- Title: Nero’s Fiddle by A.W. Exley
- Genre: Steampunk/Romance with dashes of fantasy, horror, mystery
In this volume, Cara Devon and her husband Nate have been tasked by Queen Victoria to hunt down dangerous artifacts of power, artifacts like the Egyptian collar that almost brought England to ruin. Artifacts like the one currently causing random residents in London to perish by spontaneous human combustion. At least, Cara thought they were random. Now it looks like someone is working to hide a decades old secret, one that will rock the stability of the entire realm if it gets out …
Now, before I go into detail, I have to admit I really struggled to write this review. I liked this book; it kept me turning pages and guessing until the very end. As always, I enjoyed the world and the characters. The mystery in Nero’s Fiddle was reminiscent to the one in Nefertiti’s Heart, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I also liked the resurgence of horror (yes, I’m weird and think reading gory scenes is kind of cool).
But despite the fact that I liked the book, I didn’t like it as much as the first two volumes. There were a few things that just didn’t work for me. They weren’t bad, just not the type of reading I prefer. For example, there are random flashback chapters told by Cara’s grandmother that I just didn’t care for. I’m not sure why: they were clearly marked so there wasn’t confusion, and they do play a part in the final climax. Which was another aspect that I wasn’t particularly thrilled with: the climax felt just a little too convenient. Again, it wasn’t bad, but I couldn’t help a raised eyebrow.
Would I recommend the book? Heck yeah. The book has plenty going for it: mystery, romance, grisly bodies … and the continued story of Cara and Nate, who I adore. I would highly recommend you check out the companion novella first, though – I found myself lost in the last quarter of the book when Cara’s friend, Amy, started talking about events that never happened … The Unicorn’s Tail is classified as a standalone novella, but really – read it first. It’ll make things sooo much easier to understand.
Disclaimer: Again, as with most romances, there are some sex scenes scattered throughout the story. There are also gruesome deaths detailed in various spots, if you have a weak stomach, beware. Also, history buffs beware: there is a HUGE development that could have you pulling your hair out. If you need to have your facts accurate, then maybe the fictional interpretation in this book isn’t for you.