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Release Day Review: Silver Mirrors by A.A. Aguirre


Silver Mirrors
Author:  A. A. Aguirre
Series:  Apparatus Infernum 2
Publisher:  Ace, April 29, 2014
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages
List Price:  $7.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780425258200 (print)
Review Copy:  ARC provided by the Publisher

Release Day Review:  Silver Mirrors by A.A. Aguirre
As powerful magic comes creeping back, dangerous days are dawning…

Criminal Investigation Division inspectors Janus Mikani and Celeste Ritsuko were lucky to make it out of their last mission alive. Since then, strange troubles have plagued the city of steam and shadows, apparently as a result of magic released during the CID inspectors’ desperate interruption of an ancient ritual. The fabric of the world has been unsettled, and the Council has assigned Mikani and Ritsuko to investigate.

They soon discover that matters are worse than they imagined. Machines have developed minds of their own, cragger pirates are raiding the seas with relentless aggression, and mad elementals are running amok. As the chaos builds to a crescendo, Mikani and Ritsuko must fight a war on two fronts—and this time, they may not be able to turn the deadly tide…



Melanie's Thoughts:

The husband and wife writing duo of A. A. Aguirre  are back with their second instalment in the Apparatus Infernum series, Silver Mirrors. Celeste Ritsuko and Janus Mikani return for another adventure and another mystery to solve. Book 2 starts not long after book 1, Bronze Gods, when the investigators solved the case of a madman who was terrorizing Dorstaad, murdering your woman to enable his evil master plan. The case brought Ritsuko and Mikani closer together and left Ritsuko with a special talent of her own. Life is never easy and it's not long before the fall out from their big case in Bronze Gods has started to cause mayhem across Hy Breasil with machines taking on a life of their own and pirates attacking along the coast. Ritsuko and Mikani are sent to investigate and call in a favour from Mikani's friend and former girlfriend Saskia who captains a ship. Before too long the detectives have hit the high seas and sailing far away from the civility they have known in Dorstaad. Together with Saskia's crew Ritsuko and Mikani have only a few short days to find out what is behind the unusual and destructive events before everything and everyone they know are destroyed in a magical apocalypse.

I really enjoyed book one of this series and thought both Mikani and Ritsuko were engaging characters. Silver Mirrors takes not only Ritsuko and Mikani out of their comfort zone with life aboard Saskia's ship but it took me out of it as well. This part of the plot was a bit too 'piratey' for me and I thought that the new characters diluted the power of Mikani and Ritsuko's relationship. While book 1 read more like a police thriller this instalment was trying to be too many different things with a mix of swashbuckling pirates, evil fae and pissed off elementals. Aguirre also really dragged out the brewing romance between the two colleagues and if you were expecting some movement on this front then you will be disappointed. While perhaps the decision to stage most of the plot on a ship wasn't my favourite aspect of this instalment you can't fault how Aguirre tell their story in a richly textured world with complicated and difficult characters. The book is just so well written that you can't help but be drawn in from the very first pages. Fingers crossed Mikani and Ritsuko's swashbuckling days are over.


Melanie's Week in Review - March 30, 2014


Melanie's Week in Review - March 30, 2014


Happy Mother's Day to any Mom (or should say Mum) from the UK who is reading this. For any Mom in the US or Canada you have to wait until May! I had a productive reading week and I am quite chuffed with myself. So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - March 30, 2014
If you read my WIR last week you will know that I read River Road by Suzanne Johnson, which I quite enjoyed. I also had book 3  - Elysian Fields and DJ's face seemed to follow me around the room saying 'read me....read me'. I couldn't resist so I started it Sunday morning and finished Sunday evening. What a result! In this instalment a serial killer called The Axeman is loose in New Orleans and killing a path towards DJ. A powerful necromancer is in control of this undead maniac and is determined to take out DJ. If this wasn't enough her friend and potential love interest Jake, the loup garou, is having problems controlling his wolf and Quince Randolph, her best friend's boyfriend, is getting a little too close for comfort. DJ is not short of hunky heroes however, as she has both the undead pirate Jean Lafitte and the former sentinel Alex Warin who are more than willing to save her bacon...and boy does she need their help. This series really improves and I enjoy each book more than the previous. There are only a few weeks between the events in books 2 and 3 but DJ continues to mature as she realises the consequences of her actions. This plot has a number of threads including The Axeman, her romantic entanglements and her elven heritage. There is a lot happening in this book with DJ travelling both to Jean Lafitte's home in The Beyond and to the elven home world. More is also explained about the 'undead' such as Jean Lafitte which I appreciated. I couldn't figure out from the previous books what they were as the term 'undead' makes me think of zombies rather than the corporeal dead. The only problem with reading so many books of one series close together is that when you have finally read the last book to be released it seems AGES for the next one to come out.  Now I have to wait another year to find out what trouble DJ gets into next.

Melanie's Week in Review - March 30, 2014
Book two on my reading list was Dream London by Tony Ballantyne. I can say with certainty that Dream London is by far the most surreal book I have ever read. The only way I can describe it is if Alice took acid before she jumped down the rabbit hole.  It is strange with a capital 'S'. Dream London is changing and Captain James Wedderburn has been reluctantly recruited to find out why. During the night the geography of the city changes while at the same time the fortunes of its inhabitants change just as quickly. No one knows who is in control but Captain James is going to find out no matter what it takes. This book reminded me a little bit of the movie Dark City but it was much, much darker and much, much more odd. For starters, James owned a brothel and didn't feel too guilty about feeding his 'girls' candy flavoured drugs to make them feel what their clients felt. James' career wasn't an oddity though as sex and prostitution was the norm in Dream London. Its not until nearly the end of the book that we find out why and you almost wish you didn't know.  Hats off to Ballantyne as he has one prolific imagination. Not only can he convey the weird and wonderful, he can do it for over 600 pages. This book requires some significant investment in time, tolerance for the morally inept and lots and lots of swearing. This is an excellent book but you really have to be in the right frame of mind to read it. I am glad that I paced myself over a few weeks to read it rather than rushing through.

Melanie's Week in Review - March 30, 2014
The final book I finished (just a few hours before I wrote this) was Silver Mirrors by A.A. Aguirre. This was a special one of surprise from The Qwill and I am super lucky to get this ARC. I hate to disappoint but I can't say too much about this book as I will be writing a full review. Keep your eye on the blog for this to be posted to find out what I thought of the second book of the Apparatus Infernum series.

As I write this I am watching the Ender's Game movie which you may know is also a book by Orson Scott Card. I can't say I am enjoying it that much despite liking kids' movies and YA fiction. I watched Catching Fire, the movie version of the book by Suzanne Collins, when I was writing my last WIR and enjoyed it a lot more. I guess some books makes better movies ....or are better cast. Thoughts?

Well that is it for me this week. I hope you have a great week ahead and Happy Reading.


Review: Bronze Gods by A.A. Aguirre - May 23, 2013


Bronze Gods
Author:  A.A. Aguirre
Series:  Apparatus Infernum
Publisher:  Ace, April 30, 2013
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages
Price:  $7.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780425258194 (print)
Review copy:  Provided by Publisher

Review: Bronze Gods by A.A. Aguirre - May 23, 2013
Danger stalks the city of steam and shadows.

Janus Mikani and Celeste Ritsuko work all hours in the Criminal Investigation Division, keeping citizens safe. He’s a charming rogue with an uncanny sixth sense; she’s all logic—and the division’s first female inspector. Between his instincts and her brains, they collar more criminals than any other partnership in the CID.

Then they’re assigned a potentially volatile case in which one misstep could end their careers. At first, the search for a missing heiress seems straightforward, but when the girl is found murdered—her body charred to cinders—Mikani and Ritsuko’s modus operandi is challenged as never before. It soon becomes clear the bogeyman has stepped out of nightmares to stalk gaslit streets, and it’s up to them to hunt him down. There’s a madman on the loose, weaving blood and magic in an intricate, lethal ritual that could mean the end of everything…




Melanie's Thoughts:

Bronze Gods is a police thriller with a twist. Young women of the founding families are being horrifically murdered and on the case are Mikani and Ritsuko of the Criminal Investigation Department. Can they find the killer before anyone else is murdered? The case of their careers may just be their last one.

I really enjoyed Bronze Gods mainly due to the strong characters. It has been a long time since lead characters have interested me so much. Mikani is your classic rogue but, like any good rogue, he does it with charm. His special talents help him solve cases but invariably leave him weak and injured. Does this stop him though? No way. Ritsuko, on the other hand, is strong and forthright. She isn’t your shrinking violet and thwarts the social norms as the only female in a ‘men only’ world. The alternate POV chapters allowed me, as the reader, to see both sides of the story through the eyes of these two characters. I liked how these two people grow to rely and care for each other as the story progresses. Nothing about this relationship is contrived and both characters, especially Mikani, are perplexed by their ever increasing attraction. Despite the supernatural context, this development feels realistic rather than the pair falling immediately in love with each other from the very start.

Aguirre has built an interesting world for the characters but it is not as well developed as they are. I inferred by the cover that the story would be set in a steampunk world but it was more fantasy with a hint of noir. I thought there were tiny bits of steampunk thrown in but not enough to classify the book in that genre. Nevertheless, the city of Dorstaad, rife with political, sexual and class segregation, is a great backdrop for the dark and moody story.

I was a tiny bit surprised at the very beginning to discover how much the history of the island of Hy Breasil and of the Ferishers played in the story. The important historical context isn’t even mentioned in the book’s summary. This revelation is one of the best surprises in the book. By reading the book summary you are quite naturally led to believe that Bronze Gods is purely a police led murder mystery. But it is so much more. The plot is multi layered; segregation based on race and sex is a prominent theme throughout. The murders are really just tools used by Aguirre to tell a story of love but mainly of loss - loss of social identity, loss of freedom and loss of power.

I feel that Aguirre is very clever in the pace of the book. There is just enough action and excitement as the resolution of the murder mystery comes to head while continually revealing more and more about the main characters. I was immediately drawn into Mikani and Ritsuko’s world while, at the same time, biting my finger nails at what was going to happen next. I find the series title a bit perplexing as I am still not too sure what the bronze gods are. Overall, Bronze Gods is a very strong start to what looks like a compelling series. If I had to sum my review into just a few words it would have to be ‘go buy this book….quickly!’

Release Day Review:  Silver Mirrors by A.A. AguirreMelanie's Week in Review - March 30, 2014Review: Bronze Gods by A.A. Aguirre - May 23, 2013

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