saturday feature which I am hoping to start soon. But, I'm as impatient as a little kid on Christmas morning. Why wait to open a present, when you can rip it open and immediately enjoy what's in it? Yes, I was that kid. Sorry, not sorry!

Viola Carr's The Diabolical Miss Hyde is her version of Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886). Carr's version is with female characters, werewolves, Fey, and a surprising connection to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. 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 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.

The "sisters" really couldn't be more different even if they do share the same body and progeny. Eliza is the smart, witty, and proper doctor who not only works as a crime scene investigator for the Metropolitan PD, but also at the insane asylum known as Bedlam. Eliza uses intriguing technology, including a steampunk dog named Hippocrates, to bring serial killers to justice, including one she is intimately familiar with, Razor Jack.

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.

Lizzie is by far the strongest of the two, while Eliza battles with not letting anyone know that she has a darker side like her famous father which would end up in tragedy. Then comes the arrival of Captain Remy Lafayette, a Royal Society Investigator who tries to prove that Eliza has violated the Royal Societies mandate on scientific breakthroughs, and heresy against the Royals. He has a bit of a secret all his own, and needless to say, this is where the romance angle comes in.

Steampunk is one of my favorite genres so I didn't have all that much problem finishing Miss Hyde. You have to love the world building that authors of this genre create, as well as the unique weapons, clothing styles, and transportation that goes along with it. With Miss Hyde, you also get a sinister killer who drugs and removes women's body parts to create his own perfect woman, and a twisted romance angle that is far from clear.

Have you watched Penny Dreadful lately? If you have, then I do believe that you enjoy this book as well. I will also say that you need to have a bit of patience since part of the book goes off track for a bit before jumping back on and going full throttle to the end. Perhaps the one negative I have is that there are too many storylines that don't go anywhere. Perhaps that will change in the next book. Perhaps we can find out more about the Philosopher and his antagonism with the so called Rat King. Perhaps we can also dig more into Malachi Todd who has it bad for Eliza.

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

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