Pay It Forward · Writing

Book Review: Elders and Welders Chronicles

Book – Prince of Hearts (Elders and Welders Chronicles #1)

Author – Margaret Foxe

Star rating – ★★★★★          Movie Potential – ★★★★★

Plot – very well planned and executed

Characters – very diverse and relatable

Ease of reading – very ease to read.

Cover – ✔           Suitable Title –

Would I read it again – Yes

**I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK, BY THE AUTHOR, IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW**

This is my first steampunk book, ever! I have to say that it doesn’t disappoint.

I was drawn into this book right from the very beginning. It gripped my heart, dragged me into the pages and made me feel for every single character.

I wasn’t really sure what to make of Aline Finch, at first, but I really grew to love her. She’s stubborn, independent and sticks up for herself in a time when women weren’t supposed to. She’s also fiery and a perfect match for Romanov. I love how she doesn’t always say much, but her actions and body language screams so much more.

I love Romanov, or Sasha, and how he’s got inner demons that don’t just get glossed over or passed aside. I really enjoy getting to explore parts of his history, when they’re appropriate. When the story demands it, we discover more about his past and how he’s felt about his history.

I really like the fact that we get Sasha and Aline’s POV. I think if we only got one, the story would fail, but if we had any more then it wouldn’t be as enjoyable. I love seeing things from Finch’s POV and then seeing how Sasha is dealing with the same event.

The two are an ideal match and I love the will-they-wont-they between them, the hot, spicy moments and the romance of the simplest elements of the story. Such simple things, that are realistic and normal, like Romanov putting her glasses back on for her or finding her adorable when she sneezes, come across as heartwarming and real.

I love the progression of the story and the criminal aspect. I’m a sucker for a great crime story and this story was that great. There was a supernatural element, the steampunk element and it all felt real and logical. There wasn’t one thing that I didn’t find believable or thought didn’t fit the story.

The author is a really talented writer. I love the way she weaves emotional and mystery elements together, to make you care as much about the characters as you do about the solution to the crime. The whole plot is seamlessly put together, well executed and littered with little nuggets of newspaper clippings. I didn’t know what to make of them at first, but then it was explained it was a really nice addition, like a parallel universe; it was super cute.

I really love the way the author combines Romanov’s dark humour with the dark aspects of the book. He lightens up all situations, with his quick wit and his sarcasm. He’s not, perhaps, my new favourite male MC.

Overall, a great book. Although I sussed out a few of the ‘twists’ in the plot, I was really happy with how they were revealed, when they were revealed and the overall execution of the book. Everything was considered in intricate detail, so that nothing was left out or left unexplained.

~

Book – Dark Heart (Elders and Welders Chronicles #2)

Author – Margaret Foxe

Star rating – ★★★★☆           Movie Potential – ★★★★☆

Plot – half and half

Characters – nice continuation from book 1

Ease of reading – very easy to read

Cover – ✔          Suitable Title –

Would I read it again – Yes

**I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK, BY THE AUTHOR, IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW**

For me, this is a book of two halves. So I’m going to explore both sides separately then together.

1st Half – ★★★☆☆

Reading this book straight after Prince of Hearts was perhaps not my best move. I can’t help but compare the male MC Drexler (minor character from book 1) to Romanov. And sadly, he just doesn’t compare.

The same goes for a comparison between Finch and Lady Christiana. Christian is a little more foppish and tame than Finch, who was a firecracker right from the start. I don’t see the same fight or gumption in Christiana. And I don’t see any of the dark humour or likeability in Drexler.

Romanov was intriguing, knew he was a monster and accepted his fate and his history, but he also pushed that aside to do good and put on a mark of pleasantness and indifference for the world. Drexler is so much darker. I get that, considering his past. It makes sense, but there’s no lightness in between. Romanov’s humour provided moments of relief, from the darkness and violence, but Drexler’s personality doesn’t provide anything of the sort.

I also don’t believe in Drexler and Christiana’s romance. It relates to things that, as we start the book, have all happened off page. Romanov’s attraction to Finch, and hers to him, was slow burning and tantalising. There was always that doubt of whether he would fight his demons or if she could give up her independence for them to be together. I don’t see that with these two. Drexler is adamant that he doesn’t want her, and when he does feel an attraction, it’s purely for her blood or her body. Romanov was romantic in finding Finch attractive while sneezing, or looking furious; there’s no hint that Drexler even likes Christiana. And that, for me, just doesn’t work.

2nd Half – ★★★★★

This is where the book, for me, really picks up. You start to see the demon in Drexler and how hard he fights to keep his real feelings from even himself, never mind from Christiana. The back story is better explored here, as is the real romance between Christiana and Drexler. There’s more emotion than primal desire and that makes more sense, especially when their internal struggles are explored.

This is also the part of the book where Christiana grows a backbone. She stops feeling sorry for herself and decides to stand up and be counted as an equal, instead of waiting for someone to hand her equality on a plate. She seemed ungrateful, selfish and ignorant of what was obvious in the first half. In the second, she begins to see past the surface and realise that everyone has secrets.

This is also where she begins to realise that she’s not being treated like a child because the person wants to keep her young and innocent, but because she allows them to treat her that way. And that makes a big difference, to how she sees herself and the world. In the first half, she says

Of course, the odds had been stacked against her from the beginning because of her sex.” But that was no excuse for Aline, and it never stopped her from becoming an independent female, regardless of society’s expectations for her.

Saying that, I was really pleased to see Aline and Sasha back in the story, even if only marginally. I would have loved to read more from them.

Overall – ★★★★

I really didn’t get this story, until the halfway point. When Drexler had his ‘near-death’ moment, things began making sense. His relationship with Christiana became more about the trust and faith they had in each other, developed over the years they’d known each other, than it was about romance. It all centred on Drexler keeping a secret that he thought would destroy her and any relationship they might have, while Christiana tried hard to fight his secretive nature and the beast inside him.

I can’t help thinking that if Drexler and Christiana had never kept secrets from each other, there probably wouldn’t have been a book. That’s where the 3 stars comes from. The romance, for me, didn’t keep up to par with book 1, which was scorching, realistic and as fiery as the two MCs. Drexler and Christiana sort of fizzled, lightly, below the surface. The constant drama between them, along with the fact that it took them so many years to get to that point, is what lowers the rating. It doesn’t feel realistic.

The 5 stars goes to the second half, for being original, incredible and captivating. The first half felt a little more like a love-sick romance than the real adventure Steampunk story that it became. I understand why, having read the whole book, but I wasn’t glued to this book as I was to book 1. It took me about three days, whereas I had a burning need to complete book 1 in one day, and did.

The second half really lit up and explored the criminal aspect of the book that I was waiting to read more of. I also wanted Christiana to grow up and it took this long, for it to happen.

I have to admit that I loved the Duke. He was a real character and yes, he probably is cracked in the head, but he’s also amazing. I can’t wait to read his story.

But, if you don’t like cliffhangers, then beware. This book ends on a doozie and book 3, as far as I know, isn’t out yet. I’m hoping it won’t be too long in coming out, or else I might have to re-read this book, to refresh my memory of everything I want answers to.

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