Book Review: The Earl of Brass
The PR for this book calls it a cross between Downton Abbey and Penny Dreadful; I'd add Indiana Jones into that description. The Earl of Brass is the first title in a delightful six-book-long steampunk series by Kara Jorgensen. This ticks all the boxes for enjoyable steampunk fiction: complex, realistic characters who challenge each other; a well-developed Victorian-era setting (London, the Negev desert); well-designed steampunk technology (there's a prosthetic arm that's truly ingenious, hence the series title); even a fun bit of fantasy (I won't give away who they meet in the desert). It's not a high-stakes thriller, but it's definitely got more energy than a cozy.
There's QUILTBAG representation, which increases as you move through the series. There's also a certain amount of historically accurate classicism, sexism, and racism that plays into the plot and makes me glad that we've at least moved a little bit forward from the 1890s, if perhaps not as far forward as I'd like.
I will warn you, there's a small amount of gore: The main character loses an arm in an airship accident right at the start, and you get a few glimpses of the wound and then the scars as the story goes on. Of course, this injury gives him a lot of challenges, but it also introduces him to the family of inventors who create amazing steampunk prosthetics. One of whom becomes very important in his professional and personal life. That's as close to a spoiler as I'll go in this review. ;-)
So if you like steampunk, you'll enjoy The Earl of Brass and the rest of the series. And if you've never read steampunk and would like to give it a try, this is a great introduction to the genre.